In this update I will rundown the decisions made at the recent Board meeting as well as discuss some controversies that have arisen between myself and AFSCME in the last month. This update is somewhat long, but there is much information you may find interesting. This is, by way of full disclosure, all my perspective and my opinion.
Michele Hanisee has honored the ADDA and its members by joining the Board as its Vice President, replacing the office formerly held by James Bozajian who recently resigned as both a DDA and a Board Member. Ms. Hanisee already has made a difference in helping the ADDA to secure recent legislation that protects the private information of all DDAs. She has agreed to be the Chairperson of the Bypass Security Screening Committee and will continue to work with John Colello and others to secure legislation to resolve this issue. Finally, we are all happy to have a female DDA on the Board and can’t be happier than to see that it’s Michele. Thank you, Michele.
Director Stuart Lytton submitted papers indicating a desire to be Vice President, but when he saw that it was Michele he withdrew his nomination and requested the long vacant position of Secretary instead. So thanks to Stewart’s nobility and graciousness we have a new Vice President and a new Secretary, Stuart Lytton. Thank you, Stuart.
All offices are filled, and the Board is now complete:
|Marc Debbaudt, President||Anthony Colannino|
|Jeff McGrath, Executive Vice President||Bobby Grace|
|Michele Hanisee, Vice President||Graig Gold|
|Stuart Lytton, Secretary||John Harrold|
|James Evans, Treasurer||Loren Naimon|
Richard Shinee, General Counsel
Tris Carpenter, AFSCME Business Representative
Juliana Konze, Recording Secretary
I was contacted by Brian Moriguchi, the President of PPOA [Professional Police Officers Association]. PPOA is 8700 members strong and for over 60 years has represented LA County, including Sheriffs, DA Supervising Investigators, the Coroner’s Office, custody assistants, dispatchers and security officers. PPOA is involved only in public safety employees and only in Los Angeles County.
President Moriguchi caught me off guard when he asked me why I permitted our Business Representative, Tris Carpenter, to address his PPOA members in a secret meeting held at AFSCME in an effort by AFSCME to raid their union. He told me that Mr. Carpenter, the ADDA Business Representative, told PPOA’s members how to gather signatures to decertify, told them what they wanted to hear, and promised them things that AFSCME cannot deliver. President Moriguchi also said that AFSCME has a poor reputation locally.
I informed Moriguchi that I was not aware that our Business Representative was doing this and that the ADDA did not give him permission to do it. In the past, we have been asked by AFSCME if our Business Representative could be used for other functions and we have agreed. We were not told that AFSCME wanted to use him to raid a union comprised of our fellow law-enforcement colleagues. Our Business Representative is the primary service we obtain from AFSCME in exchange for our dues money to them which amounts to approximately $365,000 a year.
After our conversation I then emailed the Executive Director of AFSCME, Ms. Parisi, and asked if this was true. First, Parisi admitted that our Business Representative was utilized to address these PPOA members, and indicated that these members came to their headquarters and were not solicited. President Moriguchi disputes Ms. Parisi’s claim that “Without any planning or encouragement by Council staff, nearly 100 Custody Assistance showed up.” Moriguchi is of the opinion that AFSCME did far more than they assert. He referred me to a website that reveals that other law-enforcement organizations have so far been successful in resisting attempts by AFSCME to raid their organizations.
Second, at our Board Meeting Ms. Parisi represented to the Board that Tris Carpenter did not identify himself to these PPOA members as the ADDA Business Representative. I then read from her email response to me in which she clearly stated that Tris told the PPOA members “that he (Tris) had a full-time position as the Business Representative assigned to assist the ADDA and could not do anything more to assist them beyond the meeting at hand.” Therefore, contrary to Ms. Parisi’s statement to the Board, Tris Carpenter did represent to these members of PPOA that he was the ADDA Business Representative.
Moriguchi referred me to CSLEA [California State Law Enforcement Association] and specifically to a video accessible in the lower right hand corner of that website from the President of that organization, Alan Barcelona, warning of corruption within AFSCME.
Please check out the homepage of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association [CSLEA] at: http://www.cslea.com/ and watch that video.
After our conversation PPOA President Moriguchi wrote a letter to me in which he states:
“AFSCME used tactics common in raiding attempts which is to tell the CAs [Custody Assistants] exactly what they want to hear and promise them things they cannot deliver (more money, parity with police officers, more respect). I will be publishing more info about the meeting at a later time. We believe that this “raid” is orchestrated by AFSCME Council 36 which has a very poor reputation locally. Many of their own locals have expressed to me their dissatisfaction with Council 36.”
