On Tuesday April 17, 2012, PLEA President Joe Clure along with PLEA Treasurer Will Buividas went out to Estrella Mountain Precinct to attend a quarterly communications meeting to be held at the precinct.
PLEA doesn’t normally make it a point to attend precinct communications meetings however, we had been previously contacted by concerned members about work conditions in the precinct; namely an increasingly oppressive work environment being created by Commander Mike Parra.
PLEA, at the request of concerned officers, went to the precinct to attend the meeting, meet with members, and just listen to the concerns being voiced. Prior to the meeting, Joe Clure and Will Buividas met with Commander Parra in his office and were promptly told that they would not be allowed to attend the meeting. They were told it was just a small meeting to discuss cantina issues (we knew this to be an inaccurate statement [CLICK HERE] to read the e-mail sent out to precinct personnel). A precinct Lt. stuck his head in the door to let the Commander know that they were ready and there was a full house. Joe Clure inquired of the Lt. what he meant by a full house and was told 30 officers.
Joe and Will, being trained observers, knew that 30 officers had not assembled to decide on whether the cantina should stock, Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, or Ho-Ho’s. Another clue that problems were brewing was that a meeting scheduled to be held in the Commander’s office had to be moved to the much larger community meeting room off of the lobby. In the discussion that occurred in the next few minutes, Will mentioned that maybe their presence would help out and went on to say that in the spirit of good labor relations they should be allowed to attend. Will then explained that Chief Robinson [Parra’s Boss] had never refused them attendance at other meetings in the past. Cdr. Parra jumped to his feet as if a bucket of cold water had been thrown on him, accused Will of insulting him, and ordered both Will and Joe out of the precinct.
On the way out, Will and Joe stopped into the meeting room located in the lobby area of the precinct. They met and spoke with some more officers who expressed a desire to have them present at the meeting so they decided to sit in.
Cdr. Parra then tried to order Clure and Buividas to leave the precinct. Joe explained that they were there to represent the interests of PLEA members that had requested their presence. After some more “will too, will not” exchanges, the Commander declared the meeting to be over before it had even started.
The Commander, before going back into the precinct, threw out one last threat. He told Clure and Buividas that he would be calling PSB to bring them up on charges of insubordination. We’re not quite sure how a union official that is considered to be the same rank as the person they are interacting with can be insubordinate. Maybe Commander Parra knows something we don’t. We heard that the next day he had instructed a supervisor in the precinct to get the names and serial numbers of all who were in the meeting for the investigation that was soon to come.
There is a name for the type of tactics used by Commander Parra. His methods don’t fall within the realm of management or leadership. We’ve all run into people like this at one point in our life or another. All of us can think of someone we know who delights in pushing peoples buttons or controlling others through threats, intimidation, coercion or other undesirable methods. Many of us ran into people like this in grade school or on the playground. They were called bullies.
To the officers in 300, watch your six, call if you have issues, and rest assured that PLEA will not tolerate abuse of its members.