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Bloviating Zeppelin: That Other Shoe?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

That Other Shoe?

It came down and dropped on me, Saturday afternoon, July 11th.

I checked the voicemail on my work cell phone (repossessed at the end of this month) and received the info I dreaded and, yet, suspected was coming.

I just didn't quite suspect it would come with the various proscriptions attached.

I lost my position at work.

Persons with less seniority than me were kept; I was told to leave. In terms of sergeants, I have the most seniority of all four in the division. Apparently that held little water. In overall division seniority, I have more than the other three sergeants. Apparently that held little water. And in the department, if I were demoted from sergeant to deputy, I would be number three in the entire department. Apparently that held little water.

Additionally, I was told that I do not have "bumping" rights in the division.

A steaming helping of "politics," anyone?

Unfortunately, now glaringly-obvious, over the years in the division, in retrospect, I was likely considered an "obstructionist." I did not immediately "buy off" on each and every money-losing and/or hare-brained scheme in the Training Division and -- obviously -- those around and above me have memories. I made some -- ahem -- public statements in various meetings that I suppose could be construed to be, uh, well, not particularly supportive.

Further, I ruffled feathers when I wrote, in Blogger (, of a particularly egregious and dangerous driving act performed in public by a law enforcement officer. This blog was sent to my EVOC instructors. Rather than admit they had a problem in the street, the union president called our Sheriff and had my blog shut down. When the Sheriff gets involved personally, you've drawn attention. So, rather than solve the problem, the illuminator of the problem -- me -- was silenced.

I guess, in consideration, I really shouldn't be quite shocked. I brought all of this down upon myself by questioning practices, pointing out reality, and not being completely congruent with political forces.

And, in reflection, I wouldn't have done anything differently; I wouldn't change a thing.

All along, I supported my troops. All along, I provided material to my managers when I believed their power was being challenged or usurped. Some recognized it; some did not.

I cannot complain when my position is eliminated; I can complain, however, when -- in consideration of seniority -- I am not allowed to "bump" persons in the division with lesser seniority and stay in Training.

Training is the cornerstone and the foundation of any good law enforcement department.

When you pull that cornerstone, when you diminish and corrupt that foundation -- sooner or later, you will pay the price.

Overall, I will survive. I know that.

My wife is taking three furlough (unpaid) days per month from the State of Fornicalia. Additionally, her pay was cut another 5% last Thursday. That's a 25% cut in pay for her. I've lost my 12% training pay and my position. I'll likely wind up in the jails somewhere.

But: I still have a job -- with 30 years under my belt. She still has a job. 300 On-Call deputies were eliminated in my department. 209 full-time deputies were laid off.

How about you? Do you have your job? Were you laid off, suffered a reduction in pay, work hours, job conditions?

It's time, ladies and gentlemen, to stick TOGETHER as AMERICANS.

Maybe, somehow, we can provide help and support and positivism to each other. . .

You have to take these times, bear down, grit your teeth and declare: I am a survivor. I will not be a victim.

I am not a victim.



Blogger TexasFred said...

300 On-Call deputies were eliminated in my department. 209 full-time deputies were laid off.
As soon as Da 'hood hears this, crime will be on the rise in unbelievable proportions..

Load up the P-220 my friend, you're going to need it, your county is about to go totally ape-shit!

Sat Jul 11, 07:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Thank God I have my retirement, I wish you tons of luck...

When my brother was about to retire a few years ago the state came up with what they called *The Drop Program*...

He was already a Captain and it didn't help his rank at all or pay immediately but he gave them an additional 2 years and then retired, thus helping his retirement a great deal.

It will all work out I am sure, as long as your retirement funds are there. I know here most cities either have their own retirement or if a smaller town, they fall under state LEO retirement, as does most Sheriffs Depts. I wonder, who holds the retirement funds for your county??

Sat Jul 11, 08:11:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Ranando said...

I'm truly sorry this has happen to you my friend.

Nothing more to say.

Sat Jul 11, 08:19:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

TF: my County Board of Supervisors control the retirement funds. And THEY can determine, year to year, what amount of funding goes to those who retire, DESPITE contracts -- especially in these tumultuous times.

There is also a bill gathering signatures that will attempt, in Fornicalia, to reduce the current pensions of most ALL public agency retirees -- and to take away portions of pensions RETROACTIVELY.

Dude. I fuckin' need to win the Lottery.


Sat Jul 11, 08:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Sorry to hear that BZ.

Sat Jul 11, 08:26:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

TF, Mahndisa, Ranando:

But it all revolves around:

WHAT is the FUTURE of your retirement?

I THOUGHT I was rock solid and -- then -- not so much.

Please let my situation be a WARNING sign for you and yours. And that is: PLAN. PLAN for the WORST.


