A Violation of Due Process – Part 2

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has possibly exposed taxpayers to a major lawsuit over how the County pays overtime to its Deputy Sheriffs. In the original article exposing the arbitrary limits and policy manipulations by the County, the following questions were posed:

 On what authority can the County deprive a deputy of property rights obtained through honest labor?

 On what authority can the County manipulate internal policy to force its Deputies to not only work for “free” (unpaid “comp” time) but also sacrifice their earned vacation time (vested property right) as a result of the County’s manipulation of policy?

 Now it comes out that the County, when confronted with a Deputy’s need for overtime money to pay for essentials at home, the County refuses to pay overtime owed until the Deputy can show that he truly needs the money by showing financial statements, bills and other documentation. On what Constitutional authority does the County rely upon for this egregious invasion of privacy?

 Pinal County may have legal exposure at this moment. Nothing the County is doing with regard to its overtime policy for Deputies is ethical or legal: it is as politically motivated and as corrupt as it gets.

 Members of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office have made formal demands for overtime payment of overtime earned. One employee of the Sheriff’s Office made a request on November 19th. On November 30th, the Pinal County Human Resources Department acknowledged receiving the request.

 On December 14th, the Human Resource Director punted the problem down the road, saying he had just sent out a new policy for comments and he will be using the new policy, if approved, for cash payouts. But until it is approved, he will not process cash payments for overtime.

 Initially, Ms. Brandi Clark, Human Resources Manager, wrote the employee that the process will take one to two weeks, which puts the request for payment into mid-December, a full four weeks after the request was made. It looks like the County is stalling until January.

 Apparently, the Deputy Association’s attorney has already sent the County a “cease and desist” letter regarding the intrusive and invasive process the County established for payment of overtime. It is my understanding the Association’s attorney is ready to take the next step.

 In the course of correspondence with Supervisor Rios, he made the following post script on December 22nd:

 “PS…We are working on OT pay…Most will more than likely be very satisfied with the solution……..” I hope so, for it is not only a matter of correcting the current process but also repairing past damages.

 The Pinal County Citizens for Excellence in Government await the County’s resolution to this harmful and morale destroying issue.


Comments

  1. The employment contract signed by both parties determines whether overtime pay is to be paid or not.

    If overtime is in the contract, it must be paid, according to the terms of the contract, including the usual boilerplate requirement that it be approved in advance, requiring supervisors to correctly manage their staffs. If it isn’t, there aren’t any grounds for submitting overtime hours. Supervisors are not supposed to demand hours beyond the limits of overtime, hours that have no funding in the contract. Staff can’t just submit hours without prior approval lest the contract budget is exhausted before the normal end of the contract term.

    That isn’t clear in this article, so it’s hard for readers to know what’s going on.

    These are terms established by contract negotiations and bind both parties to the contractual terms for the duration of the contact.
    Once a contract has been fulfilled, and thus ended, then both parties can renegotiate new terms.

  2. ” Now it comes out that the County, when confronted with a Deputy’s need for overtime money to pay for essentials at home, the County refuses to pay overtime owed until the Deputy can show that he truly needs the money by showing financial statements, bills and other documentation.”
    …………….

    This is weird, and incomplete. It doesn’t matter whether the person “needs” the money or not. IF the work was done, under the contract terms, then it must be paid. No documentation is required apart from the record of the hours worked. An employee’s personal finances are irrelevent.

    Again, it’s not clear at all whether OT is allowable or not in the first place. Can’t tell if certain deputies are trying to get OT that isn’t allowable, just because other department contracts have it or that they’ve done as they are supposed to have done and are getting the run-around.

    It’s usually a very stupid policy to cheat those who are responsible for one’s security.

  3. Oberserve has it right; conservatives say they’re anti-union until it comes to police unions robbing the taxpayers blind. Retire at 45 with a full pension; pad the last couple of years with ovetime so the penison is larger than the salary; double-dip like arpaio’s entire command staff. We’ll see if Pearce and Adams have the guts to face them down. Probably not, Pearce is a triple-dipper himself.

  4. Shoot, Bill, Russell Pearce is just a union rep who got elected to office.

    He’s a police union rep, as opposed to say a teachers union rep like an elected Dem, for example, but he’s still a union rep, always representing police union interests over voters’.

  5. RD Brinkley says

    To Wanumba and Oberserve:

    You might want to read Part I to understand the full story.

  6. Where is the link to Part I?

  7. If deputies request vacation time well in advance and their requests are turned down which prevents their vacation time from being used, then it would seem fair for the county to either roll over their vacation or pay them for it.

    Unfortunately for the deputies, it does not appear they have that right under the law. This is based on the comments in Part I. Going to court won’t help the deputies on this issue.

    Paying overtime money based on financial need rather than actual work done is inexcusable, though. They should pay everybody for overtime or nobody for overtime based on county policy as opposed to individual determinations of financial need. Going to court may work for the deputies because of the inconsistency in enforcing county policy rather than because of the policy itself.

  8. …………………..
    RD Brinkley Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 2:37 pm
    To Wanumba and Oberserve:
    You might want to read Part I to understand the full story.
    …………….
    I realized that after, the PART II meant there was a PART I.
    Thanks Hunter for pulling it up.

    As Hunter says, the actual contractual terms trump all, but if there has been a pattern of inconsistency, then the deputies have some grounds to pursue this further.

  9. AFter reviewing the circumstances, I had to shake my head. Typical government – having been in the same circumstances on US government contract. Comp time instead of paid OT is common, and indeed it creates staff scheduling problems. Give Comp time and you have to permit days off work for your regular staff. It gets to be a mess keeping the office functioning.

