Wednesday, February 08, 2012

FURTHER INFORMATION:            PAULA GREEN (626) 914-8873, STACY ARMSTRONG (626) 857-4082 


Citrus College Bookstore Employee Seeks to Resolve State Labor Issues
by Stacy Armstrong


With no end to the state’s budget crisis in sight, public employees find themselves facing a great deal of uncertainty about job security and retirement.  However, Michael Bilbrey hopes to alleviate some of their concerns.


The Citrus College Bookstore operations coordinator not only serves as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration, but he is also the state first vice president for the California School Employees Association (CSEA) and co-chair of Labor United for Universal Healthcare.


“It is important for me to represent my fellow workers , to make our lives sustainable and to make sure we have a reliable retirement system, good working conditions and quality, affordable healthcare,” he said.  “It is rewarding to know that I am helping people and making a difference in the lives of others.”


This level of commitment, however, can be quite time consuming.  Bilbrey says he spends anywhere from 12 to 20 days a month serving California’s public sector workforce.


“I attend monthly board and committee meetings, speaking engagements upon request, and conferences as necessary,” the Los Angeles resident said.  “It can be difficult to manage my time and to be as efficient as possible, but I am dedicated to being an effective leader and participant.”


Bilbrey became a member of the CalPERS Board last year, after receiving the majority of votes from the organization’s 1.6 million active and retired members during an election.  His involvement in CSEA and Labor United was also determined by an election.


“I have learned valuable lessons through my service,” Bilbrey said.  “I now try to listen more than I speak.  I have become an active listener who doesn’t just try to hear what people are saying, but attempts to understand the diverse situations they face.  This allows me to make decisions in the best possible way.  In turn, I can better represent my constituents and serve as their voice.”


Dr. Geraldine Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College, admires Bilbrey’s commitment to giving back.


“Michael’s passion for service is undeniable,” she said.  “Not only does he dutifully serve as an employee in our bookstore, but he holds several demanding volunteer positions.  The level of enthusiasm and energy it takes to juggle all of these responsibilities is astounding.  Citrus College is proud of his many accomplishments.”


Mrs. Joanne Montgomery, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, agrees.


“Michael’s desire to advocate on behalf of others is inspirational,” she said.  “The state’s public employees are lucky to have someone like him in their court.”




FURTHER INFORMATION:            PAULA GREEN (626) 914-8873, STACY ARMSTRONG (626) 857-4082