A Message From Fish & Wildlife Warden Shows Need For Real Legal Defense Advises others not to make the same costly mistake

csleaSACRAMENTO-   On June 10, 2015, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) received an email from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Warden Eric Fleet explaining the  current financially-draining path he and his family are experiencing  as a result of not having access to CSLEA’s legal representation to fight his dismissal.

“It’s painful to hear Warden Fleet’s situation and I thank him for sharing his very unfortunate experience  with us to help protect others from this type of financial harm,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  “Please take a moment to read his letter and to find out about CSLEA’s proven Legal Defense Fund and CSLEA’s own six attorneys whose job it is to defend our members.  Our legal services plan is your protection should you have to fight to save your livelihood. Those in Bargaining Unit 7 who are fair share or objectors do not have access to the invaluable career insurance.”

A letter from CDFW Warden Erik Fleet:

“I’m writing this short email to inform any concerned party of my plight as it pertains to my 16 or so years of service with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and my relationship with CSLEA. I was a full share member for approximately 14 years. I had never paid much attention to the politics of the job or the Department and its relationship with CSLEA. I was hounded for years to become a “fair share” member but never really concerned myself with taking action. 

I was represented in 2004 by a CSLEA attorney in a shame of a discipline case against myself and another Warden where the DFW attempted to fire me. I was exonerated from the charges during my Skelly Hearing. In 2011 or 2012, I was once again approached by a Warden and Association Representative, who advised me I was one of the last CSLEA member holdouts. He further advised me I would retain my LDF status as long as I was paying my fair share amount each month and handed me the paperwork which would complete the task of me becoming a fair share fee objector. Several other CSLEA members were also handed the same paperwork which required ‘just a signature’. The representative stated he would take care of the filing and associated paperwork. So with one fell swoop of his pen, myself and my squad mates were now ‘on track’ with the rest of the State’s DFW Wardens.

In 2013, I was subjected to another disciplinary action. This one was worse than the last. When I called CSLEA for legal defense, it obviously wasn’t there for me because of my status as a fee objector. I was forced to pay out of pocket for my own attorney to represent me. $30,000 later,  I’m still waiting for the State Personnel Board to decide my fate. My lawyer is great and has worked so hard for me and my family, I just wish his fees were covered. 

My son just hired on with DFW and my first admonishment to him was to secure his future and protect it by joining CSLEA and never let go of his membership. In addition, I made sure my squad mates understood they had no LDF. They have all immediately remedied that situation. Signing the document for the Wardens Association was the worst mistake I’ve ever made. 

Thank you for all your support and hard work throughout my career. When I get reinstated, you can count on my undying support and lifelong membership.”

Erik Fleet


About CSLEA’s Legal Services and Legal Defense Plan

CSLEA has six attorneys, three in Northern California and three in Southern California.  Each attorney is just a phone call away and available to represent members in administrative investigations and resulting disciplinary appeals. Additionally, The CSLEA Legal Defense Fund provides members experienced LDF Panel Attorneys from reputable law firms throughout the state to provide defense in civil and criminal prosecutions of members. These firms have agreed to make their attorneys available to CSLEA members at any time of day or night and are therefore, willing to respond to incidents such as officer-involved shootings which often occur in the middle of the night. LDF can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-533-5448.




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