Alum Leverages GGU Education to Secure 20% Pay Increase for 1,700 Union Members in Monterey


Merdad “Dezy” Dezyanian, a graduate of the Executive Master of Public Administration (’16) advocated for the right to locality pay for employees of the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, CA, resulting in a 20% pay increase for 1,700 workers. Dezy received a Certificate of Appreciation from the president of DLI’s union (AFGE Local 1263) for his two-year effort. Armed with his research and the mentorship of experienced faculty at GGU, Dezy started a petition that received more than 1000 signatures, lobbied Senator Dianne Feinstein, and worked with the DLI leadership team to address the issue.

Dezy says: “I believe that my hard work in addition to the great knowledge that GGU gave me made this happen. It shows what GGU can achieve and the impact it can have on people’s lives. Especially important to me was the camaraderie with the entire EMPA Monterey Cohort and the motivation and learning opportunity that gave me.”

Merdad “Dezy” Dezyanian (EMPA ’16) on the Monterey coastline.

Mick McGee, DPA, Associate Professor of Public Administration programs, reports that Dezy studied the role of government and administrative systems, the FOIA, and directly addressed the absence of locality pay at the DLI in his research project (EMPA 396).

“Our program blends research and practice,” says Dr. McGee, “teaching students about the role and responsibilities of government, the value of servant leadership, strategic management, data collection, and analysis and performance measurement.”

Dezy is currently an Education Specialist with The Department of Veterans Affairs and looks forward to earning a PhD at some time in the future.​


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