Friday, September 21, 2012

ADDA hosts final DA candidates' forum

Downtown Los Angeles' National Center for the Preservation of Democracy provided the dynamic venue for the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys candidates' debate. It appears that the ADDA event was the last opportunity for Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson to go head to head before the November 6, 2012 election that will decide who will be LA's next District Attorney.

Newly appointed ADDA President Donna McClay opened the event by introducing Lacey and Jackson, as well as LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus, who moderated the debate with a mix of his own questions as well as those submitted by ADDA members.

ADDA President Donna McClay introduced Lacey and Jackson
and set the ground rules for the debate, moderated by LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus
Lacey and Jackson largely followed the same script from Wednesday night's Italian American Lawyers Association forum, however, the ADDA forum differed in terms of the candidates responses to questions of direct concern to the 1,000 plus Deputy District Attorneys.

As the Los Angeles Times published their account of the debate focused on the topics of most interest to voters, this post will concentrate on candidates' responses that will be of most interest to Deputy District Attorneys.

The first question unsurprisingly challenged the candidates as to how they would change the promotion process. With 290 Grade III Deputy District Attorneys currently eligible for promotion to Grade IV, moderator Gene Maddaus asked why it was that few of that number will actually be promoted?

Lacey answered that question by noting that Grade IV promotions can only be made when current Grade IV's either retire, promote or obtain judicial appointments. Because of the success of the DA's Office in terms of job satisfaction, Grade IV positions rarely open up, thereby limiting promotional opportunities. One change Lacey would implement when making promotions would be to broaden the criteria for promotion. Trial experience has historically been the benchmark criteria for promotion, but Lacey stressed that her administration would recognize those who excel in non-trial assignments.

Lacey went so far as to criticize the practice of promoting trial deputies to management positions, as the qualities that accomplished trial attorneys possess, often makes them a 'difficult fit' for management. Lacey pledged to make those who achieve in 'every segment' of the office eligible for promotion, but cautioned that she was not giving false hopes; ultimately the Board of Supervisors limits the number of Grade IV positions, and so while she would ensure that more DDAs have the opportunity to promote, there was little she could do in terms of increasing the number of promotions. Lacey also promised to increase 'transparency' in the promotion process so that DDAs have a better understanding of how and why promotions are made.

Jackson pledged to increase 'participation' in the promotion process by giving the ADDA the opportunity to provide input in the exam process. Jackson noted that while the Board of Supervisors requires an exam process, the Board does not dictate the content of the exam. The exams are 'onerous,' he said, especially where DDAs in some assignments have a better opportunity to prepare for exams than others who are often 'jammed' with the demands of their particular assignments. It's an indication, perhaps, that Jackson would favor less demanding exams, such as the Grade II exam format, to give all DDAs an equal chance to be considered for promotion.

Relationship with ADDA:
Maddaus stated that it's no secret that the current administration has not enjoyed a good relationship with the ADDA, how would the candidates change that?

Lacey said that once elected, she would want to 'sit down and talk' to the ADDA. She noted that she was the only candidate who has interacted with the ADDA, and that in the past year, she has seen the relationship with the ADDA improve.

Jackson took the opportunity to take a swipe at the administration in response to this question; he believes the relationship is 'broken' and that the ADDA should support his candidacy as one offering 'change.' He said he understood the 'frustration' of the ADDA in being excluded from participation in the assignment, transfer and promotion process. He also referred to the federal injunction and said that it 'has to be gotten rid of.'

Morale in the office:
Maddaus asked what the candidates would do to improve morale in the office?

Jackson rhetorically asked the audience if they would like to have Blackberrys, and noted that while most DDAs have cellphones capable of receiving email, he was confounded by the administration's reluctance to allow DDAs to send and receive office emails on their own smartphones. He also said that he would seek to expand the availability of 9-80.

Lacey's response was to question whether giving DDAs Blackberrys would actually improve morale. She noted that in her experience, giving things like Blackberrys does not improve morale and that in any case, the current budgetary constraints of the Office made that unlikely. Lacey reminded the audience of what she did when, in December of 2000, she became Director of Central Operations. At that time, she noted, there was a long line of DDAs begging to get out of Central Operations. Lacey detailed how she 'got to work' to improve morale by making leadership changes, changing filing and case settlement policies, and improving 'teamwork.'

