Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bexar County probation officers protest retention interviews

This Grits post about tumultuous labor relations at Bexar County's Adult Probation division drew a large number of comments, some of them quite angry, reacting to the probation director's decision to require all 430 employees to re-apply for their jobs and submit to retention interviews. P.O.s are also unhappy at the director's decision last year to take away their sidearms after a shooting incident.

The demand that employees re-apply for their jobs came four days before Christmas, and two days after a group of employees met with the director to demand union representation.

Today in San Antonio, even as I write this, Bexar P.O.s are staging a protest at the courthouse asking that the retention interview order be rescinded. One of the employee leaders, Sherri Simonelli, forwarded me her comments prepared for the event, which I thought I'd reprint below:
Sherri Simonelli, Adult Probation Talking Points, January 23, 2007
Good afternoon. My name is Sherri Simonelli, and I have proudly served the people of Bexar County as an Adult Probation Officer for 4 years. My husband is an Active Duty in the Army, and I have two children - Michael who is 14 and David who is 8. Everyday, I and my fellow officers and support staff strive to keep Bexar County and San Antonio safe. As Adult Probation officers we are the ones who work on the frontline with defendants on a daily basis. We are the ones who make sure that they are tested for drugs, pay their fines and are rehabilitated to be more productive members of society.

We stand here today united with members of the community, labor organizations and elected officials to send a clear message to the people of our community and the Adult Probation administration. The taxpayers of Bexar County demand accountability at all levels of government. Not equipping our Adult Probation Officers with the resources they need to keep Bexar County safe is wrong. Being a Probation Officer is a profession, officers should be treated with respect and the lines of communication should be kept open with our management. As Probation Officers, we have made a decision to dedicate ourselves to serving the public. As public servants it’s our obligation to keep our community safe and that is why we stand before you today. The working conditions in Adult Probation are impeding us from carrying out our duties. We would like for Probation Officers and the administration to be able to work as one … unfortunately, our pleas for partnership have fallen on deaf ears. We seek a seat at the table to discuss what makes most sense for San Antonio and Bexar County when it comes to public safety.

At any given time there are 20,000-30,000 cases that Adult Probation Officers manage. We have one of the worst retention rates of any department in Bexar County. Officers are leaving out of frustration over skyrocketing caseloads. It is nearly impossible for a Probation Officer to deal with 140-150 defendants on a daily basis- this is a recipe for failure.

The retention of officers is critical in order for cases involving arson, burglary, and sex offenders to be given the attention they require.

We are here today for a very simple reason: that reason is a better and safer San Antonio. We love our community and our jobs and we will continue this struggle until our voices are heard, because we know that what is at stake is the safety and security of all working families in San Antonio.

We’ve gathered today requesting that the retention interviews initiated by Adult Probation Chief Fitzgerald cease immediately so that we can get back to work and continue to do what we do best, which is keeping San Antonio Safe. The taxpayers of Bexar County have spoken and are behind us, they do not think that mandatory retention interviews of the 430 Adult Probation employees is the most efficient use of taxpayer money. We ask Chief Fitzgerald to make the right decision and stop these mandatory retention interviews and begin to address the issues that we have laid out today.

Thank You for being here in solidarity with us and have a blessed day.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is marital status and offspring important to this conversation?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Well, I suppose to her because her job's at stake. That's a pretty hostile action, the whole thing about having everyone re-apply. I'm sure it made all 430 employees think about their livelihood, feeding their kids, etc. (4 days before Xmas), don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Some people don't understand that while probation officers are charged with protecting the community, they are also part of the community. They have spouses and children. They have the same concerns as other taxpayers, but their voices are not being heard by their own administration. If a person on probation in Bexar County were to make a complaint about the condition of the buildings or their treatment by the staff, you can bet your last dollar the administration would take action. When probation officers make a complaint, they are forced to re-apply for their jobs. They can't even get the same justice afforded to the people they supervise. What a shame. Judges, do the right thing, get Fitzgerald under control or get rid of him. Aren't you getting tired of him making you look like fools. Show the people of Bexar County that you care about their safety and that you care about the people who work for you.

Anonymous said...

