HDSP Meet and Confer meeting 6-17-2020
So as a matter of housekeeping, before the meeting started, there were 4 representatives from AFSCME present, Harry Schiff 4041 President, Sgt. Sherrie Kassebaum President Corrections South, SC/O James Cook, and C/O Michael Martinez. Prior to beginning the meeting, Mr. Schiff made a statement to the effect that the presence of C/O Lunkwitz, SC/O Ashcraft, and C/O Allen-Rickensecker was inappropriate and not permitted due to an agreement between AFSCME and the Director of the NDOC. His contention that only AFSCME representatives were allowed to participate in this type of meeting due to their designation as the exclusive bargaining representative was met by Warden Calvin Johnson stating they (us officers) are allowed to stay and they will stay. Mr. Schiff then stated that he would not participate in the meeting and he urged his brothers not to participate as well to avoid setting a precedent for these meetings. I addressed Mr. Schiff by stating that we(officers) do not care about union affiliation or who gets the credit for anything that happens at the meeting, but as officers we have a right to be here and participate in this meeting. Mr. Schiff responded that only 8 officers could be present. I stated there are not 8 officers here so there shouldn't be a problem. I said that you represent officers and it should not matter who is here trying to make things better for officers. He maintained his position and all 4 representatives from AFSCME decided to walk out of the meeting. The meeting then began and was recorded by the wardens secretary. We discussed the topic of range in several stages. First, none of the administration want to lose a single officer over the new range standards, this was first stated by AW Bean and then echoed by AW Oliver and Warden Johnson. Accordingly, the qualification numbers have been greatly improved from the initial timed scores. The added training and opportunity to practice with live ammo on the course of fire has been essential in improving these numbers. They have also added the opportunity of Officers bringing 50 rounds to practice with prior to a second shoot and 200 rounds prior to the 3rd shoot. If an officer qualifies during any of the practice runs, they are deemed to have qualified. This seems drastically improved by comparison to past range qualification and training. We all added input that the NDOC cannot stop here and they need to continue to expand training opportunities for range to include practice time year round and during off duty time. These proposals will be reviewed and addressed moving forward. This transitioned into the next topic which is qualifying with our off duty weapon in order to meet the preference of our department that we qualify twice a year with our off duty weapons for off duty carry both to work and during time off. We do need to first, get the approval for full time range masters and off duty range training before this can come to fruition. These proposals are also being reviewed and worked on by administration as well as range staff. This transitioned into the carry of off duty weapons and storage in our vehicles to which an email was just sent out requesting AR input prior to approval and a new version being signed and issued for AR 425. We would like to compile any ideas and suggestions for the revision of this AR, but also feel free to submit your own ideas through the DOC 049 form that is attached to the email. The topic of FAM officers was discussed in regard to how they are being utilized and what the policy dictates they are allowed to do. There seems to be some discrepancy between how the FAM's are to be assigned and how they are actually being assigned. During non lock down periods they are to be assigne das floor 3 positions and during lock downs they were approved to be assigned as floor 2 positions. The question of FAM's performing Seg escorts and other duties was raised and the policy for FAM's is to be addressed by the AW's for instruction to the LT's and Sgt's. FAM officers are also being issued uniforms with badges already on them. This is incorrect as they are not sworn peace officers and therefore should not be displaying a badge on their uniforms. The representative from HR is going to address this with PI to ensure that they start producing uniforms that will be issued with no badges to FAM officers. The issue of stab vests was discussed briefly as the Warden has proposed for the issuance of stab vests in line with the Ely transition. In the interim, staff are allowed to purchase their own stab vests and wear them on the yard, provided that their are no large unnecessary insignias on the vests, i.e. Punisher logo. Warden Johnson did express that he urges all officers to ensure that the stab vests they purchase are indeed stab proof and rated to stop an edged weapon. The subject of N95 masks was discussed and stated that if needed for medical purposes they will be provided to staff. There is also an abundance of the masks that have been issued to staff and inmates, if