Lacey stressed that 'it's relationship, not equipment' that improves morale, noting that in her four years as Director of Central Operations, her weekly meetings with managers turned Central Operations around, citing a 15% improvement in jury trial successes and that the line of DDAs seeking to get out of Central soon changed to a line of DDAs seeking assignments in Central. Many in the audience were 'in the trenches' of Central Operations when Lacey took over, and few would disagree that he did indeed improve morale.

'Open Door' policy:
Maddaus commented that it has been said that District Attorney Steve Cooley does not have an 'open door' policy, preferring DDAs to go through a military style chain of command rather than bring their concerns directly to him. Would the candidates change that?

Jackson stated that in his current assignment as Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division he has an open door policy and he would continue that as District Attorney.

Lacey said that she had always had an open door policy, and that a number of DDAs routinely 'drop in.' But Lacey also stressed that she also sees the need to empower Head Deputies and others in management to be able to 'handle issues.'

Management changes:
Maddaus asked the candidates what management changes they would make if elected as District Attorney.

Jackson said that he would not make any changes for at least six months, while he evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the Office. He said he would involve the ADDA in the process of making management changes.

Lacey said that she would make changes, without naming names. She understood that highly accomplished trial attorneys do not necessarily make the best managers, and stressed that as she now has twelve years in management, she already knows what changes need to be made.

Performance Evaluation - Steve Cooley:
Maddaus ended the evening with the six million dollar question; What was the candidates' biggest disagreement with Steve Cooley's management? 

Lacey declined to give specifics, however, she did state that she was often put in the position of being the person others would go to with their concerns. 'I'm the one they go to,' she said. They tell her 'You go in there and talk to him.' and she does, and he listens. But, she stressed 'He is the person the people of Los Angeles elected, and he gets to make the call.' Lacey added that she would hope to surround herself with people who will challenge her, she doesn't want 'a bunch of nodding heads.'

Jackson answered the question by criticizing Steve Cooley over his relationship with the ADDA, and in particular with the ADDA's former President Steve Ipsen. Jackson thought it was regrettable that the relationship had deteriorated to the point where lawsuits had been filed, and that he felt that the pending litigation could have been avoided.

In a rare request for rebuttal, Lacey countered that it is always 'tough managing prosecutors' who are, by their very nature 'opinionated and reluctant to concede that they might be wrong.' But on the specific issue of Steve Ipsen, Lacey said that the administration had 'tried its best' to resolve the issues. It just wasn't possible.  

The ADDA District Attorney Candidates' Forum ended with Lacey and Jackson shaking hands after what had been a very fast moving 90 minutes, thanks to Gene Maddaus' moderation.

The ADDA's forum provided DDA's with a glimpse of what to expect from their next DA. Whoever wins in November will have a very tough job ahead of them, not only living up to the legacy left by Steve Cooley's record three terms as DA, but also with the very serious budgetary challenges that face the Office and the people of Los Angeles County as we struggle to meet the challenges of realignment.

ADDA President Donna McClay has to be given kudos for what was a tremendously successful and very professionally organized event. It is unfortunate that more DDAs did not attend this event, but she too has a hard task ahead of her to redefine the ADDA's role and relationship with its members. This was a good start.

Former District Attorney Robert Philbosian was in the audience, and with his characteristic brevity of words, he cut to the chase and made his point with two questions; 'How many DDAs are there?' and 'How many were here tonight?' The answers; 1,000+, and about 100.



Anonymous said...

Thank you 'Joe' for providing DDAs with a report about the forum. Many DDAs were reluctant to go to the forum because firstly, they don't want to be seen as taking sides - choosing on candidate over another can have consequences if you back the loser. Second, there is also a reluctance to get involved with the ADDA because of the history of bad relations with the administration and the really poor example set by Ipsen and his associates. I notice from what you say about Donna McClay, that things may have improved, and if that is the case, then maybe the ADDA had grown up and become a body that can truly represent the rank and file - not the interests of the Ipsen people who always had their own agenda. As I am anonymous, I feel safe saying that I am voting for Jackie Lacey. I knew her in Central, and what she says she did for morale there is 100% true. I hope she wins and that AJ doesn't go all negative because he and those who support him, have to get along with Jackie if she wins, which looks very likely. Thanks again for giving us an insight and a voice.

