IPSEN'S AGENCY SHOP RESPONDS TO LEADERSHIP CONCERNS
The latest missive from Steve Ipsen's Agency Shop appears to be crafted to allay the serious concerns that most DDAs have that Ipsen will continue to use the ADDA as a vehicle to attack the administration over his personal grievances.
Ipesn's missive poses the rhetorical question "If I don’t like the current ADDA Board’s direction or leadership, why should I support Agency Shop?" and suggests that if you "join as an active member" you will be able to have a voice in changing the disastrously irresponsible way that Ipsen has purported to represent all DDAs, even though he never had that mandate.
Cynics familiar with the way that Ipse's ADDA has vehemently berated those who disagree with him will take little comfort from the notion that suddenly, because all DDAs will be required to pay $906.40 a year in dues to Ipsen, things will change. Those with a more open mind might do well to read some of the threatening abusive comments posted on the Dragnet by Ipsen's followers.
The last open challenge to Ipsen's ADDA came from DDA Peter Burke. He wanted Ipsen to abide by the ADDA's bylaws and hold an election. A reasonable position, you might think. But rather than follow his own bylaws, Ipsen challenged Burke in a two costly and protracted lawsuits; both of which the ADDA lost.
The ADDA wasted an unknown amount of members dues on fighting a fellow DDA, and when the final ruling went against "the Ipsen way," the ADDA did claimed not have the $160,000 in legal costs awarded to Burke, having perhaps expended all members dues over the two-year litigation period with their own lawyers.
It was likely the "grossly irresponsible" way that Ipsen lead the ADDA down this path of financial ruin that cemented the three-year relationship with a "big labor" union, AFSCME. For it was AFSCME who came up with the funds necessary to prevent bankruptcy. Under the three-year bailout deal, 2/3rds of future dues will be paid to AFSCME to pay off the debt.
This latest missive fails to mention any of the established pattern of "the Ipsen way" of dealing with dissenting viewpoint.
Equally, the notion that becoming an "active member" will allow you to run for "an ADDA Board seat" fails to mention any commitment to hold open elections for the leadership positions, indeed any positions. While Ipsen's current Agency Shop election is being administered by the County of Los Angeles, future elections (if and when they occur) will be conducted in the "old fashioned way" with no independent oversight to ensure that all votes are counted, or that all members even receive ballots.
While Ipsen supporters have frequently bitterly criticized the Dragnet's open forum for discussion, it is notable that neither Ipsen personally, nor through his ADDA, has any type of blog or forum for discussion. A blog costs nothing, so it can hardly be the case that Ipsen is unable to provide such a forum for a two-way discussion.
All DDAs get are one-sided emails with the occasional "invitation" to attend a Board meeting to be either berated personally for voicing opposition, or sued for union busting. That's the Ipsen way, and there is nothing credible from Ipsen or his Board that appears to give DDAs any confidence that things will change.