AGAIN...THE BUS IS OUT OF CONTROL. Chief Fitzgerald loves to quote the book "From Good to Great". Unfortunately for him, he doesn't know the book very well. A main point in the book is "trying to motivate your employees is a great waste of time and effort. Therefore, make sure you have the right people, in the right place on the bus and who are self-motivated. The worst thing you can do is to DE-MOTIVATE your employees!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Get real....this is bigger than retention interviews! It's about a NAPOLEONIC little man who has been challenged and wants to show who is BOSS! Apparently, previous Bexar Chief Garcia was allowed to do nearly the same thing back in 1994, when several officers tried to form a union. Too many officers claim to be scared to join, shame on you weak minded individuals. I applaud those with the intestinal fortitude to stand up to this "man"(?) Where are the Judges who hired him? Does he know too much about them, are they scared?? The citizens of Bexar County should be demanding his resignation and preparing to vote out those Judges in the next election....

Anonymous said...

Scared? Damn right, I'm scared. He is out of control! The Judges haven't done a thing to protect the ones they look to to do their dirty work-Probation officers. What am I supposed to do, I have children, a mortgage and school bills to pay. I can't take the chance. The money for dues isn't the issue, keeping my job is.

Anonymous said...

Where is the oversight on these Judges? Bexar County Officers you need to lawyer up - your civil rights are being violated? You are free to unionize but sounds like some think they are not free. I'll represent you - lets look at some damages on all this stress and dismay! I'll contact one of you.

OSAPian said...

I'm an odd duck I know, being a lifelong Republican, past president of two locals and former vice-president of the largest independent prison and parole officers' union in the USA (CCPOA).

Here's my prediction: Every Bexar County Probation Department employee identified with the attempt to secure union representation and/or who is on record protesting being disarmed will not be retained.

An interview should be part of the hiring process for all public safety workers. Once hired, public servants should be retained or terminated based on their job preformance. I am sure there is some deadwood in Bexar County's P.O. force and I'm sure there are ways within whatever passes for civil service rules there to get rid of them.

To subject everyone in an agency that large to go through retention interviews is both a cop out and a waste of public treasure. Just like disarming all officers in the same agency because of one shooting incident.

Anyone who claims to be a law and order conservative [and has a knee jerk aversion to public employee unions] should take a good hard look at what is going on in Bexar County where probation officers have no representation.

Anonymous said...

All individuals are members of communities, with or without families. Single people have a stake in this too.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Bexar County Officers help is on the way!!!



Hey what are your case-loads at?

Anonymous said...

Well let see my case load is currently at 135. they want us to use graduated sanctions to cut down on the jail population and do field visits - hmmmmm - sounds damm near impossible however i have been managing it so far. so much for the case load of 92 that we were promissed 2.5 years ago (when Pam / Ms Rendon had that training on graduated sanctions). Well Mr. Fitzgerald what do we have to say for these empty promises. Not much hu. I say almost like the last dictatorship we were under "if you dont like it, let me remind you. you are at will". sounds familuar hu.

What exactly is a training managers job and duties by the way - walk around the halls tucking his shirt tail in like he is something special. With the high case loads that we have we are also expected to keep up with out training hours. I figured that would fall under the training department but guess I was wrong again.

well these dumbass interviews have restarted again - wow cant wait to the next election - all we need is someone to run against Judge Roman / Kazen. something tells me they wont be there long. Know what I mean.

Its funny my family memebers are alreaady asking who they should vote for in 2008. Lets just see if some attornies are willing to step up to the plate and run against these CLOWNS that are on the bench now.

Last blog I wrote, I stated, " I wont forget how we have been treated. Guess what I HAVENT FORGOT."

now for my fellow Officers who are scared - STEP UP. If you dont then dont BITCH to me because I dont want to hear your crying and moaning.

Wow i was almost done but now i have one last comment - that is why do these people on probation (criminals) have more rights then us Officers. Our so called managers wont even back the Officers.

Anonymous said...