Anonymous said...

Jackson blew any chance of getting ADDA approval with what he said about Ipsen. If any individual is responsible for the poor relationship between the ADDA, management and the rank and file, it is Ipsen. Why do you think that Ipsen had to resign as self-appointed president? He was the problem, not the ADDA. Jackson just showed that he doesn't know what he is talking about. Epic fail.

Anonymous said...

Clearly 2:14 pm is one of those people that starts spewing vitriol as soon as Ipsen's name comes up (just like Cooley) and 2:14 pm was unable to actually listen to Jackson's comments last night concerning this issue. Jackson merely acknowledged that both sides could have done a better job of handling this issue, and Jackson plans to repair that broken relationship with the ADDA if he's elected DA. And for the record, MANY former and current members of the ADDA (not just Ipsen) feel like they have been treated poorly by the Cooley Administration and they were appreciative of Jackson's remarks.

Anonymous said...

Ipsen may be an idiot and a scumbag, but Cooley should have exercised better judgment than to
abuse his power and tarnish the reputation of the DA's Office simply to exercise his personal vendetta against Ipsen. Cooley's thuggish behavior led to an extremely costly and embarassing federal lawsuit that benefitted absolutely no one except for the Jones Day attorneys who are defending the DA's Office and are racking up exorbitant legal fees at the taxpayers' expense.

Anonymous said...

There was a better way for the administration to handle Ipsen - they should have fired him years ago.

Anonymous said...

Trutanich is an asshole who was endorsed by Seligman.

Anonymous said...

I've been to all three debates and I have to admit that I am still torn between AJ and Jackie. I like them both, and both would be excellent DAs. This is a little bit like the Multistate portion of the Bar Exam; you are given 4 choices, one is obviously wrong (Nuch Trutanich) another is kinda sorta right (Danette) and the remaining two are both correct (AJ and Jackie) only one is a better choice. Ugh! Which one?

Anonymous said...

Here is the bigger issue. Now that Ipsen has been fired he is now serving as a criminal defense lawyer against our own DDAs in L.A. County. More interesting, is that he refuses to resign from the ADDA Board of Directors, and he has not been removed due to his obvious conflict of interest.

WTF! We pay for his defense, and the man who pretended to be an advocate for victims' rights is representing those accused of crimes. True someone has to do it, but not someone who is supposed to be representing my interests as a DDA with our union. He needs to go!

Anonymous said...

9:49pm I couldn't agree more! We are told that there's nothing wrong with Ipsen working as a criminal defense lawyer because "the guy's gotta feed his family." Total lame-ass, deep dish bullish-t! He's a lawyer, dammit! Was he tardy when they taught law in law school? Is taking up arms against his former colleagues the only thing he's qualified to do? Hasn't his alleged expertise in union organizing taught him anything about labor law, one of the most profitable areas of practice?

And there are some who have no problems with this. These same people also have approved payment of over $20,000 to Gene Salute, an Ipsen crony, to defend Ipsen. This money came from YOUR dues!

Well I have a big problem with this. One reason to have an ADDA is so there's someone in your corner when there's no one else to defend you. So that when the defense attorney you locked horns with is accusing you of misconduct and calling every administrator he knows to crush you, at least one organization led by your brethren has your back.

But in our case the guy with all the juice and green light power in that organization is - a freakin criminal defense lawyer. WTF!

I want to know why it's okay for someone to be both a criminal defense lawyer AND on the board of the union representing DDAs. I want to know why he can't do something else or take a f-cking leave of absence. But more importantly, I want to know why the cronies on the board of directors can't stand up for the line deputies in the trenches who take body blows for crime victims and justice on a daily basis. Why is one man's galling ambition more important than that?

Marc Debbaudt said...

PART ONE: ALADS and Probation, and virtually all the other unions, have MOUs that have been worked out over many many years. They choose to roll over probably because money is their big issue and money will not be on the table. Their big issue is not working conditions. However, I've heard that ALADS will be in negotiations in January, when their MOU expires.