you need a mask it will be provided. The discussion of fundraisers was addressed and staff are permitted to raise funds for purchase of equipment or other necessary items to perform our duties. The EBC is willing to assist in putting on these types of events. Overtime was discussed on several levels. Voluntary overtime was addressed as their have been many complaints that the same officers continue to get overtime while other officers cannot get hired. A proposal I made a month ago was to hire by seniority. Then once hired your name goes to the bottom of the overtime list. Every time you work or are offered overtime, you would be moved to the bottom of the list. this would ensure that everyone who wants to work overtime will be given a chance to work one before anyone can work 2 shift of overtime. However it should be noted that if you do not sign up or refuse a certain assignment, you will not have a legitimate gripe. By this rationale, everyone will get a fair shot and it will not be subject to when you sign up, thus eliminating the race to be first on the list. We will see if this is put into motion, but Warden Johnson is very familiar with this type of system and seemed to support this move as this is similar to what the BOP does. As far as mandatory overtime is concerned the complaint that officers are being mandated 5 hours before their shift is over and then as their shift ends they are being told they do not need to stay. The unreasonable aspect of this is that officers are not being moved to the bottom of the mandate list, thus creating a situation where officers are mandated 3 times in two weeks. We proposed that an officer who gets mandated and then told to go home has already made plans for child care, etc. and should therefore be moved to the bottom of the mandate list. This was unanimously agreed upon and supervisors will be instructed to immediately start this practice. If you get mandated 4 hours before the end of your shift and 5 minutes later a supervisor made a mistake and tells you you are no longer mandated, this will not count as a mandate. Furthermore, the idea of late relief counting as a mandatory overtime was discussed and upon learning that the policy currently states 2 hours qualify as a mandatory, Warden Johnson said that's not reasonable, it should be 15 minutes. So moving forward if you are relieved 15 minutes late or more, you will be moved to the bottom of the list. Hazardous duty pay was on the agenda however the Warden and HDSP administration do not have the authority to enact hazard pay as this needs to be approved through the legislature. Furloughs were discussed and each officer is going to be scheduled a furlough day in conjunction with their RDO's. These days will not be moved upon request as it is labor intensive to move the pieces around to facilitate this. While we did not agree entirely with this, it is understandable to a degree and to their credit they made a solid effort to make these days line up with RDOs. HR is now in charge of training as of last week and the topic of training turned into an overall theme throughout the meeting. They want us to receive more training as well as supervisors. The topic of uniform training and policy standards was addressed, to which everyone agreed this should be the direction taken by the department. According to HR, Christina Leathers is on board and wants this to be the new direction of the NDOC. Seniors performing acts that supervisors are supposed to carry out was also discussed and Warden Johnson agrees that Supervisors, i.e. Lt's and Sgt's should be the ones to mandatory officers for overtime. The policy on exactly what is supposed to be done by supervisors will be reviewed and addressed with all supervisors. Lastly, the topic of officers being propelled on was discussed. I took this opportunity to address the handling of this type of incident to include officers uniforms being put into paper evidence bags and secured into the evidence locker, officer clean up kits which FOP is going to work with the EBC on putting together kits to include shorts/sweats, t-shirts, soap, flip flops, and a towel so that officers will have the opportunity to clean up and wear clean clothes home. There is also the matter of officers being reimbursed for their uniform, which is required by law. The form to accomplish this will be made available to officers either in the kits or by the supervisors. Lastly, the topic of inmates and officers being tested was discussed and the protocol is still in place where an inmate will be tested for a year and an officer will also be tested for a year as well as being notified if there is an adverse result. This was a very constructive meeting in my opinion. Thank you to those who participated as well as those who voiced concerns to us so that we could address them with the administration. Comment below and let us know what your thoughts are, we are always looking to improve and if we are on the right track, that’s also nice to know. Ashcraft will make this a better place to work before he leaves!!