Probation officers have rallied and are holding Probation Chief Bill Fitzgerald "accountable" for the mess his Probation Department is in! But,who is holding the District Court Judges "accountable" for allowing Bill Fitzgerald to continue the retention interviews? Bill has surrounded himself with an administrative staff that will tell Bill what he wants to hear insted of what Bill should know! Bill, wake up and see the light! If you want to survive, get rid of those who surround you, they are bringing you down! There is no room for them on "the bus"! Most of the leftovers you kept had been tarnished by the last administration. Don't forget those "pipelines" to the judges, who call themselves your friends! Yes, the same ones who just 3 years ago rallied in front of the court house to remove the last chief. Bill, you need to open your communications channel and make your direction known to your staff! Union members, contact your locals and have them remove political support(monies) to the District Court Judges who will be coming up for election. It's time for new blood in our court system. This is apparent, when our "elected" officals refer to the courts as"kingdoms" and when judges are allowed to "discourage" probation officers from the union!

Anonymous said...

What is the starting officer pay in bexar co.

Anonymous said...

the staring pay is $27500 yr. in december we were promissed to be brought up to $30000 to start 1/15/07. guess what - it did not happen. GO FREAKING FIGURE.

Anonymous said...

i posted a comment, now relegated to the archives of the first thread in this discussion, in which i mentioned that i've worked within the criminal justice system in bexar county for 26 years. i am an attorney. it is not the job of attorneys to protect probation officers by "stepping up to the plate" and running against these judges. that's ridiculous. why would anyone think they have the right to tell someone else that they should give up their practice and take a chance that the voters of this dumbass county would actually pick the right person for the job. generally, and particularly thanks to the games the express-news plays in this one-newspaper town, the electorate in bexar county is ill-informed and misinformed. my experience has been that the express-news does everything it can to skew the election process, and the voters, like pigs to slaughter, go along. so, come on, let's identify the problem. also, anyone who would hire an attorney who is going to contact you and offer free representation not only deserves what they get but gets what they paid for. in fact, it is a violation of the state bar disciplinary rules for an attorney to do that. it's called "solicitation." as one writer wrote, the problem is an out of control, angry little man with a napoleonic complex. he let his mouth overload his ass. unfortunately, the judges who are supposed to provide supervision and oversight for this public official have elected to pretend they don't understand his motivation for these interviews. they have become parties to his present attempts to coverup for his vindictive, post-union petition, temper tantrum. the judges who are refusing to deal with him and the problem he has created are "playing stupid," ladies and gentlemen. the solution isn't to ask lawyers to run against these judges. the solution is to let these judges know, as i believe ms. simmonelli (sp?) attempted to do, that you probation officers, some nearly 500 strong in numbers, are members of the community; members of the community who have ADULT, VOTING AGE friends and relatives. if you wimp out and fail to push your union initiative; if you buckle under to fear and repression; if you blink, the battle is lost. the judges will not be held accountable. your chief will not only be able to look you in the eye (something he can't actually do, physically, in most cases because he is a short little, intemperate man) but he will glare you into submission for the rest of his tenure. the thing that seems to have become lost in this discussion is the fact that we're not talking about a corporation that these judges and this chief have built from the ground up into some monolithic giant of industry. we're talking about something no one owns. we're talking about something that belongs to the people. we're talking about a piece of the public trust....a public office. a governmental entity. neither he nor the judges have a right to prevent you from unionizing and showing some backbone. but let me make this clear.......this isn't anyone else's job but yours. you guys have to do this. there are many of us, around you, who will support you; but, dammit, you have to stand up for yourselves first. you have to rally your friends and family to send letters to these judges telling them how many people you guarantee at the polls who will vote for their opponents if they let this "elmer fudd" looking character get away with this. i have to take issue with some of the message that's being put out by your leadership. to me, the point isn't arming probation officers and public safety and all that. the point is that this new chief is a liar. he's lied to you about your raises and the availability of the funds for those raises. he's lied about internal problems in the office....internal problems which are clear evidence of his malfeasance in managing the place. he's lied about why he sent that email scheduling these interviews. he has a demonstrated history of lying to the judges going all the way back to the budget fiasco of a year ago and his explanation of why he didn't meet with paul canales and the county court judges despite their repeated requests to do so. he lies to the public and the media about why he sent this email and why these interviews are happening. and.........the judges are going to let him get away with it. to me, the point is: "why do we have a liar running a public office that oversees criminals and attempts to rehabilitate them?" that's just insane, folks.

Anonymous said...