For us, the big issues right now are non-economic ones: a meaningful transfer policy, assignment policy, retaliation policy, discipline policy, promotion policy, etcetera. These are not contained in our current MOU. Our MOU is bare bones, little more than a reflection of the general terms that are contained in every MOU in the county. There is also, perhaps, the monetary issue of new DDA salaries, primarily because the County admitted at the first Contract negotiations that the salary of new DDAs was a problem given their comparative study of other DA offices in California.

Perhaps you remember back when we last got raises. That was when when the County felt like giving us raises. Maybe you remember all those times when there were salary and promotion freezes. So when times were good they gave us scraps off their plate and when times were bad they gave us nothing.

Basically, back when we were represented twenty five years ago by SEIU we were the top paid prosecutors in the world. Then we decertified and relied on the kindness of strangers. We didn't move, and other Counties did, and now we find ourselves in a salary range considered below mid-level, despite the fact that we handle more cases per DDA and more serious and violent cases per DDA then any other county. We didn't descend, though it seems that way. Instead, the other counties ascended around us.

If you were satisfied by the scraps off the table when times were good, then why did we certify for a voice to bargain with? We should just wait for times to be good again and look at the County with puppy dog eyes and hope they toss us a bone. We should decertify because we only will negotiate in good times when the County will be willing to toss us a bone anyway. So, if your position is we should wait for good times to return, we don't need the bargaining unit. Why pay dues to a bargaining unit during the bad times just to wait for the good times when we don't need the bargaining unit? If we only bargain in good times, why do we need a bargaining unit?

Marc Debbaudt said...

PART TWO: It is said, in good times you bargain for money, and in bad, you bargain over non-economic working condition issues. That's what we should be doing now, because if money is ever on the table again, my guess is you will not care about the non-economic issues as much as for the payroll check bump. That's why we have to fight now on these non-economic issues.

The blogger gets the repeated "farming" analogy wrong in this way: In the real being-paid-not-to-farm stipend game, the "government" pays the farmer not to grow the crop. It has nothing to do with helping the farmer revitalize his soil. But here, you, the ADDA dues payers [the Farmer], not the government or the County, are paying your farm laborers (the union that works for the farmers) not to farm, and not because your soil is fallow, but because your farm laborers are recommending to you that they don't want to work. Why would you do that? You don't profit from that? You don't make money by doing nothing. YOU, not the government, is paying for AFSCME and your union to do nothing.

Why do they want to do nothing? They are afraid. They want to wait see if the new DA, whoever it is, will throw them scraps. They want to wait until the times change for the better. All of those arguments amount to one truth, if you buy into them, if you accept their reasoning, and that truth is that we don't need to continue to be a union if they are right. We can be afraid, wait and see, and hope we get scraps all without paying dues to an organization, an exorbitant amount of money, for doing nothing. Up to $900 per year per DDA and approximately $600,000 total per all DDAs.

The current leadership of our union wants to deal with the Administration with the following negotiation strategy: "Sir...Sir...Please, Sir, may I have some mooooorrre?" That's supposed to be Oliver asking for some porridge. Uh, that's just not what a union should be about. So, either, let's not have a union, and stop paying dues, or, let's have an election for new officers and directors, or lets get rid of the bargaining unit. And please, if that time ever comes where we have elections, vote me off.

As to the "wait to see who the new DA is" argument, well, if we indicate we will start negotiating now, the timing is clear that we will ultimately be negotiating with the new DA one way or the other. Further, if our hopes come true and the new DA showers us with kindness, do we need the union? Really, doesn't the union exist, in particular, for bad times?

Anonymous said...

1:33 am, Regardless of how anyone feels about Ipsen, you don't see a problem with automatically removing someone from the board of directors and NOT representing them regarding that firing? It sure makes it easy for management to "remove" a board director, even the president... all they have to do is fire the person. And exactly how is the ADDA protecting DDAs if they refuse to help them if they have been fired? You may not like the guy and I may not either but, like a criminal defendant, the ADDA has an obligation to it's members (Steve was one I presume) to make sure it was justified and that Ipsen has due process.