Sat Jul 11, 08:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Honest to God, you ought to retain an employee relations attorney or at least get a consult. I am quite certain that there will be more shenanigans as counties and states try to save money. I have one buddy who is set to retire in February of 10 BUT she will only get the full benefits if she lasts until then. Otherwise, nothing. Why are they going to cut her dept in September of 09? This is nastiness, which is why legal counsel may help if you sense things are getting nastier!

Sat Jul 11, 08:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Z said...

I think you should sue the @(*(#@$@ out of them and I am SO not a person who believes in frivolous litigation.

BZ...there are no words. I'm too ticked off.

Sat Jul 11, 09:03:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

It is what it is.

I'm not made of money. I'll likely have to fade. That's just the way it is.


Sat Jul 11, 09:18:00 PM PDT  
Blogger cary said...

Hang tough - I know you will. You have our prayers for your situation.

Stupid politicians - crooks in suits, everyone of them.

There are certain former employers of mine who don't like me because I always pointed out the flies in their ointments; oddly enough when they asked for input, they were really asking for you to agree with them wholeheartedly, not help them see flaws.

Sat Jul 11, 09:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger LoneRider said...

It still seems like poliTICKS, crime will go up, rapidly, they them go to the public/state and cry foul, needing more money. Basically the county is going to hold its citizenry hostage.

I can't help but to think, 3 simple things would radically change the states financial bottom line:

1) Except for life saving measures, no school, welfare, health care for non-legal residents

2) Quick law - $1000/head for hiring an illegal, ticket the piss out of businesses, if possible make executives and owners personally responsible for the fines.

3) Get rid of the proposition xxx that keeps property taxes the same. This would also help the home sales market, as some rates would go down and people would now be motivated to move.

BZ, I hate to say it, but I do support streamlining of the governments around the nation, police, fire are not in that list though.

Good luck!

personally, I am doing okay, the company I work for is healthy and still showing some growth.

Sat Jul 11, 11:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Carlisleboy said...

I am SOOOOO Sorry to hear that my Friend!!
Of course, this cloud could have a silver lining.......
You say the word and between myself, Alaska Steve and the Rest of the bloggers up here we will have you on the police force here in like 40 minutes and three phonecalls.
King Crab instead of Lemons!!!
Halibut instead of Tofu!!!
Eagles instead of pooping pigeons!
I know it is not likely, but i do hope that moment of escapeism gave you a smile!

Sat Jul 11, 11:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - A PD Rangemaster should be able to get you a job just about anywhere outside of CA. Hell, the Silver Eagle range was looking for people nearby as they are running a facility for TRAINING feds/police/air marshalls and running SAAMI and Practical Shooting events...

Yeah, politics suck. And the Union is worthless. When I got an IG investigation put on me by a disgruntled worker who was having her little fiefdom put under the gun by modernization I was lucky to have the Directorate behind me because the Union sure as hell wasn't. When I got a Desk Audit that showed I was doing the work of two people at two higher pay grades the Union sat on its fat ass.

Best you can do is hit them on the bureaucratic side, go by the letter of what the system should do, file the paperwork (lots of paperwork), document it, and point out your work record, your seniority and the way the system 'should' work. Those in power love to cite procedure for daily routine and love to flaunt it whenever they can.

Office politics sucks like an Electrolux. Unions are black holes.

Things are going downhill pretty fast when State politicians want to 'punish' their voters by cutting 'essential services' and keeping non-essential ones going. That is not a recipe towards convincing folks you are a steward of society but a petty tyrant.

Arm up and get the feelers out.

CA is sinking.

Sun Jul 12, 02:59:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: I would posit that best sums things up: "unions" ARE black holes. . .

How damned true.


Sun Jul 12, 03:47:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Sorry to read of this eventuality.

But I'm glad to read that you don't consider yourself a victim!

Persons with less seniority than me were kept; I was told to leave....Additionally, I was told that I do not have "bumping" rights in the division.

Mr. AOW lost his job of some 12 years in a cutback in January 2008 (automotive parts). In actuality, he hated the job, and the pay sucked. Our biggest problem has been getting affordable health insurance. I hope that problem doesn't afflict you! Having reached the age of not having a house payment, we now, in effect, have to shell out every month for a terrible health-insurance plan. We're now going through our life's savings.

Sun Jul 12, 05:04:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Tom said...

BZ - I would say welcome to the ranks of the unemployed except that this is not a situation that any of us want to be in.

Getting cut despite seniority is a real slap. If you have a Union, they might be able to intercede unless the contract was watered down to allow such shenanigans.

The criminals will run rampant, the citizens will complain, and hopefully they'll call you back. In the meantime, hold on!

Sun Jul 12, 05:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger dons_mind said...

sorry to hear all that BZ. office politics are the same everywhere.

hang in there......

Sun Jul 12, 06:58:00 AM PDT  
Blogger shoprat said...

