Editor's note, Nov. 12, 9:50 a.m.: This post has been changed to note that Don Novey has not been sued in court by CCPOA, although the two sides are in arbitration. Also, an earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Michael Flores as a CCPOA spokesman. Flores is a consultant with the union.
State correctional officers are staging a small protest at CCPOA's West Sacramento headquarters, calling for the union's executive council to step down over a series of legal and leadership miscues that the protesters say reveal ethical and possibly legal lapses among their leaders.
Eight men gathered this morning in the union office building's parking lot, near an SUV from which hung a crude spray-painted banner that read, "TAKING BACK CCPOA."
Their stated aim: Get rid of the current slate of CCPOA leaders and restore the union's honorable image, which they say has suffered from infighting, lawsuits and public spats with Schwarzenegger.
It's difficult to know how many correctional officers are involved with protest, since they're circulating to the site throughout the day, said CCPOA board member Ian Pickett, a Kern Valley State Prison sergeant who organized the event.
The protest started this morning at 8 a.m. Pickett said he'll stay there as long as correctional officers keep showing up.
Pickett ticked off a list of problems that the protesters have with the union's leaders, starting with a recent $12 million verdict against CCPOA in a federal defamation lawsuit.
"Why did it have to come to that?" he said in an interview this morning. "You have to be smart. Pick your battles."
Pickett also alleges that CCPOA officials suspended union-provided life and health insurance for eight Corcoran correctional officers and their families after the officers ousted the Corcoran chapter president who supported union President Mike Jimenez's 2008 reelection.
The union has taken legal actions against retired members, including CCPOA founder Don Novey, which Pickett called "despicable."
CCPOA has been without a contract since July 2006, and has blamed Schwarzenegger as a double crosser whose word at the bargaining table can't be trusted. "I blame Arnold," Pickett said, "but I blame (union leadership) even more."
The State Worker called CCPOA seeking comment. A receptionist channeled our call to CCPOA consultant Michael Flores , and we left a message.Flores called back this afternoon to request a correction to an earlier version of this post that wrongly referenced him as a union spokesman. He had no comment on this story.
PHOTO: CCPOA members protesting against the union's leadership gather near an SUV in the parking lot of the union's West Sacramento headquarters. Jon Ortiz / Sacramento Bee