Sisters and Brothers,
It has been my pleasure serving in the capacity of a public servant for over 15 years. I have served this Union, AFSCME Local 685, as a Union steward, where I have dedicated my life to protecting the rights of others. I fought for members of this Union when you didn’t have a voice. When you were maltreated, when you were deemed unfit for the job, when others cast you out, and even when you were guilty, I fought on your behalf for a fair and just outcome. I spent hours, days preparing to protect you and keep you employed with probation. I believed in you and that you were worth fighting for and protecting your rights. I always kept your family in mind as I fought for you. Your family was just as important to me as you were.
Being a public servant representing the membership of this Union came with many sacrifices that no one saw or paid attention to, such as working on vacation, working through breaks, working on off days, and working after hours or late at night. In some cases, representing this Union meant being passed up for promotion…
I must say to you, it has been my pleasure serving you. I had a three-year battle fighting cancer and what kept me alive was fighting for you. Even when I was sick, I had the will to fight. You were still important to me. May I take this time to thank and appreciate you for thinking about me during this election season. I am so delighted and humbled that you believed in me to vote for me as your President. I am honored that you recognized my commitment to your needs.
As President, some things you should know about me: I do not have the spirit of fear. I do not lean on my own understanding. I go before God before making any decision. I stand on principle, and I am my own person. I am not a yes person. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.
As President, I will think outside the box. I will call on the membership for help. I will form committees. WE will fight on our behalf. Notice I said (WE) will fight on your behalf. We will bring much-needed change to this Union and department. As a Union, we will support the membership, fight, deal with issues as they arise, and deal with those who bring harm our way. We are Local 685 and when we fight, we win.
Good things are in store for us. We will get back what was taken from us. Let’s go, 685. Let’s do it!!!!!!!!!!!
I am currently working on my goals and objectives moving forward. I will say this: things will be done differently. I am working on how we do things at Union headquarters. I am very visible and hands-on. I will be visiting area offices, camps, halls, courts, transportation units, DCFS, pretrial services, and anywhere we have Local 685 members. Moving forward will require 685 members to be in the parade, not standing on the sidewalk watching the action. Involvement is required to be successful. No more pointing fingers and blaming everybody else for what is or what’s not happening. Your participation is needed.
I will share my action items (things to do) with the membership as they become available. January and February is when you will start hearing from me as we begin the recruitment process for committee sign-ups. These committees will include:
Safety Retirement Committee. This committee will research safety retirement to see if it is obtainable in LA County Probation. The committee will submit its findings to the Executive Board for review. Let me be clear because some of you have said, “Ford said he's getting us safety retirement.” I never said that. I said, “I will form a safety retirement committee to research safety retirement to see if it is obtainable.” The result of the research findings will determine what action we will take. We may have to visit Washington DC and or Sacramento, talk with lawmakers, look at current legislation, and things of this nature. I cannot promise we will get it, but we will do the research.
POC Committee. 685 Members will attend the monthly POC meeting and, if necessary, make public comments on probation matters. Wearing a 685 green T-shirt will be required.
Pre-Contract Negotiation Committee. The steward from each work location will conduct a survey asking members for input on items to suggest for consideration in contract negotiations. This gave you examples of how we will get things done moving forward.
My primary focus right now is to bring order back into the Halls and send DPO 2s back to the Field. This will be a battle in itself. Stabilizing the Halls will require hard work and hard conversations. As President, I will host round table conversations with Probation management, BOS, BSCC, CBOs, lawmakers, and with anyone else who wants to attend. We will have those hard conversations and bring up words that we were told never to bring up, words like Pepper Spray, Consequences, Accountability, Time-out, Modify Program, Room Confinement, Isolation, and Separated from the Group.
I don’t have a political agenda, which means I am not about to be politically correct. I like phrases like sue them, file a lawsuit, take them to court, have our legal team meet with them, see you in court, etc. Rally the troops. Make that call. Go Nuclear!
We are about to make the Halls safe and manageable. We are about to be proud of our Union and Department. A new day has arrived. 685 has new leadership and is going in a new direction.