TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier has responded to a no-confidence vote by members of a union.
Earlier this week, a majority of the members of the Pima County Deputy Sheriff’s Association approved the vote against Naiper.
According to a source, union members said it is because Sheriff Naiper made a series of promises but failed to live up to them in the last three years.
Below is Napier’s full statement.
I was surprised and disappointed to learn that some of our deputies engaged in a vote of no confidence in me as our Sheriff. It might have been better to communicate specific and detailed concerns to me so that we might work together in a professional, productive and collaborative manner to address them. However, they chose not to do so. Clearly, there will always be some disagreement between representative associations of line level employees and senior administration. It is not possible to make everyone happy or resolve every issue.
A media outlet captioned this as a “historic” vote. This would be true if we agree history repeats itself. In September 2016, the same group of employees conducted a no confidence vote in Sheriff Nanos (source: Arizona Daily Star November 9, 2016 “Mark Napier defeats Chris Nanos in race for Pima County Sheriff.”) The same association conducted a no confidence vote for Sheriff Dupnik in 2002 or 2004. This is a predictable and repeated pattern of the dysfunctional address of concerns that could otherwise be more productively worked on and potentially resolved.
The Deputy’s Association, who represents only a portion of our sworn personnel, demands that I not seek another term of office. This is in an apparent desire to silence the will of the voters of Pima County who elect the Sheriff. It is important to note that a key member of this Association filed a State of Organization to run for Sheriff on September 20, 2019 (source: Pima County Elections Department, Candidate Committee Number 014-2019). This is a mere 34 days before the Association conducted the no confidence vote. A reasonable person might see a connection between these things.
I have the greatest respect and affection for our deputies. This Association, however, does not represent all the deputies and only a small percentage of the more than 1400 employees of the Sheriff ’s Department. It might be prudent to ask for more specifics about the nature of the vote and what percentage of department employees participated. They seem to assert this is representative of a more significant audience than I believe to be the case.
I am incredibly proud of all the people at the Sheriff ’s Department. Every day they provide stellar service to the citizens of our county. Over the past three years, we have made significant strides with compensation. There have been significant and meaningful raises. We addressed an inequity in Corrections Commanders’ compensation. We now have among the highest entry-level salaries for deputies and corrections officers in the state. These are documented facts. We have, and always will have, room for improvement with respect to compensation. No compensation plan is perfect. Further, the Sheriff does not have exclusive control over it. We should work together to address issues. I fully support this Association obtaining Meet and Confer status.
Overall crime has declined significantly in the county over the past three years (we will have a press release on this next week). We have taken good stewardship over your tax dollars finishing the last two fiscal years with a combined surplus of nearly $11 million. We have struggled with staffing, which is not unique to PCSD. This is a national issue. We have redoubled our recruitment efforts. Better recruiting along with higher entry pay should bring us close to full staffing early next year. Finally, we are more engaged with all segments of the community than we ever have been.
Overall reductions in crime, budget surpluses, compensation increases, rebounding staffing levels and more effective community engagement. All of these are solid measurements of a law enforcement agency’s performance and are concrete objective things for the people of Pima County to be confident in.
The men and women of the Pima County Sheriff ’s Department are some of the finest professionals I have ever had the honor to work with. We are making real and substantive progress to reach even higher levels of performance and service to our citizens. While some may want to stop progress, we need to stay the court and find more positive ways to address difficult internal issues.