Last post you are exactly right! It goes as far back as the chicken little meeting were he mislead the judges then- I remember Kazen defending fitzgerald then! I feel the officers have enough to prove he is unfit for public office. The fact the judges are not doing anything is kind of weird- I wonder if they think it will just go away soon? Some maybe? The smart ones know that anything from the retention interviews forward that this chief tries to do will fail. The chief is a lame duck. No one likes this chief, trust him or respects him. Unless the rest of the oficers stand up the whole department will be sit still. I do not think the department will recover well. The judges and the community both stand to loose more than most of the officers who have no stake in the profession. Most officers are looking for a way out. So really everyone looses. The bus is out of gas and broken down and needs a new driver.

Anonymous said...

I dont quite understand why FITZGERALD turned against his staff- Was it all his idea? Does he not understand that once you bite your staff some will bite back right away and others will wait for another day and this chief will never be able to move forward. It seems sad that he is so unaware. The judges have a lot at stake when the ones who work to protect the cases they put on probation are so upset. Seems like there should be someone who could help.

Anonymous said...

You have the grits, now here's the chorizo !
Fact: 1) Since Bill has been here most officers have had an avergae 16-18% payraise. 2) Commissioners Court controls the construction of the new building. 3) Some of those individuals who carried guns before, had no business doing so. Thank God Bill protected the rest of us from these James Bond wanabees. 4) CJAD sets training standards, you should thank our training manager for making sure we don't lose our certification.5) Scary Sherri DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ALL OF US!! The vast majority of us support Bill. 6) Funny , where are the issues you thought you had? Instead of being focued on issues, you turn to personal attacks. Bit of advice, don't get personal, you lose creidability..ops too late!7) Ask the detention officers, what the union did for them,oops, cancelled their work permits ( get the inside scoop).8) The majority of the whinners carry baggage ie.. suspensions, writen up for unethical acts, Bill was too nice when he came on board and stated he was going to wipe everyones slate clean, these people should have been gone right there and then.9) If this is such a bad place to work, then why have 4 previous employees come crawling back??10)If this is such a big union, why do you meet at bill millers! 11) If you are truley legitimate, why do you disguise your agenda by asking people to sign your petitions for one thing and then turn around and attach your real agenda to it!!! Pretty cowardly! 12) Pay me your 40.00 dues, I'll post on GRITS all day long, just to make you feel better. NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!!!!

Anonymous said...

to the previous writer:

I HAVE NEVER BEEN WRITTEN UP. I HAVE OUTSTANDING APRAISELS FROM 2 DIFFERANT MANAGERS. I AM NOT A CRYBABY. BUT I SURE AS HELL WANT TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A PROFESSIONAL. FURTHERMORE, I AM ONE OF THE TOP COLLECTORS IN THIS DEPARTMENT AND AS FOR AS OUR TRAINING MANAGER - PLEASE - HE SURE DOES NOT KEEP UP WITH OUR HOURS - WE ARE TOLD TO. NOW AS FOR AS PERSONAL ATTACK - WHY MUST WE REFER TO OUR FELLOW EMPLOYEES AS SCARY - AINT THAT THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK - SO GET A LIFE.

PLEASE: COME TO THE UNION MEETINGS SO WE CAN GET YOUR INPUT. IF YOU DONT COME WE DONT KNOW HOW YOU FEEL THEREFORE WE SPEAK WITHOUT YOUR INPUT. AGAIN SO DONT BITCH.

Anonymous said...

1ST, YOUR THE ONES BITCHEN, 2) YOU ALL STARTED THE PERSONAL ATTACKS, THAT'S YOUR STYLE, THAT'S WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO WHEN YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE A PLATFORM. AS FOR BEING PROFESSIONAL. NOT ONCE SINCE YOU ALL STARTED THIS BULL HAVE YOU BEEN PROFESSIONAL. ONE ONLY HAS TO READ YOUR POST TO SEE THAT. NOW GO AND ORDER YOUR NUMBER 2 AT BILL MILLERS, PICK YOUR TEETH AND FIGURE OUT WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO TO DISRUPT THE DEPARTMENT. GET A LIFE, HAHAHA. TYPICAL LOSER RESPONSE.

Anonymous said...

