Friday, October 31, 2014
ADDA Board believed set to deny members vote over continued AFSCME payments
Former ADDA Presidents, Steve Ipsen and Hyatt Seligman, had much in common. They both had laughable political aspirations to become District Attorney, they both had lackluster careers bedeviled with scandals, they both abused their positions as ADDA President to serve their own interests, and it now seems that they both screwed the 1,000 LA County Deputy District Attorneys over false promises as to the cost of unionization.
They are both no longer Deputy District Attorneys. Ipsen was forced to 'step down' as ADDA President before he was fired for gross misconduct. In his wake, Ipsen summarily appointed Seligman to carry on his dirty work; cementing a relationship between the ADDA and AFSCME, a 'big labor' organization that both believed would further their political aspirations. Seligman stepped down as President due to failing health, ultimately succumbing to a terminal illness.
But despite the fact that both are no longer part of the DA's Office, the legacy of their self-serving treachery lives on. It now looks like a majority of the 11 members of the ADDA Board are going to rubber stamp their treachery and deny Deputy District Attorneys the promised opportunity to decide whether to terminate the very expensive 'affiliation' with AFSCME - the 'big labor' organization that recently betrayed the ADDA by falsely representing that the ADDA supported a union membership raid on the Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA), and by reneging on a promise not to support political campaigns that did not have a 'labor-related issue,' specifically, AFSCME has supported Proposition 47 which not only lacks a labor-related issue, but flies in the face of the ADDA's stated opposition to Prop 47.
When Ipsen first brokered the deal with AFSCME, it was not because AFSCME was the kind of organization that could further the interests of Deputy District Attorneys. It was simply because AFSCME was willing to write a check for around $160,000.00 in legal fees that Ipsen and Seligman had incurred because they violated the ADDA bylaws. AFSCME, apparently, was keen to gain credibility by being able to brag about representing a law enforcement organization; perhaps a prelude to their botched raid on PPOA.
The deal Ipsen brokered, and Seligman consummated, was represented to members as a simple one; AFSCME would bail out Ipsen and Seligman's debts in return for four years of bleeding Deputy District Attorneys with 'union dues.' At the end of the four years, ADDA members would be able to vote to either continue paying AFSCME for basically nothing, or do the sensible thing and end the relationship.
The time for that four year vote is drawing close. But surprisingly, plans for a members' vote are not being formed. The Dragnet has learned that after Seligman sold the deal to members, and after he signed the contract with AFSCME in the terms DDAs were led to believe would give them the 'get out after four years' option, Seligman then secretly signed a 'side letter' with AFSCME. The side letter does not give Deputy District Attorneys the direct right to vote to end the relationship with AFSCME. Rather, the side letter says that Deputy District Attorneys only get to vote if a majority of the ADDA Board allows them to have a vote.
If there is no vote to end the AFSCME arrangement, it becomes permanent; there is no way out short of a complicated 'decertification' process.
There are 11 ADDA Board Members, many of them are holdovers from the Ipsen-Seligman era, and are understood to either be in favor of denying the vote, or too scared to take a position potentially against AFSCME by allowing the vote. Perhaps some of them see their futures as being benefited by becoming part-time Deputy District Attorneys and supplementing their income by securing part-time salaried positions as union representatives for AFSCME; a plan that is understood to be 'on hold' until after the deadline for the AFSCME get out clause has lapsed.
ADDA President Marc Debbaudt has made no secret of his position; he wants to end the AFSCME arrangement. That was his campaign promise, and unlike his predecessors, Debbaudt is a man of his word. In the four years that AFSCME has extracted union dues from DDAs, there has been little benefit flowing back to DDAs. AFSCME did absolutely nothing to secure the cost of living increases that the Board of Supervisors offered; there was no negotiation, the Board of Supervisors announced what would be paid by way of cost of living adjustments, and the ADDA accepted it.
The only tangible benefit AFSCME provides in return for the $365,000.00 it receives from DDAs in union dues is the provision of Tris Carpenter, the ADDA's "Business Representative" who misrepresented DDAs at a secret meeting held by AFSCME where they tried to poach PPOA members.
What happened to the promises that were made by Ipsen and Seligman as to AFSCME giving DDAs more bargaining power over workplace issues, like having to go through security screening at courthouses alongside defendants and their family members? How about more vacation time, sick pay, and stipends for MBA programs? All that stuff very quickly forgotten, it seems. Just empty promises from a pair of liars and a big labor group that represents interests adverse to most DDAs.
Of course the biggest lie now seems to be the promised get out clause. It is now up to DDAs to insist that the Board abides by its promise and allows DDAs to decide this issue. Silence is not an option, the legacy of lies must end.