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Pinal County Deputies Association gains meet and confer rights

(Posted: Dec. 15, 2008)

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Dec. 10 allowing deputies, detention officers, dispatchers, ID techs and evidence techs to negotiate with the County on pay, benefits and working conditions.

The Pinal County Deputies Association, organized in 1997, has been working toward achieving meet and confer rights since its inception. Treasurer Aubrey Keck says that as the group’s membership is celebrating the victory, leaders are using the momentum to sign up additional members. Prior to last week’s news, the Association had more than 60 percent of the eligible officers in the department. During a membership drive last week, almost 40 more officers joined.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help of Sheriff Chris Vasquez, AZCOPS and former NCPSO Director John Burpo,” Keck said.

“The Sheriff was instrumental in opening the door for us with the Board of Supervisors. He told them it was the right thing to do, and they listened,” Keck said. Prior to the adoption of the ordinance, officers had an MOU with the Sheriff, which worked well for both sides. The Sheriff used that experience to convince the Supervisors that there was nothing to fear from meet and confer. Leaders of the Association then worked behind the scenes to address the concerns of individual supervisors.

Keck and AZCOPS Chief of Staff Tim Clark, who helped enroll new members into the groups outside the Sheriff’s Department last week, said Burpo was the “brain” behind the initiative to gain meet and confer. “He listened to the members’ concerns, then guided them toward this negotiating tool as a positive solution,” Clark said.

The meet and confer ordinance takes effect Jan. 10.

Pinal County is the second deputy sheriffs organization to gain meet and confer rights in Arizona.

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