Marc Debbaudt said...

PART THREE: The principal argument of those who don't want to bargain is FEAR, THE FEAR OF THE WORST. Even if the current administration demands so-called "take aways" and forces us into impasse, because hopefully your leadership won't agree to that, in the remaining three months of this year, there is no law that prevents the next DA from reopening negotiations with us. In other words, we can always negotiate anew when the new DA takes over. Then we will see if they are the benevolent dictator the current Board leadership is hoping for.

Further, it has been explained to me that if impasse is forced, and usually it takes longer then a few months, after impasse there is what is called "fact finding" and then mandatory arbitration, and hearings. It would literally take them 1 1/2 to 2 years to impose the final terms amounting to "take aways" upon us. There is nothing immediate that this current administration can do to harm us that can't be worked out with the next administration, long before the impasse is ultimately imposed.

So, the "proceed cautiously" argument really amounts to never negotiating until things improve so that we fear nothing. Again, if that is the case, why do we need the union, when in good times the County will dole out scraps?

So, to answer the question whether it is my position that we should not use AFSCME as the lead negotiator, and that we should spend [your word was "waste"] money on an outsider negotiator, here's my answer.

First, you are paying dues. For what? AFSCME is getting $350,000 of your dues. For what? So, your money is clearly wasted if we do nothing. It is already adversely affecting your pocket book in bad times when you can use that money for at least something. You are paying significant dues for nothing.

Second, I think you pay those dues primarily to fund negotiations. Also, the left over dues money we don't pay AFSCME to do nothing is there to be spent for something. What? How about for getting the best negotiators? We have your money why not use it for what you want us to use it for? Shall we save it for a Rainey day? This is the rainey day! We should spend it to do what we were created to do--negotiate!

Third, I don't want to have representatives that have no clear vision, are afraid to negotiate, advise against negotiation, and are essentially weak and worthless, in my opinion, negotiate for us. Why do I want a negotiator who doesn't want to negotiate, any more than I would want to be paying a bargaining unit that doesn't bargain? If a defense attorney get paid one lump sum up front to handle a case, he earns more per hour when he settles the case then goes to trial. AFSCME earns more doing nothing, then going into negotiations and demonstrating to you that they are weak and can accomplish nothing. They are afraid of that. So, there advice not negotiate is fear based.

Anonymous said...

You know when I read Debbaudt’s post my first response was “What the hell, it’s an agricultural blog now?

So I scrolled down about a week’s worth of posts to discover an apparent spat going on about whether or not we go back to the bargaining table.

But first, put on dem’ bib overalls, time for the “farm report!” Marc, YOU apparently brought up, conflated and mangled this silly-ass “farm” analogy. In an apparent attempt to use YOUR flub to help you understand an opposing point of view, other posters started blurting diverse reasons why farmers are subsidized to not grow anything. Apparently according to the good’ ol Google, it’s a common practice, NOT an example of an absurdity. . .. as YOU were trying to present.

But alas, your flub of the “farm” analogy is more telling of a central problem with a lot of the posts from you I saw. You’re so driven to rage on the other side that you miss BIG OBVIOUS examples of what your opposition is trying to communicate. There are risks in bargaining. Once again, from the news, the google, and the other posters; its important to keep in mind that other public sector unions are being forced to give things up as everyone tries to manage in this great recession. Some local peace officer associations are even facing layoffs.

As to advancements in the “non-economic” workplace conditions that you say compel bargaining, you should have read Joe Friday’s write up of the ADDA forum/debate. This was a major part of that discussion, and it is apparent that there will be a change in management practices regardless of who wins. Hell, one guy is even talking about passing out Blackberries. By the way, Joe Friday also gave major props to ADDA President Donna McClay, which is breath of fresh air you missed.

Now, if you want to talk about wasting money in what we pay to AFSCME, I suggest you tread carefully on that one. It seems that the great, unwashed masses in your membership are more perturbed about the exorbitant amount of money you have endorsed spending on Steve Ipsen’s legal fees than they are about what you pay AFSCME.

Which brings us to the conclusion: Is this about DDA workplace issues or is this about YOU? You suspiciously spend an awful lot of type-space disparaging your opposition. Is there anything to gain or is this really about supplying you with a primal scream session so you can rage on a captive management team?