As far as the last few posts, you people should be ashamed of yourselves. Instead of working together, you resort to name calling and taking sides. How sickening! It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that the system is screwed up. A trained monkey could see that! By the way, chalk up two more good officers and people, GONE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you whats shameful. The lack of respect this minority group has show to fellow co-workers and administration. I personally don't care if a person chooses to join whatever group they choose. They could join Hari Krishanas for all I care. But they have no right to verbally abuse and harass those who chose not too. I'm new to the department, and since my arrival , all these pople have done is constatntly badger and harass me to sign up for their group. I thought I was hired to be an officer, not to be a recruitment instrument for this group. These people spend more time disguising their intentions, than doing their job. I have to agree with one post. If you had legitimate complaints, then why disguise your agenda. I asked this one individual who constanly harasses me why he did not like the chief. His answer was" Becasue they should have hired a hispanic". That right there showed their true colors. This group claims to want unity, but they are the ones creating a hostile work enviornment by showing total disregard for authority or repsect. Please read Roddy Stinton dated 1-31-107. This group again attempted launched false allegations against the department by stating they was problems with the budget. Please read what the findings were. Again just another attempt to discredit our department. I am ashamed that these unprofessional , unethical and self serving individuals have chosen our department to push their personal agenda. The majority of us are true professionals who respect our profession and our chain of command. People should not believe everything that is written , papers will print what is going to sell. That's why tabloids are popular. One only has to dig a little to find the truth, the truth is, this chief is nowhere near what these people have made him out to be. RESPECT for oneself and others is the key to effective communication.

Anonymous said...

Bill did not give the probation offiers a 16-18% pay raise. The monies given were adjustments from raises that should of been given from previous administration! Bill took over a department that was already in shambles. Bill trusted those officers, managers and admistrators he selected as his "team" to help him put the department back together. The "team" has failed Bill and has been blinded by the non-performance of this "team". Bill has been kept in the dark about basic needs of the department. 1. Human Resources, the high turn over rate, the interview process and the same panel of interviewers, promotions given to personnel with less than one year service versus staff with tenure!, Exit interviews! 2. Training, have yet to see a "job description" for new officers being placed into units, have yet to see training for those officers who conduct "home visits", have yet to see "building security " manual or directions for staff, basic "key control" to our building and so on... 3. Managers are allowed to discriminate, be selective when addressing "case audits", are allowed to retain a "select group" of employees in select courts while other officers are transfered at will, are not demoted, are transfered from unit to unit when they are not up to standard! 4. Special Units (gang/sex offender) are allowed to do as they want! Officers involved in "shootings" are still allowed to patrol the streets alone! Officers are "working out" on duty while manager is never in the office! SEX OFFENDERS RUNNING RAMPED!
Yes Bill, you can credit those close to you for the cluster the department is in! You need to listen to those you interview and not to those who have misdirected you for the past three years.

Anonymous said...

so, we have a new blogger who is pro-boss. what else do we know about this person? they're a new employee. hmmmmmmm. as i've previously written, i've been involved in the bexar county criminal justice system for 26 years. i don't know all the answers, but i know a liar when i hear or read one; i may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night (figure it out); and i can recognize an asskisser from the color of their lips. explain this, asskisser: if morale isn't in the crapper in the department and if the probation office is such a great place to work w/the intolerable caseload, low pay, and retaliatory boss..............then why are you probation officers being offered 8 hours of "comp" time if you can bring in a new hire who makes it through training? under caesar garcia, jobs in the probation office were hard to get. why haven't you addressed my previous post about the 40 or 50 UNFILLED POSITIONS? and now, you get 8 hours if you can help the chief lure some poor unsuspecting person into his lair. it's kind of like watching the nature channel and those specials about things that live in australia like trapdoor spiders and the like. now, the chief wants to use you for bait to get more employees he can threaten when he's having a bad day. if the probation office doesn't have all these unfilled positions and people want to work both there and for him, why offer this bait? the probation officers i know wouldn't do something like this to a friend...........lure them into working there!

Anonymous said...

back in the day, not too long ago, you actually had to have EXPERIENCE to work there. In fact, I had to work elsewhere for a year, in order to even be considered for a job. Now, I guess not....

Anonymous said...

