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Image                A Tale of Two Documents

IAFF 1186 V.P. Jon Riley                       Good Faith and Integrity in Question


By Marc Garman 


The Vallejo Independent Bulletin has recently come into possession of two documents that unfortunately bring into further question the integrity, and willingness to negotiate in good faith, of the public safety unions.


At the Feb 26 City Council meeting, IAFF 1186 Vice President and head of United Workers for Local Government, Jon Riley spoke about “trust and confidence”.  He said that the unions “were sitting down at the table now because we have trust”.  See Riley on VIB TV HERE

The real question is: Can we trust Jon Riley?


Our trust in his boss and mentor IAFF 1186 President Kurt Henke was severely shaken during the same Feb. 26 City Council meeting when Henke disregarded the agreed upon confidentiality of labor negotiations and wrongly accused City Manager Joe Tanner of nixing a potential deal with the unions. (Can you say good cop—bad cop)  Henke’s statements were soundly refuted by Mayor Davis that very evening. (article)


The issue at hand in this most recent questionable incident has to do with the understanding the unions are supposed to honor with the mediator presiding over the current round of negotiations with the city

They must agree not to engage in mudslinging, propaganda, public posturing or any other activity that could be considered not in the spirit of “good faith negotiations”.


And now, the documents.  Let’s start with the later one first.


On March 12 a memorandum was sent to:

“CSEA Members with Residence in The City of Vallejo”.

This memorandum is signed by Debb Jachens, Labor Relations Representative.


The memorandum makes claims such as: “the public safety unions were forced to take an 8.5% raise last year” (poor darlings!) continues to accuse Stephanie Gomes and Joanne Schivley of wreaking havoc on Vallejo by advising “the mass’s “(masses) of the impending insolvency. (Heaven forbid we should have an informed constituency!) and claims that the unions still have not been provided with the “detailed financial information they have been requesting for the past year” (the ‘olThey’re hiding the goodies ploy” )


Pretty much the usual spin we have become familiar with from the safety unions.


The real rub comes when we look at the earlier document.  An email written by Jon Riley on March 2.  This email contains many of the same allegations and statements, entire sections, that are identical—word for word—as the memorandum signed by Debb Jachens.


It would seem more than likely that both documents were written by the same person.


Let’s look at the implications:


  • The March 2 email signed by Jon Riley was written prior to the explicit understanding to negotiate in good faith. One would hope that the idea of negotiating in good faith would be implicit, but this is not always the case.

  • The March 12 memo signed by Debb Jachens was written after the unions began mediated negotiations and were expected to behave themselves and act in good faith.  At this time Jon Riley needed to put a cork in it.  


  • It would seem that somehow Jon Riley’s email mysteriously fell into Debb Jachens lap --or she used Jon Riley’s words with permission--OR SHE SIGNED A LETTER WRITTEN BY JON RILEY SO HE COULD KEEP UP THE SPIN WITHOUT GETTING IN TROUBLE WITH THE MEDIATOR FOR FAILING TO ACT IN GOOD FAITH.


Rather than make any absolute conclusions here we will leave it to you to decide if what transpired was accident, unlikely coincidence or an intentional and willful indifference to the concept of “good faith”.


If  the latter is true it is particularly disturbing considering that Jon Riley has always used personal integrity as the cornerstone of his public addresses. Can we ever believe Jon Riley again?  You decide.


To see a side by side comparison of the identical sections of both documents click HERE 


To see Jon Riley's 3/2/08 email click  HERE


To see Debb Jachen's memo click HERE