Marc Debbaudt said...

PART FOUR: My opinion. Why would I want our current leaders to be those who negotiate, when they don't want to and are afraid to? Also, contrary to all the prior touting of AFSCME Council 36 by our previous president, they are weak and crumbling and have not once demonstrated the leverage they claim to have. AFSCME Council 36 has no leverage. It's AFSCME International that has the leverage. Out of the $33 per DDA per month we pay Council 36, $13.00 of that goes to the International.

My ideal amounts to:
Immediate elections of officers and directors so that we have a new leadership that runs on a platform that specifically addresses negotiations so that you can vote for those who a) either want to do nothing but wait for good times, or b) those who know that a union was built for bad times--that way you basically choose the kind of union you truly want, and you get what you deserve
Enter into negotiations for improved working conditions like a meaningful transfer and promotion policy now, and not just take the meaningless policy that the administration is about to foist upon us unilaterally after conferring with the current union leadership's "Please, sir, moooooore?"
Independence from AFSCME Council 36, and a union where we at least keep our money when nothing happens, and not pay them to do nothing; or decertification.

The alternative is to wait another year or at least 8 months to even begin to negotiate, although chances are the economic times will not have recovered sufficiently and this current Board would once again vote to defer negotiations. Or, we get a new DA that is willing to make significant changes, then we don't need to negotiate and we don't need to pay dues.

Let's act like a union, be a union, and see what happens; or let's stop pretending. Obviously, this is just my opinion based on the fact that I am actually at these ADDA Board meetings and have been for a long time and have seen the thing evolve and because I try to think about the principles behind why we exist. I worked to make a union. I want a union. I support a union. But where is it? Even after all the work and time, there is a point where you might say, this is absurd. It's like the death penalty that our two DA candidates are afraid to condemn. There isn't one. There is no death penalty. The system is irreparably broken. Whether you want the death penalty or not, you have to agree that no solution is anywhere near the horizon. All we have is a system where the worst of the worst get the best accommodations while the victims languish in perpetuity.

Anonymous said...

10:51sm, Ipsen apparently mounted no defense and is apparently not doing much of anything now. I think the real issue is throwing good money after bad. At what point does someone have the courage to say "enough!"

Anonymous said...

Debbaudt your defense to the possibility of take-aways being forced on us during bargaining is that it might take a year and a half to two years to have them approved and ordered. Have you been asleep for the past four years? We were promised four years ago the economy would turn around. It hasn't

So in two years when the economy has not improved and we are facing imposed take-aways and the economy hasn't changed and everyone else is relieved that they're not us what are we supposed to do? Sprinkle Magic Pixie Dust?

Look at the morning papers. All public entities from the municipalities, to the state, to even community colleges are facing economic issues. Even the military faces severe cuts when the fiscal budget goes "off the cliff" at the end of the year. And polling shows this current election will not change any factor in national leadership that could change the economy.

Marc Debbaudt said...

Yeah, I guess I get carried away when trying to make my points. I was sharing a point of view. I definitely see the humor in the "agricultural blog" silly-ass farm analogy, so I went with it. I thought it actually helped clarify the debate. The absurdity was not that the government pays the farmer to do nothing, but that the farmer, you, pays the ADDA to do nothing. Sorry I lost you with that one.

Yes, obviously, there are risks in bargaining. I guess what I discussed failed to overcome your fear. I think that's how fear works. It's disguises itself as prudence and wisdom. So, riddle me this, why should we continue to be a union? You don't want to negotiate and you don't want to represent anyone you don't like or think is controversial.

I'm pleased with how the forum went, too. But the ADDA did forums, plebiscites and Dinners of the Year before they were ever a certified bargaining unit [CBU]. We don't need enormous dues or to be a CBU to do those things. I'm talking about negotiating which is why we are a dues paying a CBU. I don't think I'm missing what I consider to be the most important thing, which is why we exist at all.

I actually addressed this before, but as of this date, little money, if any, has been spent on Ipsen. The Board authorized funds to assist in a Civil Service appeal, and the time for that appeal has passed. So as of this time no "exorbitant amount of money" has been spent on Steve Ipsen’s legal fees. However, I can't say it any better than blogger 10:51 am's response to 1:33 am.

