Sunday, November 30, 2014
Which Way ADDA Pt.3 Debbaudt Defeats McGrath's "Special Membership Meeting"
Debbaudt succeeded in blocking a sneaky move by ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath that would have denied the rank and file a vote. On November 18, 2014, McGrath responded to pressure from the Dragnet to lay his cards on the table and state unequivocally whether he supported giving DDAs a vote on the future of the ADDA - one that remains hog-tied in an unholy alliance and allegiance to AFSCME, or one where the ADDA would be independent. In his response, McGrath stated that he wanted "a special membership meeting to be held on December 15th to allow all members of the union to make this decision." (See Which Way ADDA Pt 2 and scroll down to the 6:00am Update.)
Well that sounds fair enough, doesn't it? "A special membership meeting" where "all members of the union" get to decide? What could possibly be wrong with that? That's a rhetorical question, because there is a great deal wrong with a "special membership meeting."
If DDAs need any better example of why they need to vote to terminate AFSCME's right to take $365,000 a year in "union dues," it is the bald-faced lie that was fed to them by McGrath - an unashamed AFSCME supporter. The "special membership meeting" that McGrath attempted to orchestrate would have meant that a simple majority vote by 45 DDAs would have decided the issue. Under "union rules" McGrath only needed to have 23 DDAs to vote in favor of remaining hog-tied to AFSCME, and 850 DDAs would be "spoken for." McGrath apparently believed that he could round up enough votes to carry the day and deliver DDAs irrevocably into the hands of AFSCME.
McGrath's AFSCME "special membership meeting" was, apparently, within union rules allowing for such meetings to empower less than 5% of the membership to make irrevocable decisions for the majority. Thanks to efforts from Debbaudt, there will be no "special membership meeting," instead, much to the chagrin of McGrath and AFSCME, all members will be mailed ballots and will get to vote on whether to terminate AFSCME.
There many reasons why DDAs need to end their servitude to AFSCME. ADDA President Marc Debbaudt has listed many of them here, but surely the most compelling reason must be to put an end to kind of backroom underhand shenanigans like McGrath's "special membership meetings."
DDAs currently have no say in what their $365,000 in annual "union dues" is used for. AFSCME recently used DDA's dues to support Prop 47, a voter initiative that will result in responsibility for prosecuting 40,000 cases a year being taken away from the District Attorney's Office, and given to City Attorneys to prosecute as misdemeanors instead of felonies. It remains to be seen how that will impact the staffing requirements of the DA's Office, but by any rational analysis, it would appear that the need for felony prosecutors has been significantly diminished.
AFSCME also falsely used the ADDA's "Business Representative" to mislead law enforcement members into believing that DDAs supported an attack on PPOA, the Professional Peace Officers Association - another backroom underhand shenanigan that was perpetrated without the knowledge of DDAs.
AFSCME has a filthy reputation amongst law enforcement groups, one so unsavory that it prompted Alan Barcelona, President of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, not only to point out the number of AFSCME executives who have been convicted of corruption, but to pose the question, "why would anyone in law enforcement want to be represented by those kind of people?"
AFSCME, by its own actions over Prop 47, its abuse of DDA's relationship with PPOA, and McGrath's underhanded attempt to preempt and deny a full members vote, has proven that AFSCME is not a fit body to represent DDAs in any capacity. It is time to end the relationship and to allow Debbaudt not only to lead DDAs independently, but also to lower the annual dues currently exacted from DDAs, something he has committed to do.
On December 15, 2014, ADDA dues paying members will receive ballots allowing them to vote on which way ADDA: stay with AFSCME and continue to hand over $365,000 a year with zero results and even less accountability, or terminate AFSCME and end the dark clouds of the Ipsen-Seligman era, the shady McGrath attempt to end-run democracy, and finally get real representation and some value for money.