I received two more letters after that, one from President Tom Dominguez of the Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement [SCALE] and one from Stephen James the President of the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations [CCLEA]. Both of these letter were sent to the President of AFSCME, Ms. Goff. Tom Dominguez states in his letter that Tris Carpenter “maligned PPOA” and that AFSCME’s effort is “extremely offensive.” Stephen James states that the efforts of AFSCME “are deplorable at best.”
I shared all three letters with the Board.
In response, to the information I received from these Presidents I have written a letter to AFSCME President Alice Goff in which I indicate that the ADDA and DDAs in general have important ongoing relationships with law-enforcement and law-enforcement organizations in which we are more often than not completely aligned. For our voice, for our face, for our Representative, Tris Carpenter, to be used without our permission in a manner which obviously would alienate our law-enforcement colleagues is unprofessional and may have caused irreparable damage to our relationship to these associations.
Tris Carpenter speaks for the ADDA. For him to attempt to persuade law-enforcement colleagues to leave their organization is intolerable because it carries with it the implicit inference that the ADDA approved this effort. With our representative speaking to others comes the implicit/tacit endorsement of the ADDA and the body of prosecutors we represent.
Frankly, I find this action on AFSCME’s part to be outrageous. As a result I have demanded that AFSCME write several law-enforcement organizations apologizing for their error in judgment and acknowledging that the ADDA had no advanced knowledge of this effort and that Tris Carpenter was utilized without the ADDA’s approval. We cannot permit AFSCME to alienate our colleagues in their goal to secure money for their liberal political agendas.
At the end of our Board meeting pursuant to our policy of approval of emails, I requested permission to disseminate PPOA President Moriguichi’s letter with you, our members. The Board chose not to permit me to send it, finding that just sending you these letters standing alone was confusing. However, they did agree to allow me to discuss it in this update. AFSCME was offered an opportunity to respond directly, but they declined.
For this, and for positions contrary to those of a law-enforcement oriented bargaining unit, it is my position that the upcoming decision to remain affiliated with AFSCME is the most important decision that you as members of the ADDA will be facing this year, that is, assuming the Board chooses to give you the opportunity and does not make it unilaterally on your behalf. Please join the ADDA now to be poised to vote on this issue.
PROPOSITION 47: ADDA OPPOSES, AFSCME ENDORSES!
At a previous special meeting in which the nature of our relationship with AFSCME was discussed, the Executive Director of AFSCME, Cheryl Parisi, informed the Board that AFSCME only took political positions on “labor related issues.”
Recently your Board voted to oppose Proposition 47 which seeks to reduce criminal sentences from felonies to misdemeanors. We then recently learned that AFSCME has decided to support Proposition 47.
Ms. Parisi was asked to address the contradiction between her earlier statement that AFSCME does not endorse non-labor related issues and why Proposition 47 was endorsed since it is clearly a non-labor related issue. She provided no answer. Instead, an argument was made by some Board members that the alleged savings created by Prop. 47 would be given to schools. Therefore, Prop. 47 had “labor related” implications.
If you have followed the news on Prop. 47 then you are aware that the state’s non-partisan financial analyst has opined that there would be no immediate financial benefits upon the passage of Prop. 47. In fact, the costs of implementing it over the next several years as well as dealing with the retroactive appeals for reduction of sentencing would significantly exceed the current costs of the existing penal system. Furthermore, the Counties would not reap any financial savings from this Proposition because they would be dealing directly with all the new misdemeanors previously incarcerated in state prisons. The saving, if any, therefore, would inure only to the benefit of the state over the long run. Finally, no effort was made to assess the costs to the community in terms of reducing felonies to misdemeanors and releasing prisoners onto the streets in a system of jail overcrowding in which there is already little to no accountability for misdemeanors.
AFSCME’s response in a nutshell was that the ADDA was invited to attend their Convention and seek to influence their determination to endorse this Proposition. Please know we were given no advance warning that Prop. 47 was a topic at the Convention. It was merely an incidental issue lost in all of the other convention related topics in which few, if any, had anything to do with the ADDA or why we exist. No forewarning was provided by Ms. Parisi that this subject would be included on the Convention’s agenda. So, essentially, Parisi’s defense was to criticize the ADDA for not attending their Convention and spending DDA dues-payer-money for the time off of a few ADDA Directors, as well as accommodations and travel expenses, to sit around and listen to the vast majority of topics which have nothing to do with our organization while we wait to discover by surprise a law-enforcement issue we weren’t prepared to address. While we were given notice of the Convention and chose not to attend, we weren’t given notice that this non-labor related issue was on the table.
