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.