By Sergeant Richard Shin #2386, SAPOA Member Since 1996
Message sent to the members of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (SAPOA)
After another bombshell report a few days ago about how much more we have to reimburse in legal fees, I again wonder just when our membership will take matters into its own hands against this threat to our very existence as a union. Is it when we get hit with a massive lawsuit by the City for hundreds of thousands of more dollars in punitive damages for filing frivolous lawsuits? Is it when our bank account is finally depleted?
At the last BOD meeting, Gerry Serrano (SAPOA President) asked the BOD for an additional $25,000 of your money to continue his never-ending CalPERS appeals. To date, he has already spent well over $100,000 of our money for this crusade. To me, this is a very distasteful thing to do after putting his own membership in the current state of affairs. I salute those BOD members who have turned this down, although Gerry will bring this back… soon.
Many of you have asked me when Gerry is going to hold a General Membership (GM) meeting to answer important questions from the members. My answer is simple: He’s not going to have one, period. It’s not in his best interest to hold such a meeting where he’s undeniably going to face severe blowback from the members.
What we need is an achievable, short-term goal and a practical plan to achieve it… without Gerry. In short, the goal should be to maximize our chances in getting a decent contract proportional to the rising inflation, at minimum. The plan I offer is designed to dissolve the current negotiations team, including Gerry as the chair, and assemble a new team headed by a new chairperson. The new team represents reason, neutrality and objectivity, with part of its focus to begin repairing our working relationship with the City. Removing Gerry as our president has been frequently talked about, but it is a less realistic option in my opinion.
Here’s how we do it.
According to the bylaws, 5 BOD members can call for a general membership meeting without the president. From what I have been hearing, right now might be the best chance to convince enough BOD members to request a GM meeting on behalf of the membership at large. We’re starting to see cracks forming in our BOD for the good of the membership. We haven’t had a real GM meeting since 11/21. It’s time.
The following list of items will be on the meeting agenda:
- Vote on the removal of President Serrano as the current negotiations team’s chair.
- Vote on a replacement for the position should Gerry Serrano be removed.
- Vote on disbanding the current negotiations team and allowing the replacement to assemble a new negotiations team.
The first problem that comes to mind is this: Gerry’s never going to go along with this. It doesn’t matter. It’s the membership that gives Gerry (or his replacement) the power to represent us. Last time I checked, he’s not our king. We give or take away such power by vote. He can kick and scream all he wants; the City simply deals with the new team WE duly select.
Next, who is going to replace Gerry? This requires some membership-wide discussion and planning. I should recuse myself so as not to create an impression that I’m somehow trying to overturn the result of the election. The FOP offers labor negotiations service for law enforcement agencies, so that might be an option. However, the service is not free nor cheap for a union our size.
I have heard that Gerry has been suggesting that the City has recently become more willing to give us the F/T status and the medical trust back. I am very skeptical of that suggestion because the City has no reason to give back what they took as leverage on us. Why would the City throw an egg on its own face at this point? However, if that was true, I would think that the City would be even more motivated to entertain the idea with the new team than with Gerry and his old team. My point is that we cannot continue to get duped. You’ve been duped before.
The next BOD meeting is at 1100 hours, Thursday, March 9, so we don’t have a lot of time to waste. Each and every one of you must talk to your representative right now. Tell them you don’t want another imposed contract without a meaningful raise and with no hope for getting the big items back. We also must show up to the BOD meeting to show support for those representatives who want to do the right thing. Obviously, there’s no guarantee this plan will get us something better. However, we have nothing to lose; we’ve already lost everything. He MUST sit this one out.
We can do it again; we’ve done it before!!