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Human Resources Department

Labor Agreements for Deputy Sheriffs' Association (DSA)

2023 - 2026 DSA Memorandum of Understanding: Article 5: Association Rights

Return to DSA 2023-2026 MOU Table of Contents

What’s on this Page

  • 5.1 Bulletin Boards
  • 5.2 Communications
  • 5.3 Work Access
  • 5.4 Successor Memorandum Procedures
  • 5.5 Non-Discrimination
  • 5.6 Time for Association Activities
  • 5.7 Paid Leave "Pool"
  • 5.8 Representation Assistance
  • 5.9 Use of County Facilities
  • 5.10 Data Run – New Employees in Units
  • 5.11 Board Agenda
  • 5.12 Full Release of Association President

Read Next: Article 6: Employee Rights

5.1 Bulletin Boards

County will furnish five (5) reasonable bulletin board spaces measuring no less than 36 x 48 inches. Bulletin boards shall be located in mutually acceptable areas and shall, when reasonably possible, be out of plain view of the public. All materials to be posted on said boards shall be in good taste and strictly impersonal in nature and limited to the legitimate business of the Association. Prior to posting, all material shall be plainly and legibly initialed by an authorized representative of the Association.

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5.2 Communications

The County’s interdepartmental messenger service may be used for individual business-oriented communication between employees who are represented by the Association and between the paid staff of the Association and such employees, provided that paid staff of the Association shall pick up and deliver all written communications outside the County’s normal distribution route. The Association understands that the continuance or discontinuance of the interdepartmental messenger service is a matter within sole discretion of the County.

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5.3 Work Access

Authorized non-employee Association representatives will be given access to work locations during working hours to investigate and process grievances or post bulletins on the bulletin board(s) without unreasonable interference with employee work. The Association shall give the department head and the Employee Relations Manager a written list of such authorized Association Representatives. Only those people whose name appears on the current list shall be granted access under this provision. 

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5.4 Successor Memorandum Procedures

The County and the Association will strive to arrive at mutually agreeable ground rules to cover any element of the meet and confer process for a successor Memorandum of Understanding.

Reasonable release time shall be granted to Association representatives for purposes of meeting and conferring toward a successor MOU. Release time shall be afforded for a maximum of four (4) representatives in successor MOU negotiations for purposes of time spent in meeting and conferring.

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5.5 Non-Discrimination

The County will not interfere with or discriminate in respect to any term or condition of employment against any employee covered by this Memorandum of Understanding because of representation by the Association or legitimate union activity, as provided in this Memorandum on behalf of the members of the two Bargaining Units covered by this Memorandum.  

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5.6 Time for Association Activities

The County and the Association agree to the primary principle that the Association activities will normally be carried on outside of employee working hours. It is further recognized that there are reasonable limited deviations from this policy such as posting of Association notices and distribution of information which do not require substantial amounts of time. Where such activities cannot reasonably be performed except during scheduled working hours, and where such activities are performed without disruption of employee work performance, they are authorized and may be done without loss of pay to the employees involved.

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    5.7 Paid Leave "Pool"


    Upon request, the County will grant Association paid leave to Association representative(s) to attend to Association business related to County of Sonoma representation, when such business would conflict with the work schedule of an employee representative(s). “Association business” shall mean Association Executive Board meetings, conventions, seminars or other Association events, all of which must be related to employer-employee relations and involving matters solely pertaining to the bargaining units covered by this Memorandum of Understanding. When on Association business, Bargaining Unit members are on off-duty status, during which the County is not responsible for their actions.

    Association representatives must contact the Association office to request such paid leave. Additional release hours beyond the annual pool of paid Association leave hours may be granted by the County for Association business on an unpaid leave basis or by the employee representative requesting use of accrued vacation and/or compensatory time off. The County shall not unreasonably deny a request for paid Association business leave or unpaid leave, vacation and/or compensatory time off for Association business unless the County determines the number of Association representatives requesting time off for Association business would create an undue hardship on operational effectiveness, including excessive overtime costs to replace the absent Association representative(s).