Ms. Parisi also suggested that had we been present at the Convention we could have influenced the debate on this topic and possibly prevented its endorsement. My response was simply: Why would we enter a debate we cannot win when the liberal orientation of AFSCME trumps our law-enforcement interests?
Some Directors felt it was unreasonable to complain about AFSCME’s endorsement of PROP. 47 when we were given the opportunity to attend the Convention but failed to do so. My position is simply why did the Executive Director tell the Board that AFSCME does not endorse non-labor related issues? Also, the likelihood of influencing their endorsement was minimal at best. Finally, AFSCME indicated that their organization supported all of our judicial endorsements as though the judicial endorsements justify the Prop. 47 endorsement. My response to that was that judicial offices are non-partisan offices and no one at AFSCME knew the candidates better than the ADDA or had any where the amount of interest in those offices than the ADDA did. In other words, we helped AFSCME make intelligent decisions on who to endorse, and they helped us in response. I don’t think the two, Prop. 47 and Judicial endorsement are equivalent or that the one counterbalances the other.
Essentially, we are a law-enforcement oriented certified bargaining unit whose dues, in a substantial amount, go to a union, AFSCME, that spends your dues money on anti-law-enforcement positions.
SATURDAY SEMINAR ATTENDANCE
Recently, the Head of the Training Division sent emails to Head Deputies informing our supervisors of those DDAs who attended Saturday Seminars. The email read:
“I am writing to report that the following DDAs in your Division attended the Saturday Seminar on September 20, 2014. Since the regular attendance of seminars to further legal knowledge is a basis for Performance Evaluation under the category of “Professional Knowledge & Skill,” I will keep you informed when DDAs from your Division attend the Saturday Seminars. Thanks. The September attendees are as follows: …”
A significant number of DDAs complained to me for multiple reasons. They felt that the Saturday Seminars are not mandatory, that many do not attend due to family obligations and other constraints, for many reasons DDAs acquire their MCLE through other means and that this attendance is not reflected in the data provided to the Supervisors by the Head of the Training Division, the attendance data is not always accurate, and that these emails seemed like an effort to coerce attendance. Further, as one complainant indicated, why were these emails to supervisors even necessary when supervisors must approve compensatory time off which means that they are already aware of who attends.
I informed Assistant D.A. Pam Booth of these complaints. Ms. Booth quickly responded indicating that these emails will stop because Supervisors are already aware of which deputy district attorneys attend Saturday Seminars because the Supervisors are required to approve each DDA’s submission for compensatory time and, therefore, the information is duplicative.
We thanked Pam for responding promptly.
If you don’t know, the Administration has asked me to keep them informed of complaints and rumors and morale issues. Pam, while not always agreeing, is always receptive and responsive.
JOINT LABOR MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE [JLMC]
Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath believed that the above Saturday Seminar Attendance issue would be appropriate for what is called the JLMC [Joint Labor Management Committee]. The JLMC is an agreement outlined in our MOU that our Administration, as well as representatives of the County, and representatives of the ADDA all meet to work out problems. It is not obligatory, but available if needed.
I disagreed that a JLMC was needed. Instead, I sent this one-item-issue to Pam Booth directly for her response. A JLMC would require several of us and several members of management, as well as a representative of the County, to take time from our work day to sit around and powwow. This meeting would possibly require dues-payer money to be spent to reimburse the County for the time taken by ADDA Board Members.
I also think that the history of the JLMC to date has not proved fruitful because I believe the prior ADDA Board and the representatives of that prior Board who were sent to the JLMC were never fully prepared to address the issues. As a result, for example, at one JLMC we ended up with a much worse Transfer Policy partly because representatives of the ADDA were not even aware of the pre-existing Transfer Policy, spent over a full year of multiple JLMC meeting essentially doing little more than recreating the pre-existing policy that they did not know about, and then added additional language making it worse. It took them nearly a year to re-invent the wheel and make it worse than the original.
So, until I or the Board majority is convinced that we are ready for a meaningful sit down on big ticket items, until we know what we want, why we want it, why we should be given it, what our strategy for success will be, I refuse to appoint Directors to the JLMC. This is over McGrath’s objection.
So far, we have had several on item issues, like the new Laptop/Electronic Devices Liability Policy, which instead of convening a JLMC a we have addressed one-by-one with Pam. That method has, in my opinion, been all we needed to do to date and it has worked out splendidly so far.
Furthermore, I believe working with Pam Booth on these small-item issues has been far more efficient and effective than sending some unprepared Board members to schmooze with Management.