I guess no matter what I say it will be impossible to get away from the fact that I am saying it. I thought it might have more integrity to so so openly and not anonymously. I hoped I was sharing reasons which you, obviously, may or may not agree with, and that it might be important to you to hear the Board minority viewpoint. This is about DDA workplace issues and is not about me. I also thought I should respond to the anonymous criticism since it helped clarify the debate.

I don't think it is suspicious, but yes, I thoroughly disagree with my opposition. I have given my reasons, no doubt you will be hearing directly from the Board. I don't have access to their email database. It's not that I don't think they are nice and good people. Certainly Donna is a nice person, no question about that, and she and the others did a good job on the forum. l'm addressing and disparaging their thinking on negotiating, not their humanity.

"Is there anything to gain or is this really about supplying you with a primal scream session so you can rage on a captive management team?" Who is the captive management team. You, if you are a member, will get to vote on whether we negotiate or not. That means there is something to be gained. Your vote for or against negotiating. You seem to not mind paying the dues and prefer to do nothing but wait for good times to return and hope for a benevolent DA. The current one promised a lot in a relatively infamous letter to the troops. Maybe we should just wait to see what the next DA does and, if so, we just don't need to pay dues to a union anymore.

Marc Debbaudt said...

Both sides must agree to roll over and extend the MOU. It goes two ways. If the contract expires and the County wants to do take aways because the times get worse, they won't agree to roll overs. Right now, they aren't willing to give out more money, and the other unions don't have anything they need to battle over in terms of working conditions since their MOUs cover most if not all their working condition issues. Hence roll overs. If things get worse and the County wants take aways, that will happen and there's no stopping it, and all the unions will be facing them inevitably. But, hey, I get it. Fear rules. So, why pay dues to the union since you fear worse times ahead and believe, therefore, that there is nothing the union can do for you? Let's get our dues money back.

Anonymous said...

Your 5:34pm post was thoughtful and you manage to roll back the venom a little. After reading your 6:32pm post I am a little concerned that you're about to go off again. So while everyone else is growling I thought I'd chime in.

Now, this is not criticism, just an irony check. At the risk of re-introducing the whole Ipsen debate (it was terribly tangental to the discussion and Ipsen makes for an awful "victim"), it does provide a conclusive answer to your most important question: "So, riddle me this, why should we continue to be a union? You don't want to negotiate and you don't want to represent anyone you don't like or think is controversial."

Marc the answer is right in front of your face. Lets set Ipsen aside for a moment (as I said he makes for an awful victim and the type of trouble he got himself into is of such a mind boggling exotic and controversial nature few others could step in it that way . . . . lending your badge to a sex offender, really?).

What about the rest of us? Those of us who haven't lent our badges to sex offenders and who run into run of the mill problems. The supervisor who doesn't understand the distinction between "hourly" and "salaried" employees; the judge who uses contempt powers as a calendar management tool; the wealthy and influential defense lawyer who complains to your supervisor to game the system.

The ADDA should be providing support in THOSE situations and THAT is a sign of a true union. Here's the project you should be working on. You know, I'll even give you this one to you for free, I'm an anonymous poster so your welcomed to take credit for the idea.

The guy who sold me my auto insurance sent me a business card with my policy number and his contact info on one side, and a checklist on the other. The checklist tells you what to do if you have been in an accident. For a business card, it is amazingly thorough. But its also impressively compact. Fits right in my wallet. Damn smart idea!

I think the the ADDA should be providing the same type of card. On one side, a list of numbers detailing who you should call depending on the type of trouble your in (administrative, contempt, bad evaluation, etc.) and on the other side a checklist to go through to preserve the record and your rights. We'll call it "the Marc Card, don't go to work without it!"

Its the example of the type of service the union should be providing and you can take credit for it.

As to bargaining, I think the person who pointed out the obvious got it right. The federal government, the state, local politics, its all going to be the same the day after the election. But two changes are certain. #1. We have a new ADDA President who is weeks into her tenure. #2. After the first week of November we will have a new District Attorney.