    All requests for leave under this section shall be made in writing on a form as agreed to by the parties.

    1. Unit Member Contributions
      After one year of service, a represented employee may contribute up to twenty-two (22) hours per year of either accrual, compensatory time off or vacation. There is no minimum contribution amount. A contributor must have 80 hours vacation balance after contribution. There is no compensatory time off minimum balance.
    2. Association Charges
      The County will charge the Association for overtime costs incurred to backfill positions, when paid leave time under this Article is used. The cost shall be deducted by the County from the Association paid leave pool first. If paid leave is exhausted, the Association will be charged for additional time.
    3. Rollover  
      Employee contributions are rolled over to the following year.
    4. County Contribution
      In addition, the County will authorize 140 hours per year for the Association’s use.

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    5.8 Representation Assistance

    Except as otherwise modified by a specific provision of this Memorandum of Understanding, Association employee and non-employee representatives shall have the right to represent or assist employees covered by this Memorandum of Understanding before the Board of Supervisors, the Civil Service Commission, grievance meetings with County management under the Grievance Procedure of this Memorandum of Understanding or other meetings with County management mutually agreed to in advance. 

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    5.9 Use of County Facilities

    Upon request of the Association, the County may provide use of County facilities outside of working hours, provided such space is available and the Association complies with all departmental and Board of Supervisors rules and policies for use of County facilities. The request for use of facilities shall be made in advance to the County and indicate the date, time and purpose of the meeting and facilities needed.

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    5.10 Data Run – New Employees in Units

    The County shall, once per month, make available to the Association President a list of the names, home addresses (where the employee so authorizes the release to the County and the Association), and work locations of all newly hired employees. The President of the Association, or designee, shall be entitled to contact all newly hired employees for the purpose of providing the employee with an Association brochure and other information about the Association. These activities will be conducted on the President’s and the newly hired employee’s own time. Upon request, the Association may be authorized to make this contact with newly hired employees at a departmental orientation period if the County agrees that such contacts will not interfere or detract from the purpose of the departmental orientation process.

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    5.11 Board Agenda

    The County will arrange to transmit or make available to the Association President, or designee, two copies each week of the Board of Supervisors’ regular public meeting agenda in advance of the regular Board meeting. The County will also continue to transmit or make available to the Association President, or designee, two copies of the regular Civil Service Commission agenda and classification studies scheduled on that agenda pertaining to classifications represented by the Association in advance of the Commission meeting.

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    5.12 Full Release of Association President

    The Association President will be released on a full-time basis, effective the first full pay period in January 2024 (12/12/2023).  The Association is responsible to pay the County for all costs related to the position of the individual being released as President including retirement, taxes, and benefit costs. To off-set the Association’s portion of expense associated with the full-time release of the President, 2,087 hours will be credited based upon the foregoing of the Floating Holiday by all members of the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs Management Association.

    5.12.1  President’s Release Time – Conditions

    1. Salary: Employee salary will continue to be paid by the County.  The salary covers sick, vacation, and holiday leaves, which are part of the Associations Floating Holiday donation.

    While on release time the employee will be paid at their current step in the salary scale at the initial date of release. Unless the employee continues to perform duties associated with a specialty assignment, salary does not include premiums for specialty assignments, but will include P.O.S.T. pay or other educational incentive pay for which an employee has qualified.  Time will be recorded and submitted by the employee through the County’s time keeping software, currently Dimensions.  Any merit increases will be granted on schedule.

    1. Leave Accruals/Service Credit

      A. Sick and vacation accruals will continue to be accrued and taken.

      B. Holidays: Released President receives holiday time each year in accordance with the requirements of the MOU and County policy applicable to the President/employee’s position, which must be taken during the year. Overtime and compensatory time off are not incurred. MOU Articles 20.5 (Compensation for Holidays) and 20.6 (Compensation for Holidays – Day Worked) do not apply.

      C. Retirement: Retirement service credit accrual will continue. The employee is on paid leave and the Auditor/Payroll Division will deduct both employee and employer contributions, in order to maintain service credit.

