Jim Unland

San Jose Police Academy Retention War Takes Inevitable Next Step

San Jose City Manager Debra Figone decided last week to end the suspense and remove “acting” from Larry Esquivel’s title as police chief, setting up a dramatic showdown. Not between cops and City Hall, though. An arsenal of memos over how to keep graduates of the police academy from jumping ship were fired off Tuesday. Just last week, it was widely reported that up to 17 cadets are taking their talents to different law enforcement agencies, leaving the city out about $2.9 million in training costs. On one side of the memo melee stands Sam Liccardo, armed with what he calls a “carrot and a stick.” On other other side stand Madison Nguyen and Johnny Khamis, carrying what they call a “first five” initiative. And in the middle, the police union is at the ready to shoot down both ideas.


Police Academy Exodus Could Cost $2.9 Million; POA Asks Retirees to Refuse Jobs

Nearly half the class that graduated from the San Jose Police Academy a few weeks ago plans to leave for other departments, according to union leaders. And until the city offers a better disability pension plan to new police recruits, the Police Officers Association will keep encouraging cadets to find work elsewhere. On the opposite side of the experience spectrum, the POA is also telling retired officers to turn down jobs that would involve doing background checks on prospective officers.


Leadership Transition Continues with City Manager Debra Figone’s Retirement

San Jose City Manager Debra Figone announced this week she will retire after overseeing city operations for six years. Her tenure, which will come to an end in December, has marked some of the most difficult years in the city’s history, as the City Council enacted layoffs and pay cuts to cope with historic budget deficits. Her departure will likely leave the city with an interim city manager, police chief and fire chief, all while the 2014 mayoral race is in full swing.


Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel Caught in Labor Crossfire

Breaking up is hard to do. Breaking up a fight between the San Jose police union and City Hall could be damn near impossible. In what appeared to be an effort to mend fences and remind people who’s the boss, Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel recently sent an email this week to his command staff—roughly 50 deputy police chiefs, lieutenants and captains—scolding them for signing on to a letter critical of the city recent actions involving labor negotiations.


Police, City to Debate Pensions at Public Arbitration Hearing

UPDATE: The city of San Jose came to an agreement on tier-2 retirement benefits with the POlice Officers Association on Thursday afternoon, avoiding Friday’s arbitration hearing.

San Jose faces a $2.9 billion unfunded liability in pension and retiree healthcare costs. The figure is mind-boggling. The city still has to figure out how to afford those unfunded obligations. But that’s another story for another time. On Friday morning, the public—for the first time—will have a chance to sit in on arbitration hearings that have been held previously behind closed doors, when the city negotiators sits across the table from San Jose’s police union.

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POA Wants What’s Best for Members; Helps Facilitate SJPD Exodus

San Jose’s police union leadership says it wants what’s best for its members. But how many members will be left if the Police Officer Association keeps on hosting other departments’ recruiters in its headquarters? In an ad in Sunday’s Mercury News, the Austin Police Department announced it was hosting two recruiting sessions in San Jose. After stopping by The National Hispanic University on Tuesday morning, the Texans moseyed over to the POA shop to hold court for three afternoon hours.

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Who Wasted the Most Campaign Money in 2012? Well, a Lot of People

The deadline for semi-annual campaign disclosure forms covering the last half of 2012 came due last week. The documents provide a clearer picture of how winning and losing candidates raised money and how they spent it—or misspent it—in the final weeks of the campaign. We also tracked a number of political action committees (PACs). The most interesting findings: How much money was wasted in trying to defeat Councilmember Rose Herrera, a potential quid pro quo between the ChamberPAC and a person quoted in its ballot statement against minimum wage, and hangover debt for losing candidates Jimmy Nguyen and Robert Braunstein.

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Police Union Contender Calls it Quits

The San Jose Police Department exodus continues unabated, with SJPD officer and former police union presidential candidate Jon Baker tallying the total at 18 resignations just this month. The Police Officers Association pegs the number at 23. Surprisingly, Baker is one of those resignations, as he will transfer to the Colma PD and will start there next week.


POA President Fires Back at Critics

Jim Unland looked exhausted on election night. But that fatigue didn’t last long after the Mercury News reported over the weekend that an upstart member of the police union named Jon Baker was questioning Unland’s leadership of the Police Officers Association.

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POA No Confidence Vote Doesn’t Pass

The Police Officers Association did not pass a vote of no confidence Tuesday regarding the performance of San Jose Police Department Chief Chris Moore. That doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy, according to a news release sent out by the police union. “The fact that the POA did not pass a vote of no confidence at this time should not be misinterpreted as a vote of confidence in the Chief or the politicians at City Hall,” said the police union news release.

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Downtown Businesses Want Security Patrol

Part of a new plan by the business community to rebrand downtown is to staff the city’s core with two patrolling officers. However, how these security guards will be paid has kicked off a new fight between police and city officials.

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Beattie, Lopez Back to Work

George Beattie surprised some folks last November when he resigned from his post as president of San Jose’s police union. He surprised some more people a short time later when he then withdrew his retirement papers.


POA to Vote on Extending Pay Cut

A day after the City Council decided to go to the ballot box in June for pension reform, the police union signed a tentative agreement with the city of San Jose to extend a 10-percent pay cut through the 2012-13 fiscal year. The agreement will need to be ratified by the Police Officers Association membership. If that is achieved, the POA expects the deal to save the city $25 million.


POA President George Beattie Resigns

With many people rushing off for Thanksgiving last week, the Police Officers Association came out with a surprising announcement that George Beattie, the union president, was retiring from his POA position. Beattie, a lieutenant with the San Jose Police Department, has never been a fan of the media, so he didn’t give an interview in the Mercury News’ report. But his successor, Sgt. Jim Unland, who was previously vice president of the POA, was quoted as saying that negotiations with the city over pension reform are still proceeding “one day at a time.”