This poster who claims he is an attorney with 26 years in bexar county, sounds like a judge who lost a re-election. What self respecting attorney would lower his standards so low that he would also join in on the personal attacks. You'er right I can also smell a liar. This guy sounds like an internet troll who will join in a fight just becasue he has nothing else to do. He doe'snt even work at the department. What a loser, literaly. I do work there , I've worked under both administrations, I can tell you this chief is 100 times better. I might not always agree with what he does, but at least he has made the effort to fix things. As for the pay, you can call it adjustments , or raises, bottom line, the officers (me included) are 18 % better off than they were three years ago. No one can deny that. I also agree that there are people in his administration who have not supported the chief, there are a few managers who are waiting to retire, but there are others that have worked hard and enjoy the support of their staff. As for the internet troll, I question the compentency of any attorney who has nothing better to do than continue to post what seems like a personal vendetta.

Anonymous said...

WOW ! Why is it that when someone disagrees with the view point of this group, they are verbaly attacked (asskisser) . By the way, went to the auditor's office today and had them stop yanking my hard earn money for this group. I have seen and heard enough. Twice I have been to your meetings and twice was disgusted with the behavior, no thanks I'm out!!
I'm proud enough to know that your lack of professionalism and aggressive behavior is something I want no part of.

Anonymous said...

Helping the chief move into his new home three years ago should not qualify someone to be a manager! You bad mouthing Judge Luitjen and County Commisioner Paul Elizondo, while you were sitting in Panchito's with Judge Roman, should have resulted in you receiving a reprimand/suspension not a promotion. Yet, Judge Roman actually thinks highly of you. But then you did help her BACKSTAB Caesar Garcia. This should be all the more reason to dump her off the bench next election. Have you figured out that we know what you are up to, Mr. Training manager! AND you have the gall to post you THAT EVERYONE IS HAPPY! WRONG YOU ARE AGAIN. Morale is at an ALL-TIME low!

Anonymous said...

Here is the fact: I didn't receive anything close to a 18% raise under this administration. At 12 years all officers are capped at $43,000. I challenge whoever posted that to get the facts from the auditor's office. I'm tired of reading that everything is fine and there is just a small group of trouble makers. The citizens of Bexar County deserve a department that can and will protect them. Write a policy and follow it. Treat all workers with the respect that ANY employee deserves for doing a job well done. Those who join the union have a right to their opinion, whether you like it or not! SAPD, SAFD, LEO and others unionized are got what they deserved. Is it wrong for us to do the same? Remember that next time you want to put down UNION members.

SPOTLIGHT said...

COMMUNICATION SEEMS TO BE THE KEY TO THIS MESS! WE HAVE THOSE WHO BACK CHIEF FITZGERALD, THE UNION AND THOSE OFFICERS WHO DON'T GET INVOLVED! I HAVE BEEN A UNION MEMBER FOR OVER 20 YEARS. THE UNION IS ABOUT COMMUNICATION AND AGREEMENTS FOR BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS. THE UNION IS NOT ABOUT BADGERING OR HARASSING, BUT IN SOME CASES OFFICERS ARE GUILITY OF THIS. UNIONS ARE NOT ABOUT "PERSONAL AGENDAS", BUT ABOUT ALL WORKERS! UNIONS OFFER BENEFITS SUCH AS LIFE INSURANCE FOR IT'S MEMBERS AND LEGAL REPRESENTATION IF NEEDED. POLICE OFFICERS,FIREFIGHTERS,STEEL WORKERS AND OTHER PROFESSIONS ALL BELONG TO UNIONS. SINCE THE CEASAR GARCIA DAYS OFFICERS HAD BEEN TOLD TO STAY AWAY FROM THE UNION BECAUSE UNIONS "ARE BAD"! BILL FITZGERALD, FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND CAME FROM A DEPARTMENT WHO HAD A UNION. AND WE ALL REMEMBER THE "DRB", WHICH WAS A "UNION" OF OFFICERS ALSO CREATED BY CHIEF FITZGERALD. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE THE "DRB" FAILED BECAUSE CHIEF FITZGERALD FAILED TO "COMMUNICATE" WITH THE MEMBERS. YES, COMMUNICATION IS THE FACTOR HERE! AS ONE MANAGER STATED" BILL DOESNT' WANT TO MAKE ANY DECISIONS" , "BILL FAILS TO COMMUNICATE WITH HIS ADMINISTRATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS NO NOT WANT TO MAKE DECISIONS WITHOUT BILL"! SO, WITHOUT COMMUNICATION WE CANOT CONTINUE TO OPERATE MUCH LONGER! AS MEMBERS OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR ANY ORGINAZATION YOU NEED TO SUPPORT THE CHIEF/CEO OR PRESIDENT AND ANY BUSINESS STRATEGY, "GOOD-TO-GREAT" PRINCIPLES HE OR SHE MAY HAVE. BUT, IN ORDER TO DO THIS THE CHIEF/CEO OR PRESIDENT MUST INTRODUCE TO HIS STAFF WITH AN ORGANIZED DIRECTION OF THE STRATEGY OR BUSINESS PLAN! BILL FITZGERALD YOU HAVE FAILED TO COMMUNICATE YOU INTENTIONS TO YOUR DEPARTMENT. I THINK WE CAN SALVAGE OUR PROFESSION AND OUR CAUSE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AS PROBATION OFFICERS,IF THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION ARE OPENED AND THIS CAN ONLY START WITH BILL FITZGERALD. THE UNION IS NOT GOING AWAY, BUT IT WILL JUST BECOME AN ASSOCIATION OF STATE PROBATION OFFICERS. THE BILL FITZGERALD SUPPORTERS WILL CONTINUE TO STAY UNDER HIS SKIRT AND THE "DON'T WANT TO GET INVOLVED" ARE CLOSE TO RETIREMENT AND WILL SOON LEAVE. THE YOUNG OFFICERS WILL BENEFIT FROM ALL OF THE BATTLES AND WILL UNDERSTAND 'COMMUNICATION"

