Letter from the President


Letter from the President

March 4, 2019

Dear Members,

This letter serves to update on recent SBCPAA happenings and to answer what have become two “frequently” asked questions—“where’s that $1,000 I used to see on my first paycheck in January?”

To answer the question, I reached out to our Chairman of the Negotiating Committee, Reid Robsahm. Here’s what he said:

“We received bonus in January of 2018 pay period one for a 1000 bucks. We then rolled it into base pay in January of 2018 in pay period two when we received a .48 cent raise to our base pay………… effectively getting two 1000 dollar bonuses in calendar year 2018 ………..and now ongoing (due to the 48 cent raise) at a thousand dollars per year in 2019 and following years. That is why we did it that way. Also was done to make it earnable comp.”

Under the terms of an older MOU, the $1,000 was treated as a professional expense allowance, and the $1,000 was debatable as “earnable compensation” for pension purposes. Secondly, the $1,000 under the old MOU was subject to sunset, meaning it would have been an item the county could have taken away during our next negotiation. Now, however, because it is rolled into our salary, it is on the books forever—it never sunsets!

Thanks to Reid for the explanation!

FAQ number two: When does the tuition reimbursement program begin and how do I get the money?

Under the terms of the MOU, the tuition reimbursement begins this coming July. Two things to keep in mind: at the time you apply for the reimbursement you must have X months of service with the county, and must be current on your loan payments. What you need to have to show the county is one year’s worth of loan statements showing that you have been current on payments for that preceding 12 months. Once those documents are provided to the county, you should expect the initial payment to show up on your paycheck within a reasonable amount of time.

As for recent happenings, on February 2, SBCPAA conducted a labor rep training at the SBCPAA downtown San Bernardino office, and I’m proud to announce we have three new labor reps: DDAs Don Pezza and Anna Choo, and Child Support Attorney Fatima Ariza. Welcome aboard! Also, in order to seek enhanced retirement benefits, the Board passed a resolution to form a retirement benefits committee, and our own recently retired Camin Whittaker will be at the helm of that. Their goals will include identification of ways SBCPAA members can obtain insurance coverage in the pre-medicare years should they wish to retire before age 65.

After the training the Board met in closed session to discuss goals and issues for the upcoming year. As you know, SBCPAA is focused on three things only: improvement to working conditions, greater salaries and enhanced benefits. One important decision made was to seek improvements to our MOU through another extension.

A number of ideas were discussed, including increasing maternity/paternity leave, increasing on-call pay, pay for military-related leave, enhanced 457 savings plan benefit, a high desert assignment travel stipend, and how we can achieve salaries that are comparable to other counties because we continue to see turnover in our offices at an unprecedented rate. The Board and our outside corporate counsel believe it would take substantial work to make those improvements a reality, and that work includes politics and membership involvement and support. If you have ideas on these matters, please contact a board member and share!

Last but not least, we were notified that the Public Defender has decided to offer a 9/80 schedule to the attorneys. SBCPAA has asked the District Attorney for a meeting to discuss the same for lawyers--a benefit already enjoyed by support staff and the Bureau of Investigation--but has met some resistance. Not possible to predict how this will turn out, but the best place for information is here on the website or talking to a Board member.

On behalf of SBCPAA,