I wrote an article for the Informant when I was working at the SDPOA. I dug it up and did some editing and am going to publish it here. It is timely in that there is an election for an open seat on the SDPOA Board coming up and there is a need to find someone willing to take on the challenges of serving the membership. The time commitment is huge and the toll to ones career and personal life is great. The rewards are few but the personal gratification of making this a better place to work is hard to put into words.
These have been trying times; times that have tested our resolve and purpose; times that have squandered the morale of many talented and dedicated professional police officers. Trying times are not themselves a valid reason to lament; but when at the end of the year, counting what has been lost, tallies the measure of what has been accomplished; lament is an insufficient means of expression. The tragedy in our case is not simply limited to the forced exodus of officers, but the loss of a precious opportunity.
Temptation is great as I sit here to lay all that is lost at the feet of Chief William Lansdowne or Mayor Gerry Sanders or the City Council or the Union Tribune. I could sit here and wax on about who is at fault, who is responsible, who should we blame? But I have come to realize we don't need to fix blame. We need to fix the problem.
Before we can do that we need to fix us. Who is "us"? I am referring to the San Diego Police Officers Association and its membership. I see us at times as an incompetent group of competent people. One of the greatest advantages of the SDPOA is the caliber of its membership. Members are experts in what their needs are and the various disciplines within law enforcement. We often overlook the contributions our members can and do make to our successes.
The SDPOA Board of Directors is clearly focused upon understanding and advocating the needs of its members. They are the trustee for and must have a strong connection with our membership. The Board must speak with one voice or not at all. Directors should honestly and candidly debate issues in board meetings, but must support decisions and policies once voted on. There is always opportunity to improve.
In the New York Times best selling book "Good to Great," Jim Collins writes there are three stages to the framework in building the foundation of a great organization. These are: Disciplined People; Disciplined Thought; and Disciplined Action. Collins focuses on the people who lead the organization. These are people who put the organization's interest above their own personal agenda. According to Collins, "A leader displays a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will."
This is all about having the right people on your team and having them in the right position. Collins states, "Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the key seats on the bus before they figure out where to drive the bus." This approach can be in conflict with the popular management theory of deciding where the organization needs or wants to go and then determining who should take you there. Collins believes if you have "the right people on your bus" then you can take the association wherever it needs to go. Associations constantly grapple with finding the right person for the right responsibility; coupled with the challenge putting the association's interest above their own personal agenda. Once the right people are "on the association's bus" then we can determine if the existing seats need someone different in them to make our association more efficient and effective.
The SDPOA will have an election for three seats on the Board of Directors in the coming weeks. This election will be a very critical election for the Association. These trying times dictate a need for strong leadership and resolve to place the association's interest above any personal agenda. A willingness to place yourself in jeopardy to protect the rights of the membership and to define the specific "End" that the association will pursue. You should ask, "What benefits and for whom." The Director's position is a "responsibility" not a "job". Keep this in mind when making your decision to seek a seat on the Board or casting your vote to "fill the seat on the SDPOA bus." We have an opportunity to ensure our "bus" is going in the right direction and has the right people in the seats to ensure we are successful when the bus reaches its destination.
There will be one open seat on the SDPOA Board. Sergeant Mark Sullivan is not seeking re-election. I have said before and will say it again; I believe Brian Marvel and Jeff Jordan have done a good job in the most difficult of times. They deserve our support and help. If you have the desire and drive to serve the membership I would encourage you to step forward and toss your hat in the ring. You have until Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1700 hours to submit your statement of intention and photo to the SDPOA.
The Board of Directors for the SDPOA has not given up and neither should you. They continue to fight and focus on the member. You are why they are here and they have not lost that in the smoke from the rubble of this crumbling city and department. I believe the Board will not rest until ALL of our members are taken care of. They cannot do it alone and need your help. The very least you could do is take an interest in the upcoming election and VOTE. Get involved!!!
Remember your family, friends and brothers and sisters in blue. Be safe and take care of each other.