July 2014

On 7/15/14 the ADDA Board of Directors convened at a regularly scheduled meeting.

Please note that at the end of this update I will provide in detail the resolutions which the Board passed concerning the issue of “Withdrawal” or “Disaffiliation” from AFSCME.

The following update concerns general matters discussed at the regularly scheduled Board meeting.

CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS: Your Board has begun to discuss and address preparations for the negotiation of our next MOU/Contract with the County. Besides hiring consultants, we are beginning extensive research so that we are as informed as humanly possible and ready to present our positions in the best possible light in order ensure our success. Soon, some of that research will be presented to you in our membership emails which tentatively will be entitled “DID YOU KNOW?”  These emails will consist of short statements of fact from the Board, with perhaps a little more explication beneath, which will serve to compare and contrast the circumstances of the DDAs in this office with other Departments and other Counties, etcetera. We want our members to be fully informed of our situation in order to increase their support of our efforts. If any of you are interested in assisting us with this effort, please contact me. This, above all else, is what the ADDA Bargaining Unit is all about!

The Board voted to purchase and disseminate a booklet containing our current MOU so all members will know its terms and their rights.  The MOU can be found on our website at laadda.com.

COMMUNICATION: The Board, thanks to the efforts of Director Eric Siddall, Chairperson of the Communications Committee, and Directors Bobby Grace and John Harrold, have selected Cerrell Associates Inc., initially at AFSCME expense, to serve as our communications consultant. Cerrell is a successful public affairs and public relations firms that will help your Board develop strategies both to shape public opinion and influence the decision-making process of the Board of Supervisors in our effort to advance the interest of DDAs.

BY-LAWS RATIFICATION: All full dues paying members should have received ballots by now on the ratification of new By-Laws which was required by our affiliation agreement with AFSCME. There’s are some interesting changes reflected in them which we have explained in emails and the materials we included with the ballots. One of those terms is the right of the Board to reduce dues, not raise them, without the need for a membership vote.

SCROLLS: I am told that at the next Saturday Seminar the ADDA’s new scroll will make its first appearance, and that we will possibly even deliver scrolls to those honorees who have long been awaiting them.

BONUS PAY: A committee is still researching the “bonus pay” for service in Lancaster issue. Our intention when we fully understand it, is to send an email out explaining how it works and to determine whether it has been applied fairly to DDAs. Hopefully we will have that done soon.

PENSIONABLE CAP: You may not be aware, because the issue applied solely to those hired before 1996, but the DA Administration and the ADDA recently sent a collaborative email to all DDAs affected by the recurring “Pensionable Cap” waiver conundrum.  I want to thank both Assistant DA Pam Booth and ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath who worked hard and quickly under a relatively short deadline to figure out the issue and communicate information gathered from the CEO’s office to the DDAs directly affected by this matter.  Thank you both!

GENERAL COUNSEL The Board agreed to hire the law firm of Green & Shinee to be our General Counsel.  Richard Shinee, Senior Partner, represents ALADS. ALADS funded Green & Shinee when the County battled our right to be an independent Bargaining Unit.  We prevailed. Subsequently, Shinee represented us at ERCOM and prevailed on the PERSA performance evaluation complaint. That is now in the process of an appeal. Shinee also represented us on the unfair labor practice complaint against the former DA and prevailed. That decision was overturned due to emails exchanged between the hearing officer and the executive director. It was then remanded to ERCOM for a new hearing which is pending and the subject of ongoing negotiations

Richard Shinee will be advising us on all matters of labor related law as well as will prepare the long overdue ADDA DFR [Duty of Fair Representation] policy.

ENDORSEMENT: We endorsed Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Thomas J. Griego for judge in the upcoming general election. Griego is running against criminal defense attorney Andy Stein {Andrew M. Stein} who, in the primary, utilized the ballot designation “Gang/Homicide Attorney.”  The Board previously endorsed Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner who, unfortunately, did not make it to the run off.

AWARDS DINNER: Our DDA Awards Dinner, organized by the indefatigable Director Bobby Grace, is scheduled for this October. More information and the exact date will be forthcoming. Leave October open. This should be the best yet!

