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FPOA built its muscle, now it’s ready to flex

Crime & Punishment

FPOA built its muscle, now it’s ready to flex

Under the leadership of Jacky Parks, Fresno’s police union sacrificed during the Recession. They’re about to be rewarded.

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In a culture of winning, sometimes it’s guy who is willing to give up something up who has the most to gain.

That’s certainly the case with the Fresno Police Officer Association. The City’s strongest – and largest – public employee union plays a uniquely important role in City politics.

And its boss, Jacky Parks, who has a keen skill for starting and winning battles at City Hall, has also honed his ability to build bridges with management. It is also fair to label him as the most skilled negotiator among the City’s public employee unions.

All of those skills have elevated him to become the most visible and well-known union boss, eclipsing even blue collar union boss (and “No on Measure G” architect) Marina Magdaleno.

His involvement as a panelist in the CVObserver/PowerTalk mayoral debate in March even ruffled feathers in powerful corners of City Hall, sources told CVObserver.

So how did Parks get to this point? Some very painful horse trading.

During the depths of the recession, Parks opted to set the standard for other unions to follow as cut-after-cut came down from City Hall. His moves earned tremendous praise from folks on the other side of the negotiating table.

“Jacky and the Fresno Police Officers Association played a major role by offering concessions to the City during the recession years,” Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand.

Brand explained that FPOA’s two major concessions – in 2010 and 2014 – provided much-needed savings to the cash-strapped City.

“FPOA was willing to increase their members’ cost of pensions and health care,” Brand said. “It set the bar for other labor groups and help contain future pension costs.”

So what did those sacrifices yield? Growing talk of competitive salaries for Fresno cops, an expansion of the force (and bigger membership for FPOA), and a stable Fresno.

“Our credit rating might not be where it is today without some of the moves taken by FPOA,” Brand said.

And the credit rating for Parks and FPOA? It’s up, too.


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Alex Tavlian

Alex Tavlian is the owner of Sultana Media. Views expressed reflect those of the author only. He can be reached at



  1. Jeremy Pearce

    February 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I look forward to partnering with FPOA to keep Fresno safe and secure. It is a big task to fill Lee Brand’s shoes, but I see myself as uniquely qualified to fill them. And, the fact that Councilmembers Lee Brand and Steve Brandau, Supervisor Buddy Mendes, and 2 former Mayors (Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Alan Autry) have endorsed me means that those who know how big Lee’s shoes are, know and believe that I am capable of filling them.

  2. Holly Carter

    February 20, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Do you think FPOA appreciates this article? Do they have to continue to be at the mercy of a few as opposed to the will of the people? I would have never allowed nor voted for the drastic cuts imposed upon police and fire. Our entire City, and my district has suffered significantly as a result of it. This is a feeble attempt to glorify a series of horrible decisions made by the current Fresno City electeds by dangling a carrot out of what “may come” under their continued leadership. Public safety is the number one responsibility of an elected official. That job has not been done and our community is no longer safe. Our Fire Department can’t even guarantee trucks will make it to fight fires because they are so worn out. Cries for funding from both police and fire fall on deaf ears. Glorifying the dismantling of the police and fire departments is offensive at a minimum. There were other solutions. Clearly the City had money for bonuses but not for public safety. The funding for “Public Safety” should never be an option. The public will not allow this game of politics as usual to continue. It take courage to fight for public safety. That kind of courage only comes from a leader who isn’t a slave to the political establishment.

  3. Nancy Flynn

    March 1, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I was researching an found this article.Thank you Holly for speaking up when none of our current or potential elected officials will. The fact that there are 20,000 plus gang members in Fresno with only 700 officers to chase them is a sign that the playing field is far from level. What is not to understand about this situation. The cry for ‘jobs’ is what is being offered as a solution to issues involving gangs. The problem with that is that gangs have proliferated throughout all of the years that the police department has been decimated. Gang members know they can make more money dealing meth and heroin than they can make at an honest. 9 to 5 job. Now we have emboldened gang members shooting at our police officers. Keep speaking up Holly and good luck to you in your campaign.

  4. Francis Sjogren

    March 12, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    When you make your muscles work by being physically active, they respond by growing stronger. They may even get bigger by adding more muscle tissue. This is how bodybuilders get such big muscles, but your muscles can be healthy without getting that big.

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