Hello to the Membership and potential membership of the Arizona Corrections Association,
My name is Clinton Roberts and I am the current Executive President of the Arizona Corrections Association. I am a Correctional Officer II at the Lewis prison. I have been with Arizona DOC for over twelve years and have worked every custody level. I have been involved with ACA since its inception and continue to hold to the values of the organization along with the commitment of fiscal responsibility with membership money.
Several members have asked “What is ACA doing?” Well, I can tell you that we are hard at work for our members, providing representation for numerous grievances, internal investigations, lobbying on our members behalf and doing press releases. I can also tell you what we have successfully completed just recently on behalf of our members.
Retirement– I was present during the CORP Reform meetings with now former Senator Debbie Lesko. I was the only one of several labor organizations, and you know who they are, that actually fought for our correctional officers and said “NO”. No other organization stood up for our officers. As you know or have heard, the ACA membership doesn’t like the plan and opposes a 401(a). I provided numerous facts regarding the 20 to 25 years proposal and advised against the move to a 401(a), citing numerous detriments for our officers; however, my cries fell on deaf ears and the other organizations blindly followed Lesko. The change to the 401(a) plan is a disaster to our officers and our retirement system. I specifically stated, “Why change it?” As you know, we have Deferred Comp thru Nationwide. We do not need to waste the money to set up a 401(a) plan when we need CORP retirement and we already have Deferred Comp whereby the Director already matches contributions per policy. When Lesko stated, “if this passes we can look at giving raises next year” the other organizations liaison blindly believed Lesko and foolishly stated “We like it!” What the organization failed to recognize is first, raises on not determined upon a 401(a) plan, and second Ms. Lesko made the same statement/promise to a police organization which never saw their raise. Since I was familiar with the antics of Ms. Lesko and her mission to destroy pensions in Arizona, I burst out with a sigh, rolled my eyes, slapped my hand on the table, and then stared at the other organization’s liaison in unbelief. Interestingly, this same person knew what they had done and refused to look in my direction for the remainder of the meeting. It’s alarming how easily the other organization threw a “Haill Mary” with our retirement for a veiled promise. It’s curious that this organization threw away all the hard work that this same organization fought so hard for almost 30 years ago. They just threw it away without thinking of the impact it would have on you and me. What is telling is that I tried to meet with and work with this organization’s state wide person prior to this final meeting with Debbie Lesko, with no avail. To have this happen, to sell out the pension for a promise of a raise is irresponsible, foolish and absurd. With the new plan taking affect soon ACA and APA are keeping a close eye on the CORP system. We feel that the new “Tier Three” will cost more money in the end. You need to know that it was only the ACA that fought for you, for your pension/retirement.
Retention- Wallace Davis was involved with the “A 3 COII Retention Committee”. Many positive things came out of that committee and we are excited to see the positive changes due to his hard work.
Meet and Confers– In the last Meet and Confer process, all organizations asked about raises. However, you can read the minutes posted by the department and see who’s questions really were more to the point on how to find monies for raises. Can you guess who? Umm? Yes, the only organization actually fighting for you, and that would be the ACA.
What we need from you- If you want us to continue to fight for you, you need to 1.) Sign up, 2.) Get your co-workers to sign up, and 3.) Register to vote! You as the membership are our voice. You give us the voice with the legislators. You are the power to get better working conditions. You are the clout to ask for better pay. Membership helps everyone in the organization and DOC. We need your voice.
Registering to vote is the next step. The Arizona Police Association, and our lobbyist, Mike Williams and Associates; which are our people at the capital, have engaged in many debates pertaining to Law Enforcement and Corrections. It is important that legislators know we vote! You do have a say and you do have the ability to make Corrections a better working department. But it takes your vote to convince the Legislator that you mean business. If you don’t vote or are not registered to vote the Legislator doesn’t hear your pleas for help, they only hear from constituents. If you want to change Corrections, register to vote and Vote! Before an election we provide our membership with a list of candidates that understand our concerns and want to help us made DOC a better place to work. These candidates, if elected can help you, but you have to vote.
In conclusion, the other organizations are trying to outdo each other fighting internally thinking small and forgetting the bigger picture – You. ACA is concerned about you – our members and we have always maintained a member first mentality. We are so encouraged to have our faithful members that have stuck with us through thick and thin and have supported us so we can in turn support them. Please understand that it is not our intention to outdo any other organizations, we know we do better and we provide better support and legal coverage. ACA is doing what ACA does. If that gets the other organizations to do something then that helps us all. All ACA Board Member have the ACA memberships’ best interest in mind. We are not going anywhere and will not stop working for you.
Executive President – Arizona Corrections Association