My previous employer folded after really trying to make a go of it but sadly he really didn't know what he was doing. I quickly found another job with a company in town but it was for about 77% of my previous gross and then they downsized and I was back on unemployment for about 3 mos.

A friend in management thought of me when a security post was open and so I am back, working for 90% of what I used to gross but working all hours of the day (literally) for an owner who literally brags about how greedy he is (and is also a major player in the state Democratic Party which is part of the reason I try to stay semi-anonymous). At least I have a job as I know many who do not including a friend from my previous employer who was there 32 years, can't find work (probably his age) and is now trying to make ends meet fixing small motors.

Sun Jul 12, 07:58:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

That sucks donkey balls BZ. As you know I was out of work for over a year. But I finally got a job last month. Is it what I wanted? No way. But it pays and I have fun there, not too challenging intellectually, but again, IT PAYS. And I managed not to suckle the government teet throughout. So I feel pretty smug right now as I watch the glassy eyes of all the unemployed Californians desperate for something, anything to pay their bills, put food on their table.

Good luck my friend.

Sun Jul 12, 09:56:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Maggie Thornton said...

I was going to ask if you can sue. I see that Z is suggesting the same. some lawsuits are appropriate and worthy. This sounds like of them.

Of course, if you did so you would probably lose the job you have now, until you reach a resolution.

I join the other friends here saying that I am so sorry this has happened. We work all our lives, and in your case, working for the people, and politics become power.

The future of any retirement is shaky. We don't know how our retirements, sitting in a bank somewhere, are being abused. It is a scary, scary world on so many levels.

Love Carlisleboy's comment. Halibut instead of tofu! LOL!

I notice several here are encouraging you to look elsewhere. Maybe that's a good idea.

Sun Jul 12, 10:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Shop: and, as you point out, things are easier to take when you're 24 as opposed to 35 years later.

AOW: health insurance at an older age -- nobody wants you, and if you can find it, it's exorbitant. But at least, yet, you won't be rationed.

Jenn: sorry, I wasn't aware you were out of work, but GLAD you were able to find a job! Excellent!

Maggie: I'm going to see if my "union" can assist; and yes, it's likely time to see if I can find a secondary Plan B employment.

Oh. Great. I live up in the mountains, we had thunder and lightning last night/early this morning, and now I hear a CalFire prop tanker flying overhead.


Sun Jul 12, 11:59:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rivka said...

BZ, sorry to hear about this, but as you said you and your wife do have a jobs and that is great in California in this day and age, nevertheless the 'sting' is still there.

Sun Jul 12, 02:12:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ASM826 said...

Never good news to lose pay, or to be pushed around by politics.

But you're right, no one is a victim unless they decide to be one.

Sun Jul 12, 04:36:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous WMD_Maker said...

Sorry to here about getting laid off.
I am sure there are MANY MANY departments that would fall all over themselves to have you.

Sun Jul 12, 05:02:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Ranando said...

Maybe it's time to look outside the box........

A whole new World awaits you, how exciting.

Sun Jul 12, 05:21:00 PM PDT  
Blogger David Wyatt said...


I am so sorry to hear this. Also very angry as Z said. I am praying for you, friend.

Sun Jul 12, 06:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger NotClauswitz said...

I haven't worked regularly since '03 when the new corporate Executive downsized our division to a nullity. We've always kept back from a lot of extraneous stuff in general because our place is small - but now we own it and because or despite our location it has not lost much value.

I've done some side jobs but the industry changed away from my skill-set, and with the tax-rates the way they are and my wife's larger income at the Big University intact, it's almost not worth the effort - not much anyhow.
We have Kaiser through her job, so health-care's ok, but when I was younger and unemployed, and riding fast motorcycles through the hills I had to buy my own personal coverage through Blue Cross, in case of an accident. That wasn't too bad, $30/month for catastrophic with a high ($5k) deductible, but it's not what we need nowadays.

Still, I've had to re-invent myself before; after the layoffs in '89 and the layoffs in '91 and the downsizing in '93 - so I'm on like my fourth or fifth career with no idea of how I really got here other than perseverance. I've been a photo-technician, a theater painter and stage-designer, an academic fund-raising administrative, a computer graphics-guy and animator, a sports photographer, a graphic designer and lastly a user-interface design-guy. It all beats being a pot-washer like I did at SAGA Foods in College.
I need to do something (or sell crap on eBay) if only to keep in primers and powder so I can continue to shoot high-power - if only I could find primers.

Say - why not take a break and join us at the Gunblogger's Rendezvous in Reno in September?!?! Seriously, think about it. :-) It's gonna be a lot of fun and as an RO you'd fit in smashingly.

Mon Jul 13, 08:58:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly sorry to hear about this, BZ.


Mon Jul 13, 06:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Thanks, LD. I appreciate it.


Thu Jul 16, 06:03:00 AM PDT  

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