    2. Worker’s Compensation / 4850

    If an employee on President Release is injured in the course and scope of Association business or County business, the vice president of the Association will continue to perform the duties of the President until the President is returned to duty. The obligation of the Association to pay release time related costs will be recalculated to pay the County for 2,080 hours per year at the vice-president’s current salary rate.

    1. Liability Insurance & Third-Party Claims Against the County

    The Association will maintain the following insurance coverages: a General Liability insurance policy with a $1,000,000 coverage limit per occurrence, and Non-Owned Auto Liability Insurance with a minimum limit of $1,000,000 combined single limit coverage per accident.  The Non-Owned Liability coverage may be provided in the form of an appropriate endorsement to the   General Liability policy. Employees released from regular County work pursuant to this Section           perform activities at the Association’s direction and are not agents of the County of Sonoma. The Association agrees to indemnify and hold the County harmless from all claims arising from such activities.

    1. Required Training

      A. An employee on President Release will participate in any training required for the employee to maintain their County position, specialty assignment and job classification, and the County will pay for all salary and benefits costs associated with the time spent in training. In event the President is on occasion, mandated by the Office of the Sheriff to perform duties associated with their position, including those associated with their specialty assignment, the County will be responsible for all salary for all salary and benefit costs for the time performing said duties.

      B. The Sheriff Office will provide an itemized quarterly billing taking into account any offsets related to duties including training referenced in A above. The DSA may request a meeting for clarification of the quarterly billing if needed.

    2. County Benefits

    The President shall enjoy all benefits conferred on like-situated employees represented by the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs Association Memorandum of Understanding and applicable County of Sonoma rules and policies. No loss of County health, dental, vision, LTD or other benefits will result. If a new benefit or unanticipated impact from an existing benefit not covered in this Agreement occurs, the parties agree to reopen this Agreement and meet on the issue in question.

    1. President’s Replacement(s)

    If another employee must act on the President’s behalf when they are using vacation or sick leave, the County will charge the Association for all salary and benefits costs associated with the replacement’s release time. The following conditions apply:

    A. If the employee acting on the President’s behalf in their absence will not be provided release time unless pre-approval is sought and granted in advance. The right to refuse such hours for a President’s replacement is at the Sheriff’s discretion.

    B. The Association agrees to request such release time 14 calendar days (minimum) in The Sheriff’s Office will respond within 7 days of receipt of the initial request.  Failure to provide timely response constitutes automatic approval.  The Sheriff’s Office will not arbitrarily deny the time.  Reasons for denial, such as serious operational impacts will be articulated in writing to the Association.  The Sheriff may deny the requested release time if overtime costs would be incurred to provide the release time.  If the Association agrees to reimburse the County for the overtime costs, then the County may not deny the release time on the sole basis of overtime costs.

    8. Shift Bid

    A. If an incumbent DSA President declares their intention to run for re-election, the parties agree that he/she will not participate in the upcoming shift bid in their bureau. Should the President not be re-elected, they will be returned to a shift in the same manner, under the same policies and procedures applied to post-shift bid assignments.

    B. If an incumbent DSA President declares their intention not to run for re-election and is not named on the ballot, they will be eligible to participate in the upcoming shift bid.

    C. If an employee (non-incumbent) declares their candidacy for the DSA President position, they will be eligible to participate in the upcoming shift bid, as the outcome of the election is an unknown.

    9. Presidential Access to County Facilities

    With the approval of the designated management representative, the Association President may meet with represented employees at their work locations on matters of mutual interest to the Association and the Sheriff’s Office. The President shall give the management representative sufficient notice and information to arrange for the meeting time(s), including the requested duration of the meeting, and to determine if the matter(s) to be discussed are of mutual interest. The management representative may limit the duration of the meeting to meet the needs of the Sheriff’s Office. If there is disagreement between the Association and the designated management representative, the Sheriff shall have final authority to determine whether the matter(s) to be discussed is/are of mutual interest. The County agrees to provide the Association with a list of designated management representatives and to keep such list updated.

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