Union negotiator resigns in aftermath of sex scandal
August 5, 2009
By KAREN VELIE
Tony Perry says that his affair with Gail Wilcox began long after the sheriff’s union contract was negotiated and announces his resignation as executive director of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA), in an e-mail to members of the DSA on August 2.
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors terminated former County Assistant Administrative Officer Gail Wilcox on July 14 because of the affair with Perry that allegedly began sometime in early 2006.
Perry on behalf of the DSA and Wilcox on the county side sat on opposite sides of the bargaining table. Perry contends the relationship followed union negotiations and had no impact on the results.
“The DSA contract currently in effect was entered into and effective February 7, 2006 following negotiations which concluded in late 2005,” Perry says in the e-mail. “The relationship central to this controversy did not begin until long after that contract’s implementation. Bottom line, there is no correlation between the DSA’s contract and the personal relationship I maintained.”
In addition, Perry reports that he had not disclosed the affair with anyone in the DSA until shortly before the investigation report was to be released. At that time he notified DSA President Dale Strobridge, according to the e-mail.
Perry expresses his devotion to the union and reports his wife asked him to step down.
“I wish I could be there to assist in those endeavors, however my family wants me back and they will and must be my priority from now on,” Perry says. “I am grateful that even during these difficult times, my wife still supports and believes in me.”
“Dear DSA Members,
”Due to the obvious array of personal issues which were forefront during the past week and the time and attention I needed with my family, I have been unable to email the membership until this time. I apologize for the delay in the receipt of this and would like to thank the scores of you who have provided me with your friendship and support during these difficult times. I will attempt to be as brief as possible under the circumstances.
”I sincerely regret and apologize for the recent circumstances that have resulted in the media attention that detracts from the many important issues and challenges that the DSA is facing. I bear full responsibility for those personal actions. Moreover, it has become a distraction to the important work the DSA performs on behalf of its membership. After much reflection and upon the request of my wife, I will retire from DSA service and step down as DSA Executive Director effective immediately. Regardless of my resignation, I pledge to continue supporting DSA causes as needed and the DSA organization from now and into the future.
”There are two issues of concern which I must address immediately for the health of the organization. First, there have been questions about who had knowledge of my activities prior to the release of the Robertson Report. I did not disclose any of these matters to anyone within the DSA, and kept this information strictly confidential until it became clear that the Robertson Report was likely to be publicly released. At that point, DSA President Dale Strobridge was notified of my regrettable involvement in the controversy.
”Secondly, the DSA contract currently in effect was entered into and effective February 7, 2006 following negotiations which concluded in late 2005. The relationship central to this controversy did not begin until long after that contract’s implementation. Bottom line, there is no correlation between the DSA’s contract and the personal relationship I maintained. The various layers of oversight necessary to close the contract included conforming to parameters established by the Board of Supervisors, CAO David Edge’s recommendations, and County Counsel review followed by ratification of DSA membership. There is a distinct reason that the Robertson Report was unable to conclude any wrongdoing as it relates to DSA negotiation matters. The simple unequivocal answer is because there was no wrongdoing. Both the County and the DSA continued to be represented professionally during labor relation issues without exception, without compromise.
”The DSA is a tremendous organization. In the past thirteen years, we have come a long way. I have many fond memories of what we have been able to accomplish as a cohesive group. Our interests in common are far greater than any differences that exist between job classifications and it is time to reunite the organization and move forward together. I am hopeful that the differing factions that exist today will put aside their agendas and put forth their impassioned energy towards positive collective change; not that which will harm others. In the future, the DSA will be negotiating against contracted professional County negotiators and as an organization, we will need every conceivable tool in the toolbox. Most important will be your association’s desire to stay committed to a political agenda and to support candidates for public office that are in the best interest of the DSA organization. It’s not always easy, sometimes politics are downright nasty, but in my opinion, it is the most important action we can and must continue to take for organizational effectiveness.
”In closing, DSA representation has been nothing short of an adventure over the years. I will truly miss representing your interests. It is more important than ever that this organization support its leadership as the challenges ahead will be extensive. Seasoned and experienced representation will be crucial. Dale is a tremendous resource and will play a vital role in organizational stability and the protection of your interests into the future. I wish I could be there to assist in those endeavors, however my family wants me back and they will and must be my priority from now on. I am grateful that even during these difficult times, my wife still supports and believes in me. She has always supported the DSA’s causes, still cares for the DSA family that we have represented, and is truly appreciative of the words of comfort and support conveyed to her during her thirteen year tenure as a DSA Widow. On a personal and family note, we are in the process of healing and there is no doubt that my family will survive this ordeal intact.
”We represent a noble profession and it is the good people within this department that has made it an honor to serve. With a positive and unified front, the DSA and its membership will flourish. Without it, individual new=20 associations will likely suffer incomprehensible prevailing wage setbacks (at the hands of hired negotiators for the County) that will obliterate much of the positive progress achieved over the years. Reunification under the DSA umbrella is the only solution due to the prevailing wage protections afforded by existing contracts. Together, the classifications represented by the DSA will continue their history of great accomplishments.
”Thank you for your continued support through the years….Take care and be safe. Strength Through Unity!!!
”Tony Perry, Executive Director”