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Human Resources Department

Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association (SCLEA)

2019 - 2023 SCLEAMemorandum of Understanding: Article 5: Association Rights

Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association

5.1 Bulletin Boards

The County will furnish reasonable bulletin board space 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 Dues Check Off

The County agrees to deduct all Association dues, insurance premiums and assessments from the pay of those employees who have authorized in writing to the County that such deduction be made. The amounts deducted shall be remitted promptly to the Association or its designee, with an alphabetical list of the employees from whom deducted.

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5.5 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 six (6) representatives in successor MOU negotiations for purposes of time spent in meeting and conferring.

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5.6 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 Association activity, as provided in this Memorandum on behalf of the members of the four Bargaining Units covered by this Memorandum.

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5.7 Time for Association Activities

The County and the Association agree to the primary principle that 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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5.8 Paid Leave "Pool"

  1. Paid Leave
    Upon request of the Association, and after approval of the Employee Relations Manager, the County may 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). Such release time shall include reasonable and necessary travel time. “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. The total number of hours of Association paid leave will be 500 hours per fiscal year and be available for use as a pool of hours, all to be used by Association representatives, other than the President. Association representatives must contact the Association office to request such paid leave. Upon request, the Association can roll over up to a maximum of two hundred (200) unused paid leave pool hours from one fiscal year to the next. 

    Effective the first full pay period following Board of Supervisors’ adoption of the 2016-2018 MOU, the County will add two hundred (200) hours of Union Release Time into the bank.
  2. Unpaid 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. When on Association leave, Bargaining Unit members are in off-duty status and the County is not responsible for their actions.
  3. Denial of Leave Requests
    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). To expedite resolution of disputes, the Association may file grievances regarding the denial of Association business leave requests beginning at the third step of the grievance process (Article 30, Section 30.10).
  4. Indemnification
    The Association shall defend, indemnify, hold harmless, release and save the County, its agents and employees, from and against any and all claims, demands, suits, orders, judgments, expenses or other forms of liability arising out of or in connection with this Article and/or any action taken or not taken by the County and/or the Association under this Article, including, but not limited to, Association members taking release time to attend to Association business. This indemnification clause shall be in addition to any other remedy available to the County under this contract or provision of the law.

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5.9 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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5.10 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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5.11 Data Run ― All Employees in Units

The County will provide the Association with a bi-weekly data run of the names, class titles, Departments, home addresses, and work locations of all employees within the Bargaining Units covered by this Memorandum of Understanding. The Association recognizes and respects the legal right of each employee to the employee’s privacy and agrees not to use any information obtained pursuant to these provisions for any reason not authorized by law, or to allow others to use the information for commercial gain, nor in any manner that would violate those rights. With respect to this promise, the Association agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the County, its officers, employees, and agents, from any claim, liability, or damage arising from the Association’s breach of its duty under this Section (5.11).

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5.12 New Employee Orientation

  1. The County shall notify new employees hired into the bargaining unit represented by the Association that the Association is the recognized employee organization for the employee’s classification. Within 30 days of hire into the Bargaining Unit, one Association representative shall have the opportunity to make a 30-minute presentation at each new employee orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department. In addition, the Association shall have the opportunity to make a 10-minute presentation at each new employee orientation program presented by any department orientation program (not to include payroll sign-ups). The County shall notify the Association of an employee orientation at least ten (10) calendar days in advance, except that a shorter notice may be provided in specific instance where there is an urgent need critical to the County’s operations that was not reasonably foreseeable. In addition, the County shall provide the Association with an electronic list of expected participants at least 72 hours in advance of the employee orientation. Each new employee shall receive a copy of the Association’s standard introductory packet, copies of which shall be provided by the Association. 
  2. The County shall provide the Association a copy of the sign-in sheet, including the Bargaining Unit, within five (5) business days after each new employee orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department.
  3. Within 90 days of hire into the Bargaining Unit, an employee who does not attend the orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department, upon the Association’s  request shall be authorized for County release time to attend a 30-minute make-up session with an Association representative  during regular working hours onsite. 
  4. One Association designee shall be granted 30 minutes County release time plus reasonable release time for necessary travel to present on the Association’s behalf at the orientation program conducted by the County Human Resources Department or make-up sessions.
  5. County management/designees shall be absent from the room during any orientation program or make-up sessions conducted by the Association with employees.

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5.13 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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5.14 President’s Release Time

[Section 5.14 shows changes to side letter that was formerly attached as Appendix I.]

The Association President will be released on a full-time basis, effective the first full pay period in July 2000 (7/11/00). The Association is responsible to pay the County for all salary and benefit costs, including accruals, related the President’s full-time release ― of which 500 hours maximum of earned compensatory time off or vacation may be voluntarily donated by SCLEA-represented employees.

5.14.1 President’s Release Time – Conditions

  1. Salary 
    Employee salary will continue to be paid by the County and billed quarterly to the Association by the County. The salary covers sick, vacation and holiday leaves, which are part of the Association cost reimbursement. Any donated hours will be subtracted from the fourth quarter (of fiscal year) billing.

    While on release time the employee will be paid at his/her current step in the salary scale at the initial date of release. 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 to the County department by the employee through Time Saver. Any merit increases will be granted on schedule.
  2. Leave Accruals / Service Credit
    1. Sick & Vacation Accruals will continue to be accrued and taken.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  3. Worker’s Compensation / 4850
    If an employee on President Release is injured in the course and scope of Association business or County business, the Association will continue to pay the County for 2,080 hours per year at the President’s current salary rate. Such employee will not be assigned to limited duty or other department assignment while on Worker’s Compensation or 4850.
  4. 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.
  5. Required Training
    An employee on President Release will participate in any training required for the employee to maintain his/her County position and job classification, and the County will pay for all salary and benefits costs associated with the time spent in training.
  6. County Benefits
    The President shall enjoy all benefits conferred on like-situated employees represented by the Sonoma County Law Enforcement 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.
  7. President’s Replacement(s)
    If another employee must act on the President’s behalf when he/she is 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:
    1. If the employee acting on the President’s behalf in his/her absence is from the same County Department as the President, he/she 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 from the same Department is at that Department Head’s discretion.
    2. The Association agrees to request such release time 14 calendar days (minimum) in advance, whether the employee is from the same or different County Department. The County Department will respond within 7 days of receipt of the initial request. Failure to provide timely response constitutes automatic approval. The Department will not arbitrarily deny the time. Reasons for denial, such as serious operational impacts will be articulated in writing to the Association. The Department 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
    1. If an incumbent SCLEA President declares his/her intention to run for re-election, the parties agree that he/she will not participate in the upcoming shift bid in his/her County department. Should the President not be re-elected, he/she will be returned to a shift in the same manner, under the same policies and procedures applied to post-shift bid assignments.
    2. If an incumbent SCLEA President declares his/her intention not to run for re-election and is not named on the ballot, he/she will be eligible to participate in the upcoming shift bid in his/her County department.
    3. If an employee (non-incumbent) declares his/her candidacy for the SCLEA President position, he/she will be eligible to participate in the upcoming shift bid in his/her County department, 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 Department. 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 Department. If there is disagreement between the Association and the designated management representative, the Department Head 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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