BOARD OF SUPERVISOR’S FORUM: More information from ADDA Vice President James Bozajian on the 3rd District Board of Supervisor Forum we are planning concerning the runoff between Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver will be posted soon. The Board has not yet decided whether to endorse in this election or who to endorse, but it is too important to all of you not to learn as much as we can. Stay tuned.

OUTREACH: The Membership Outreach Committee has finished the Town Hall Forums and will soon begin follow-ups as requested by various members. Director Craig Gold and Business Representative Tris Carpenter and other Directors have worked hard to commence direct communications with all members in order to directly answer concerns and address problems.  This effort is just beginning, and there will be more to come.

LIABILTY FOR DEVICES: The ADDA is in ongoing discussion with the ADDA Administration on what we term the Laptop Liability issue, what has now expanded into the Electronic Devices Liability issue, in terms of DDA responsibilities. More on that to come.

DISAFFILIATION ELECTION

On 7/15/14 the Board began to prepare for the decision whether or not to withdraw from our affiliation with AFSCME or to permanently merge into AFSCME.

As you know, when I ran for President I expressly declared that my immediate goal was to ensure that full dues paying members of the ADDA will get to vote on whether to be permanently merged into AFSCME or to disaffiliate. If you’ve read the President’s Page on our laadda.com website, I began to outline the process.

The terms of the ADDA Affiliation Agreement with AFSCME provide a very limited window, which occurs this December, only months away, to exercise the provisions that have been called the “Escape Clause.”

In order for that to occur smoothly and with full compliance with our Affiliation Agreement, I believe preparations must begin immediately.

Pursuant to the ADDA-AFSCME AFFILIATION AGREEMENT Side Letter on Implementation dated May 5, 2011, paragraph 2, Withdrawal from Affiliation:

“ADDA will have an opportunity to reconsider the permanency of affiliation three (3) years after successful implementation of agency shop for the ADDA bargaining unit (for the purpose of the provision “successful implementation” shall mean the date the ADDA begins to receive agency fee payments)…”

Ms. Cheryl Parisi, Executive Director, AFSCME District Council 36, previously confirmed to the Board that “the first agency fee was received in the pay period commencing Dec 15, 2011.” Therefore, the three year date for reconsideration of our affiliation begins December 15, 2014.

“Any such reconsideration shall be valid only if it occurs during the first sixty (60) day period after the relevant third year.”

By the terms of the Agreement, the decision whether to disaffiliate or permanently merge must be made by Friday the 13th of February, 2015. However, in reality, pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, once the decision to reconsider is formally made, the timing is much, much shorter than 60 days. When the resolution for withdrawal commences, there is only a 30 day window to complete the process.

“The vote to withdraw from the affiliation shall be held … during the sixty (60) day period … [When] the ADDA Board of Directors approves a withdrawal resolution that shall be subject to a membership vote to affirm or reject the withdrawal no more than 30 days thereafter…”

Therefore, when we commence the “withdrawal resolution” process, the time period in which everything must be completed is within 30 days, not 60 days. As it turns out that 30 day window occurs in the heart of the holidays, Christmas, when the Board itself, as well as our members, are distracted, busy, vacationing, etcetera. This, of course, provides all the more reason for advance preparation.

“AFSCME will be afforded the right to address the Board and the membership prior to any such votes being taken.”

It appears clear from the terms of the Agreement that the Board of Directors of the ADDA could, unilaterally, decide not to approve a “withdrawal resolution” and deny the membership the right to vote. Pursuant to the Side Letter on Implementation and within this 30 day period, AFSCME will have the right to communicate directly with the Board to persuade the Board to unilaterally make this decision and not provide dues paying membership with their right to vote on this issue. Furthermore, AFSCME will have the right to communicate directly with you, the membership, obviously to persuade you to vote against the resolution to withdraw from affiliation. Of course, this will only happen should the Board pass the resolution and submit it to the membership for their vote.