THE ADDA IS PREPARED TO BE AN INDEPENDENT BARGAINING UNIT
When I ran for President my sole platform was to ensure that our members got to vote on whether to merge permanently with AFSCME or to disaffiliate. I also promised that if our members voted to disaffiliate, the ADDA would be prepared to transition to independence. Please be assured, the ADDA is fully prepared to DISAFFILIATE. Everything is lined up. IF there is a membership vote on Disaffiliation, it will occur in December, two months away.
However, please know it is possible that the members will not get to decide this important issue. The Board has the power to make this decision to permanently merge with AFSCME without sending the decision to the members. I believe it would be an unconscionable denial of Democracy on such an important decision if the Board, by fiat, does not vote to disaffiliate and does not leave the final decision up to ratification by the membership.
In any event, we are fully prepared to function as an effective certified bargaining unit after Disaffiliation if that is what our members decide assuming our members are given that vote.
We have hired General Counsel, Richard Shinee. Shinee is also General Counsel to ALADS and is considered amongst the very top if not THE foremost administrative union labor lawyer in this state. After DISAFFILIATION is approved, and during the transition to full independence, Shinee’s firm will provide us with a conference room for our meetings and a secretary to answer phones. Shinee will also serve as our Business Representative dealing with all management grievances until we hire someone full time, possibly retaining his firm who will provide one of his associates. Further, Mr. Shinee, with his wealth of knowledge and experience, will advise and assist us in any way we need as we quickly transition to an independent certified bargaining unit.
We have hired an independent Communications firm, Cerrell and Associates, who will assist us in creating and maintaining a relationship with the Board of Supervisors, improving our website, communicating our message and advancing the interests of all DDAs.
We have an independent auditor and an independent PAC CPA.
We have hired a recording secretary, Juliana Konze, to assist us with any and all clerical work.
We have at our access and available to us professional contract negotiators and lobbyists.
Please know that we are not legally permitted to affiliate with any law enforcement organization like, for example, ALADS. There are apparently laws that prohibit such affiliation, and we are looking into them to confirm what we have been told. However, since many of our law-enforcement colleagues have pre-existing organizations and machinery to service the decisions of their Board, a “service agreement” with one of them is possible. In other words, we do not affiliate or merge, we just hire their machinery. That “service agreement” will provide access to most of what we need to support our bargaining unit. It is quite possible, therefore, to enter into a “service agreement” with another law-enforcement union to provide staff or services without the need to affiliate and without the cost of affiliation.
Furthermore, please understand that we cannot in advance of approval of DISAFFILIATION discuss arrangements with ALADS or Probation for a “service agreement.” To do so would constitute union “raiding” in violation of the provisions set forth by the County Coalition of Unions/AFL-CIO and we won’t do it. Since many of the law-enforcement agencies do not purchase membership in the AFL-CIO, AFSCME apparently feels it is ok to raid them despite the idea that raiding is considered abhorrent to most unions.
Immediately following the decision of the members, that is, should it be to DISAFFILIATE, the Board will make contact with several local law enforcement organizations to potentially secure a “service agreement” to handle the needs of the ADDA. ALADS, Probation, PPOA, just to name a few, will be organizations we approach at the appropriate time. If we elect to go in that directions, we are optimistic that this alternative will be significantly cheaper than AFSCME. Certainly it will be much better than throwing your money into the black hole of AFSCME where much more than half of your monthly dues are spent on their pet political projects as well as a large UNION Administration that does absolutely nothing of significance for the ADDA. That is my opinion as your President.
FIRST ADDA MEMBERSHIP MEETING
This meeting occurred at Taix French Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park on 10/22/14. Besides myself, there were 6 Board members present, our Business Representative, our recording secretary, and 6 members, for a total of 15 people. The parking was easy and the chicken wasn’t bad. Our By-Laws require that these meetings be held quarterly, so the next one will probably be in February. The goal for that next meeting is to get 16 people to show up.
Please attend the upcoming Awards Dinner 10/30/14. Tentatively I believe and am hopeful that the current Governor of California will attend. DA Jackey Lacey told me she will be attending and present an ADDA award to the next Sheriff of Los Angeles County, James McDonnell. The ADDA, and I personally, am delighted that these dignitaries will attend and honor the current award recipients recognized by the ADDA. In this regard, I want to again thank Director Bobby Grace for his hard work making this happen!
BAKER TO VEGAS!
DDA Miji Vellallkatec addressed the ADDA Board about their outstanding financial needs in funding the annual BAKER to VEGAS event. The Board agreed to assist in the sponsorship of the DA team as well as support our DDA Captains Miji and Casey Higgins. Miji refused to tattoo ADDA on his forehead.
