Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Protecting Members from Management

A Coup D’etat by any Other Name
by
Ken Crane

It might surprise you to know that your Union was recently the focus of a failed hostile takeover by an outside organization.  The hell you say!?  The hell I say indeed, allow me to explain.

The first question we must ask ourselves is who would want to manipulate and interfere with your association’s business and why?  To answer this question we need to go back to when your current PLEA Board took office a little over a year ago.  At election time the motto was and still is “It’s all about the members.”  The platform consisted of three key elements: 1. Aggressive representation, 2. Maintaining positive partnerships, and 3. Holding police management publicly accountable.  It’s that last one that can get people in police management really ticked off.

There’s no question that PLEA has seen some of it’s highest approval ratings to date. The consistent feedback that we receive from officers and supervisors alike confirms this.  “You guys are doing a great job,” “Keep up the good work,” “Keep up the fight,” “We appreciate what you are doing,” “Keep holding their (management’s) feet to the fire,” and ”We finally have a real Union” are just a few of the many comments we hear on a regular basis.  Comments like these combined with the fact that our membership numbers have never been higher clearly indicate that we are moving in the right direction and doing right by the members.

After taking office, your PLEA Board did exactly what they said they were going to do.  One member described it best when he said, ”You guys are really kicking ass and taking names.”  This is a formal labor term used to describe holding police management accountable for poor policies.   The problem is that those in police management can only handle so much accountability, then, by God, something’s got to be done.

This is where the leadership of PPSLA comes in to play.  Lieutenants Mark Hafkey and Dave Adams recently requested a private meeting with Dave Dager, PLEA’s Chairman of the Board.  The purpose of the meeting was to try to manipulate Dave into running for the position of PLEA President.  The hell you say!?  The hell I say indeed.  But wait, there’s more.  Dave was told that if he would run for PLEA President that PPSLA would make sure that he had financial backing, staff support, and the assistance of a PR firm.  Turnkey operation.  All we need you to do is throw your hat in the ring and we’ll take care of the rest.  Kind of like China or Russia trying to install a puppet government in a third world country.  Why would PPSLA think that PLEA needs a new President when things are running so well unless the purpose is to further their own interests?

PPSLA has been wrong and silent on numerous issues.  They were wrong on the immigration issue. They were silent on the rifle issue.  They were silent on the knit watch cap issue.  They were wrong when they took an active part in attacking PLEA and PLEA Treasurer Joe Clure during the recent pension board election which resulted in them losing the services of their own attorney Mike Napier who is without question one of the most skilled and experienced labor attorneys in the state.  They were supportive of ‘Jack Pot DROP’, which the city just recently said was the wrong thing to do.  They were disastrously wrong when they grossly underestimated the character and loyalty of PLEA’s Chairman of the Board, Dave Dager.  What PPSLA is vocal about is their association’s philosophy: “Our job is to support the policy makers.”  That philosophy is O.K. until the policy makers are wrong.  Blind obedience to flawed policies isn’t loyalty, it’s called trading truth.

PPSLA has brought this philosophy into the state Arizona Police Association (APA) group of which PLEA is a fellow member.  When sensitive and internal APA police labor strategies, endorsements and discussions make their way out to the mailboxes of the public and into the offices of the policy makers, one must question the wisdom of allowing a police management philosophy to coexist in a police labor group.  PLEA has great concerns that the Public Safety Manager has a seat at the table in the form of PPSLA.  PLEA is seeking a solution to the problem through an APA bylaw revision defining who can (and cannot) be an active voting member of the APA.  We believe that PPSLA has no business running or attempting to run PLEA or compromising the APA.  When you live in an organization that has weak standards, it’s easy to assume that others will be the same way.

This is what sets us apart.  We don’t believe in blind obedience.  Your Association refuses to trade truth and this is where management accountability comes into play.  PPSLA’s power play blew up in their face leaving the two lieutenants looking like Wiley Coyote in a roadrunner cartoon right after being on the wrong end of a dynamite blast.  These inept and clumsy actions appear to be the mark of desperate managers looking for shortcut solutions to problems they don’t know how to solve.

Apparently, Lieutenants Hafkey and Adams think that the direction PLEA is receiving from you, the members, is flawed and that they, more than you, know what’s best for your Association.

Staying true to the philosophies that were laid down at the outset is what has kept your Association on track. We are here to put the members first.  We have demonstrated on numerous occasions that we can work cooperatively with management to achieve objectives important to the members.  What we won’t do is climb in bed with them.  Anyone who has heard us on TV, or radio, read the website, newspapers, or the RECAP knows that we’re out front fighting for the members.  When you go head to head with management long enough, you’re going to make some enemies and this latest incident proves it.

At this point in time, your attorneys are involved and charges are being brought against the Department for interfering in Union activities when their “policy supporters” (managers) attempted to influence the internal election process of PLEA.

Be sure to let Lieutenants Mark Hafkey and Dave Adams know how much you appreciate their concern for manipulation of PLEA.

CLICK HERE to read a copy of the Unfair Labor Practice being filed by PLEA against the Police Department.