Given my platform, I, obviously, believe that would be a huge mistake and an unacceptable denial of democracy to the dues paying members of the ADDA and I hope that the Board, at the appropriate time, will choose to affirm the right of the membership to make this important decision. In my opinion the membership should have the ultimate right to decide whether to permanently affiliate or to withdraw/disaffiliate. While I am hopeful that the Board will unanimously agree to provide the members with their right to vote whether to disaffiliate or to merge permanently into AFSCME, clearly AFSCME has a contractual right to dissuade the Board.

Because we have legal and contractual obligations to AFSCME, and acknowledging the interest that AFSCME has to ensure permanent affiliation, I believe it is important that the Board proceeds cautiously and with legal advice to ensure that we completely fulfill all of our obligations to AFSCME. Also, should our membership vote to permanently affiliate or to disaffiliate, and in recognition that there may be divided factions in our office on this issue, I want to ensure that we have no breach that will impair in any way the final outcome.

Given these realities, on 7/15/14 at our regularly scheduled meeting the ADDA Board voted to adopt the following resolutions

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE ADDA HEREBY RESOLVES:

1.  In compliance with the terms of ADDA-AFSCME AFFILIATION AGREEMENT Side Letter on Implementation dated May 5, 2011, paragraph 2, Withdrawal from Affiliation, the “withdrawal resolution” will be Agendized for a vote to occur on the regularly scheduled Tuesday, December 16, 2014, Board Meeting. All members are entitled to and will be invited to attend that meeting. Reminders and notice will be disseminated several times far in advance of this date.

2.  The Board further resolves that at that Board meeting, and prior to the vote of the Board, in full compliance with the terms of the agreement, AFSCME will be invited to address the Board.

3.  The Board further resolves that on that date, 12/16/14, a vote will be held after AFSCME addresses the Board to submit to the voting membership the decision to remain permanently affiliated with AFSCME or to disaffiliate from AFSCME.

4.  The Board further resolves that on 12/16/14, assuming the Board passes the “Withdrawal resolution” to submit the matter of withdrawal to the voting membership, the Board will vote to immediately distribute to the membership appropriate ballots concerning adoption of the “withdrawal resolution.”

5.  The Board further resolves that the ballots and ballot materials, including pro and con statements, shall be ready for distribution on that day, so that they are mailed out Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 along with the ballots and without delay.

6.  Furthermore, this will serve as notice of a Special Meeting on January 6, 2015 to address any and all problems and last minute issues that may arise. The Board further resolves that ballots will be counted and tabulated on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015, commencing at 6:00 p.m. Subsequent to tabulation of the vote the Board will convene on January 6th, 2015 to approve, adopt and ratify the membership vote.

7.  The Board further resolves that immediately following the Board ratification of the vote of the membership, and assuming that Disaffiliation prevails, the Board will then immediately convene to discuss and vote on necessary interim business items in order to implement a system that will replace AFSCME and assure the continued functioning of the Board. Those items will be Agendized prior to the January 6th and January 13th, 2015 meetings.

8.  The Board further resolves that this will also serve as notice of a Special Meeting to be held on Tuesday, January 13th, 2015, if necessary, to transition the ADDA and to address any items of business necessary to assure the continued functioning of the ADDA.

9.  The Board further resolves that in order to ensure that a quorum exists, and that no efforts are made to thwart a quorum for strategic purposes given the contractual timing and financial issues involved, no excuses will be accepted by any Board member for failure to attend any of the meetings, special, telephonic or regular, noticed herein or to be noticed concerning this subject matter. The membership will be immediately informed of the decisions of the Board via email and will be informed of the failure of any Board member to attend any and all of the respective meetings.

10.  The Board further resolves, given the importance of this determination to the future of the ADDA, that the membership has a right to know how each Officer and Director stands on these issues. Therefore votes cast by each individual Board members on each of these items will be made public and disseminated to the membership.

11.  The Board agrees to retain an attorney to review the affiliation contract and assist with our preparations to assure we are in compliance.

12.  The Board agrees that the membership list will be scrutinized to ensure that past balloting problems be reduced as much as is humanly possible.

13.  The Board agrees to hire an independent agency to assist with the balloting so that both this Board and AFSCME will be above criticism in the tabulation of ballots.

Marc Debbaudt
ADDA President