What’s the Problem with Pay Jobs and the Santa Clara Co. Sheriff?

I’ve had a few comments and messages directed at me over the Pay Jobs blog… concerns that the DSA is either trying to get rid of the program or play political chicken with it.

From the sources I’ve talked to over time, you couldn’t be further from the truth and I want to try to clarify that to some degree. I have never heard anyone say they want to use Pay Jobs simply to challenge the sheriff. There would be no value in that for anyone.

The DSA wants a Pay Jobs agreement that protects you better. That holds your interests at particularly if you are injured. To be fair and realistic, while the DSA pushes the issue forward in support of protecting you, there is no telling what the sheriff will try to do. She’s a wild card, she feels she can do whatever she wants without regard to reason, safety or the law. You know, the old “I don’t answer to you” ego syndrome I discussed elsewhere. We all know this is a risk. But we also all know, none of us are guaranteed overtime or pay jobs either. The sheriff could theoretically refuse all private inquiries and requests, or hire enough deputies to do the jobs that need to be done. Ultimately though, it’s in everyone’s best interest, and the easiest of the possible solutions, to come too an agreement that will satisfy the needs Pay Jobs fills all while protecting your investment in your career and future.

It’s a complex problem with a lot of issues to address, but I’m going to put a portion of the issue that can directly impact you into a real world context here.  The problem is much more than just below, and I recommend you reach out to your DSA for more explicit facts and other ways this affects you.

While you are on Pay Jobs, the sheriff considers you off-duty. You are acting in the role of a deputy, writing reports, making arrests, et al, but she is saying you’re on your time — even though you’ve been hired by another office, or perhaps even the sheriff’s office.  However, even though you are acting with the full power of your job as a deputy, you are not working with the protection of your benefits.  You don’t get medical retirement or on-duty worker’s comp when you’re injured on your time.

So what happens when what happened to this officer working a Pay Job (defined as a secondary job there) happens to you? Or if a recent rumor that she would use reserve officers — reserve or full time deputy, what if you’re this guy?

The last thing you want to have to worry about is fighting for your full workman’s comp, but under the current agreement, that’s exactly what you very easily may end up doing from your hospital bed.

If you are forced to retire from the injury, there’s no telling under the current agreement how long you end up fighting for your full industrial medical pension.

I don’t even want to consider the implications if you don’t survive the incident.  Do you?

When a drunk decides during the 4th quarter he’s going to take you on at the next 49er’s game you work and drops you down the stairs and you’re 8 months off with a major injury? Can you afford that if you’re considered off duty for workman’s comp purposes?

If you’re forced to retire can you afford to lose a significant chunk of your pension because you were on a Pay Job?

Add insult to the injury if your working an assignment as a Pay Job that should be filled by an on duty deputy like concert events at Hidden Villa for Los Altos Hills because they chose to not include the time in their contract with the sheriff to save money and now you’re laying on the ground with an injury, and off-duty.

Teenagers can afford to believe they’re invincible. Men and women with a family to support and bills to pay don’t have that luxury — they have to plan ahead the best they can, especially in a job like law enforcement. Consider this is part of that planning.