PREPARATIONS FOR NEGOTIATION
Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath has begun a salary comparison in preparation for the upcoming MOU/Contract Negotiations that commence next year. If you are interested in assisting him in any way in this project as well as ultimately assisting your colleagues in the ADDA’s effort to improve wages, we could use your help. Please contact McGrath. The sooner we begin our preparations, the stronger we will be when the time comes to explain the disingenuousness of the County’s salary position.
We are informed that our Business Representative Tris Carpenter has also asked AFSCME International to assist in researching and analyzing these financial concerns by doing a salary survey on behalf of the ADDA. We have not yet heard or received a response from AFSCME on the results of this request.
FOR A FEW DOLLARS more you can join the ADDA as a full voting member and vote on the possible upcoming decision to permanently affiliate with AFSCME or to disaffiliate. This is extremely important to the future of your Certified Bargaining Unit which represents YOU! Please join now.
If you are anti-large labor unions and because of that refuse to be a full dues paying member of the ADDA, but would accept the ADDA as an independent bargaining unit, then you need to become a full dues paying member now so your voice can be heard in this decision. If you want us to stay with AFSCME because you support large unions, but were just too cheap to join, then you need to join today so you can vote to remain with AFSCME. We need to know what all DDAs want to happen.
The decision of whether or not the ADDA will permanently merge with AFSCME or disaffiliate will be made commencing December 15, 2014. On that date the Board will either vote to approve disaffiliation and send the decision to the members for their ratification, or vote not to disaffiliate in which case the decision will not be submitted to the members for their Democratic determination. It is my sincere desire and my sole platform at the time I ran for President of the ADDA to do all I can to ensure that you, the members, are permitted to vote on this issue, and that it not be determined by a fiat vote of the Board alone.
The ADDA was asked to contribute in response to the recent rounds of fundraising concerning Domestic Violence that were occurring in several offices. This issue was tabled for further discussion in order to consider what policy the ADDA should have when responding to these requests by victim organizations. The Board did not want to set any precedent without giving it more thought.
Bobby Grace has also sought to improve our scrolls which we have finally rolled out after a long hiatus. Overdue scrolls have begun to be delivered to those who have been waiting patiently for them. Already we are striving to upgrade their quality. Thanks, Bobby.
We want to thank James Evans our Treasurer for finalizing our urgent audits and making arrangements to take care of our next audit, including hiring a new CPA and commencing the process of updating our Hudson Notice Letter. James has consolidated our bank accounts and is on top of our financial affairs.
Our PAC has been finalized and has been funded. Authorization to contribute to the various candidates the ADDA endorsed is now done. This is somewhat historic and we have Director Eric Siddall to thank for wrangling this complicated project to completion. The voice of the ADDA in our community and local government has just gotten stronger and we are optimistic that this will make a huge difference to our members.
The ADDA has openings for 3 Trustees whose duties will be to audit the financial activities of the Board. If you are interested, please let any Board member know, or contact Tris Carpenter our Business Representative. There will be an election held on this, or possibly appointments, depending on the number of those who are interested. This is an important position that ensures your Board is above reproach.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Policy 910 and DFR
Tris Carpenter is still working on an email that will inform our members about Policy 910 which basically entitles you to representation in potential disciplinary contacts with the Administration. The ADDA has been informed that DDAs have frequently been told by representatives of the Administration that they do not have such a right. County Policy 910 contradicts that.
Along the same lines, the ADDA will be discussing in greater depth what is called the Duty of Fair Representation. The Board’s effort to outline what our obligations will be to our members in terms of providing counsel or other representation is being assisted by Richard Shinee, our General Counsel, who will be helping us generate the ADDA Policy on this important topic.
In our consultation with Cerrell Associates, our communication and outreach consultants, we have received recommendations for improving our website. The Board agreed to fund an upgrade and modernize our website. This will help the Board advance and strengthen the voice of the ADDA throughout this County. The new site will also modernize our ability to use current social media to improve timely contact with our members. Please go to our website at laadda.com now so you will be able to compare how it has been improved and how it will look and function in a few months when the improvements are implemented.
PREDESIGNATE A DOCTOR
You should have received an email with an attached form that briefly discusses what happens if you are injured at work. If you have not previously selected the physician of your choice to treat you, you will be directed to a physician or medical group selected by the County and your personal physician or medical group of choice will not be accepted. If you prefer to have your medical decisions made by your personal physical you must designate that physician in advance. All you need to do is read, fill out, and follow the instructions on the form and give it to your head secretary and/or Human Resources. Contact Tris Carpenter if you need another copy of that form.
Please consider volunteering on any of multiple committees all of which have but one goal, to assist your colleagues, improve wages and working conditions.