Anonymous said...

All this is a bunch of crap. communication, yadda, yadda, yadda. I've been around this place for many years and the fact remains that the people in the courthouse (Judges) dont give a damn about the officers. Never have, Never will. They've treated us like crap, talked down to us in open court, despite us working hard with the citizens of SA. Its evident there's noone in the dept with the huevos to stand up for the officers. If we did, we'd be in heaven. All this banter is a losing cause. Fact of the matter is, unless your willing to kiss some major ass, you will never get anywhere.....

Anonymous said...

THE LAST POST IS CORRECT BUT COMMUNICATION IS A MAJOR PROBLEM ALSO. EMPLOYEES NEED TO STAY TOGETHER -THERE WILL ALWAYS BE IN-FIGHTING AND PERSONAL AGENDAS BUT THERE IS A GREATER GOOD. WHEN YOU UNITE YOU DRAW POWER IN NUMBERS AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE A VOICE FOR THOSE JUDGES WHO CONTINUE TO IGNORE AND MIS-TREAT US.

Anonymous said...

***********************************Let's see, everyone posts anonymously on this site.
*********************************** CONCLUSION: There are people scared to say what they really feel due to the retalitory nature of the chief AND the others who are afraid of the resulting change and their loss of perks if chief is fired. Draw your own conclusion, I have mine!

Virginia P said...

I just recently moved to this county and am working on a researh paper for my politics class. My father was a probation officer for 10 years before retiring in Tom Green County. I am very proud of my father. He stood up for what was right. I would love to see the same thing happen in this situation.

These offices belong to the people and PO's are just as much a part of the people as anyone else is. 500 PO's... what a voice would be in your number with family and friends rallying at your side!

God bless you and lead you in your choice to unionize or not unionize. Act in faith and He will take you to and through where you are supposed to be, just don't forget to get on the boat before you drown!

And it's true... if you don't put this man in his place now, you will have a harder battle till he is actually gone. The question is... who would you rather see leave him or you. Employees don't tend to stay around or do as well when they are not happy. We want probations officers that are going to work well for the people. One may think they serve the probationers, but they really serve everyone. They work to help these probationers learn a new way of life or send them up the road. A probation officers job can be stressful and the workloads, I can only imagine, remain ridiculously high. Where are the supporters of the PO's?

Best to you... I will be tracking your progress.

Anonymous said...