    If so much OT is required, then the County needs to look at whether they have enough employees for the job, which means submitting a budget with requests for increased staffing and fighting for it tooth and nail, which many supervisors can’t be bothered with doing, so back to the status quo … which isn’t working. There’s a point where OT and Comp time exceed the costs of a full time extra employee, but the County has to budget for it properly.

    This case is a symptom of a general overall mismanagement of mandate and the correct staffing levels to carry that mandate out.

  10. …………………..
    Bill Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    conservatives say they’re anti-union until it comes to police unions robbing the taxpayers blind.
    …………………

    Oh, is this the case being discussed or something else? If the contract pays, then that’s it. Contracts mean something in courts.
    The government, as the private sector does, has a duty to negotiate the BEST deal for the government, not for the unions.

    That’s a separate issue at the moment. It looks like the County government isn’t making good decisions that are producing a number of financial, legal, and service delivery repercussions.

  11. RD Brinkley says

    While the Pinal County BOS claim the PCSO is the only department not under a hiring freeze the BOS never approved sufficient funds to bring manpower to required levels. Being understaffed exacerbates the OT/comp time problem and adversely impacts morale.

    Most recently, the Sheriff requested funds to staff a new interdiction team to combat Mexican drug runners and gangs south of I8.
    One of the Supervisors wrote that he thought a platoon sized element (of 30-40 individuals, depending on mission)was required. The Sheriff received approval for four deputies, two-thirds of his initial request.

    More and more,I see a Board of Supervisors who lack vision, who lack leadership, and who play politics with the safety of Pinal County citizens. Pinal County derserve better.

  12. ………………………..
    RD Brinkley Says:
    December 28th, 2010 at 9:15 am
    Most recently, the Sheriff requested funds to staff a new interdiction team to combat Mexican drug runners and gangs south of I8.
    One of the Supervisors wrote that he thought a platoon sized element (of 30-40 individuals, depending on mission)was required. The Sheriff received approval for four deputies, two-thirds of his initial request
    ………………..

    With the refusal of the Feds to do their job, then the local officials are reacting to the local conditions that are in serious flux, but the bureaucracy and politicians aren’t reacting.

    As I mentioned above, this case is a SYMPTOM of a huge problem that isn’t being dealt by competent, comprehensive and focused leadership. Pinal County has become the front line of an increasingly fluid border zone, so status quo budgeting and staffing will create a dangerous weakness and instability in the area.

    There may be a fundamental screw-up in the employment terms, thanks to shoddy contractual statements, but resolving these issues in a fair manner is critical. Arbitrary decision-making by harried supervisors isn’t the solution to the problems arisen from the demands they make on the staffing levels they have approved. The overall result will be a steady deterioration of law enforcement in the county.

    Officers who have huge OT hours demanded of them can only work that much for so long. It’s physically and mentally tolerable in the short term, but not over the long term. It’s poor management to keep kicking the can on corrective decisions down the road. People are not robots. They get fatigued, demoralized, irritable and less efficient.

  13. Here is the skinny, folks:

    A past Sheriff named Reyes with a ‘wink and nod’ Board of Supervisors named Kerr, Smith and Ruiz ran the most corrupt County government apparatus ever known to mankind. Their management man, Stan Griffis, was left to lead a wild and raucous band of chimps who took more than a few liberties with the Pinal taxpayer coin.

    Here are some past examples:
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/01/pinal_county.php

    Then Kerr, Smith and Ruiz anointed a knight with a shiny badge named Roger Vanderpool. This “elected” knight was a guy who could barely keep his own kid out of jail from drug charges, while at the same time wallowing in the cesspool left behind by the predecessor Sheriff’s gang. What a bunch that was!

    Minutes after being “re-elected,” Roger the dodger booked out of the Pinal Sheriff’s office for a gig with big sis at the Governor’s coup. Also some new characters appeared on the county stage. A newbie, former librarian named Snider “replaced” the old and corrupt Supervisor Kerr. An infamous former Casa Grande policeman named Vasquez took the helm as the ‘new hire’ at
    the Sheriff’s depot.

    From the start Vasquez was overwhelmed by the maze of bureaucracy he had to tumble through just in order to take a nap at his desk. See, life in Casa Grande law enforcement for Vasquez, would pale to the script of “A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.” I mean, this was a man on the loose, with family problems aplenty.

    So at this time in the story you have Stan the man Griffis, Smith, Ruiz, and Snider
    running the apparatus of the County and Vasquez running the Sheriff’s depot.

    It would take too much time here to explain every other department head and all of the shenanigan’s going on in those respective areas during this same period.

    Suffice it to say CORRUPTION was the game of the day in Pinal County Government!

    Now come a fresh new election in Pinal County. Old corruption is on guard.

    But the old guard is willing to do anything to maintain power in the bowels of County government. So, Smith, Ruiz and Snider cut off the head to save the bowels! That’s right, Griffis was sacrificed and all others were told to toe the line, or else.

    Oopsie: There is a new Sheriff on the election horizon, and Smith and Ruiz
    announced they also would not seek re-election.

    And so, we meet up with today’s problems centered from a basis of old guard Democrat corruption permeated throughout Pinal County government.

    Sheriff Paul is on the way to fixing the Sheriff’s Department.

    Poor Bryan Martin who replaced Smith, is out-flanked by the venerate government wonk librarian Snider, and the ever-slippery Pete Rios who replaced Ruiz. All we can say about Rios is new name – same BS as Ruiz. ‘nuf said.

    It is time to admit to the past, and now clean up this cesspool of corruption
    throughout in Pinal County Government.

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