We're not trying to be cowardly, Marc. Its just alot of us would like to know what will happen when these two finally have an honest opportunity to work together. Hopefully, they will each let go of the wreckage of the past and reach for the opportunity of the future.

Is it too much to ask you for that?

Anonymous said...

Hell! I'm feeling soooooo fuggin generous that I will offer up one last thing . . . free of charge because I'm anonymous. I challenge each District Attorney candidate AND The ADDA President to offer up his or her own version of a "Prosecutor's Bill of Rights." A list of bedrock rights each prosecutor enjoys when he or she goes into battle for the PEOPLE. Lets do it before the plebiscite.

Hey Joe Friday you can also pipe in and state what you think is important. You worked for a politically opportunistic and abusive boss, so your perspective is very valuable. C'mon. Let's see what you have to say!

Anonymous said...

11:12PM I doubt Friday will pipe in, but I also wish he would. We owe him for taking such a huge personal risk in so publicly attacking Trutanich. Can you imagine what life would be like now if that asshole had made it into the run off, or worse 'won this thing in the primary' like he promised he would? So how about it Joe, you've shown your not afraid, hell, letting this blog publish ADDA stuff is pretty risky, so what is your perspective? And as for the ADDA, isn't it time you put something like this on your website? Last time I looked it hadn't been updated in ages. Isn't the ADDA website the place where this discussion should be taking place? If it were not for Marc we would be in the dark.

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't want this blog or the comments to focus on Debbaudt but just a couple of observations. Mark, you talk about fear and throw the term around rather loosely. Its a very convenient way to marginalize those you disagree with, however there are times when it is best to sit this one out. Even you choose to settle your law suit rather than risk a smaller award from a trial. Now you can say that your settlement was a victory, however if principle and not money was the issue, why not expose the administrations actions in public forum. You provide a good example of when choosing not to fight was the best choice. Which brings me to my second point, it is easy for you to sit back and play a game of chicken with the county, because financially you can absorb any economic hits better than most other DDA's. The fact is most deputies would have gladly put up ot being assigned to juvenile for the pay day you received.

Marc Debbaudt said...

I think it is fear, but I have pretty much made my point and have little to add. I get how this forum turns to personalities rather than the substance of the reasoning. Yes, ultimately I chose to settle, but I settled simultaneously with the union itself at the advice of the attorneys who represented not only myself, but the other two pending litigants. The attorneys were a team and they all urged me to settle. One of the other litigants also told me to take the deal. Also, I took a friend with me to tell me what to do, cause I figured I would not be able to see straight when dollars were thrown at me. Still, it was ultimately me who had to say yes or no. As to exposing the administration, I guess under your theory the union itself also caved as far as exposing the administration. However, two others still have their case pending and I have met with their attorneys and have been told I am a principle witness, so that effort hasn't changed at all. So, exactly how am I failing to help the effort to expose the Administration? Frankly, your better argument that I am somehow above the economic fray and therefore indifferent to the plight of my fellow DDAs is not my monetary settlement, because after taxes and attorney's fees it isn't what you might imagine, not that I am complaining. 450 becomes 250 after attorney fees, which when added to my salary becomes 130 after taxes. I'm not complaining. If I am so indifferent why do i keep suggesting that paying dues to a bargaining unit not to bargain is troubling to me? My points has been, be a union, or let's stop paying dues. I'm good with either way. The other term of my settlement, though, and perhaps more telling, is that I can only be transferred to two other locations as a Grade IV Calendar Deputy. So, possibly, the bargaining for a meaningful transfer policy does not affect me like it does others. Curiously, why am I then so I passionate about pushing our Union to fight for a true transfer policy? Hummmm? I think from the outside, compared to those who don't participate at Board meetings, as all members are welcome whether seated as Directors or not, creates a curious opportunity to speculate about personalities to undermine the points being made. I have not attacked anyone personally on the Board or on this forum, since we don't know anyones names. At best I attack the arguments of the anonymous. That's not personal, is it? Yes, I am attacking the Board's decision not to negotiate and not to fight for a meaningful transfer policy, and I call it fear based, and as, as you pointed out, there are reasons why I am not afraid. Does that mean fear should be the key to our decision. If so, you win the argument.