What's happening in Bexar Co is symbolic of the evolution of adult probation in Texas. Dallas Co. PO's organized a union four years ago to address many of the same issues that face PO's in San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth, and everywhere else in Texas. To the casual observer, the unionization of probation officers seems like a natural response to low wages, high workloads, and overall poor treatment by management, but the problem really goes beyond the traditional struggle over wages and working conditions. A Probation Department in Texas is this "thing" created by the state legislature that is neither a municipal, county or state department. The law enables the State District Judges to hire a probation director, who then serves at the pleasure of the judges. The problem is that the judges generally prefer to have nothing to do with the probation department after a director is hired. Probation directors in Texas can easily convince themselves that they are gods because they can rule with absolute authority, can target any employee who voices a critical opinion, and can operate without accountability. When the director of Dallas County Probation, became such a legend in his own mind that he could do whatever, whenever he wanted, the Probation Officer's union took him out. The state district judges tried replacing the deposed megalomaniac director with his long term assistant director, who represented no change in the culture of the organization. The PO's union took him out as well. Finally, before last November's election, Dallas Co. PO's took to the streets and campaigned against the State District Judges who displayed an almost total lack of regard for probation employees. All of the judges targeted by the probation employees'union lost their re-election bids. I predict the same will happen in San Antonio and throughout Texas if the judges fail to take an active role in managing probation, which means holding directors accountable.

Anonymous said...

To all of those who are complaining about their job at adult probation, all I have to say to you is that Bexar County Juvenile Probation is always hiring and the starting pay is higher and you will get treated like an adult. I made the move along with plenty of other officers from adult, and we could not be happier.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the same thing Dallas County Probation Officers went through a few years ago. We have formed a Union with the USWA Local #9487. The director then decided to resign. We had to take legal action to get our fees deducted from our paychecks. It was well worth it.
We now have an Asst.Director who is married to an ex-con who did time for trying to murder his wife. We have many officers that are looking at leaving to teach. We have not seen a raise in several years, but the Admin. can afford to hire Ph.D's to tell us what we do wrong. I say, If you want to implement new programs, first, you must make sure your line staff is happy.
The Union has helped us and continues to be a factor that Admin. is forced to deal with.
Good Luck..

Anonymous said...

From a person that deals with some people in your organization....I am so happy for you all.I think you have finally started feeling what the average Joe feels when he walks into your offices.I personally have never had that misfortune for myself.However I have seen the power trips from a third party point of view.Maybe next time you think about making a rediculas request from one of your probationers you may think of this.The next time you want to be the bully at the pulpit...remember it sucks to be bullied.I am sure that there are good people in your system....but I have not seen them.So although what is being done to you may be wrong and hurtful...it is no worse then I have seen you do to society.Like I tell those that leave your buildings,head hung low,disgrunttled by the lack of humanity from across the board.....That's justice for ya

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Anonymous said...

I am appreciative of this blog.I was looking for information regarding of how resolve my current issue with Bexar County probation.

Here is my spill

In 2007 (feb) i took a plea bargin and recieved 2 years probation on a simple possesion of a controlled substance/dangerous drug of less than a gram. After doing my community service and reporting every time that they asked me to, the probation officer in Comal county in which was "monitoring" me stated that he would put in for my probation to be terminated early because there was nothing more that i had to do other than pay my fees. However since i couldd not affford to pay them based on my income he would make that known and that it would be waived. I asked if there was anything further that i need to do and he said that if there is that he would let me know and that he would call me if i needed to come back in. A few months went by and he never called or got in touch with me. I then planned my move to here in Nashville.

Long story short... a warrant was issued in October 2007 (which i was still living right next door to the office) for a MTR and FTA. I just found out about this in 2009 when i was going into Canada for work. New york court arrested me and held me for two weeks stating that the case was dropped.

I now see that the warrant is still there but non extraditable now. i called Bexar county to resolve this and was first told by the probation officer handling the case that he would terminate it unsatifactory and that it was not a big deal. I then get a call from his manager confirming it. I was happy and was finally past this or so, i thought. The same manager calls me back a week later and starts in on me saying what am i going to do about this 4,999 dollars that they say that i owe in fees that i never paid. I was appalled and said that the agreement was that you were going to terminate the probation and warrant as unsatifactory. He said well that is not going to happen now. We are going to extradite you and put you in jail for up to two years if you dont at least pay 2500 dollars of this fees. He said that he was going to the judge and have him decide. I got a call the other day sayong that the judge ordered that i pay the 2500 just to have the warrant pulled. When i asked about the termination, they said that the judge would have to decide after he recieves the payment.