noted last week, the time is fast approaching for the Association of Deputy District Attorneys to decide whether to terminate their expensive, ineffective and unrepresentative relationship with AFSCME; the big labor organization that disgraced former ADDA Presidents Ipsen and Seligman courted to gain a bailout package arising from their mismanagement and personal agendas.
At the time that the ADDA Board proposed 'affiliating' with AFSCME, members were promised an "Escape Clause," an opportunity to end the 'affiliation' (don't you just hate the union jargon). Despite that promise, the Dragnet has learned that Seligman executed a secret "side letter agreement" with AFSCME that gives the ADDA Board the power to deny members a vote on whether to exercise the Escape Clause.
Under Seligman's side letter agreement, the ADDA Board Members can simply decide not to give members a vote on the Escape Clause. Such a decision would make the affiliation permanent, and there is basically no way out. DDAs would be locked into an unholy relationship with a big labor group that has already reneged on its promise not to drag the ADDA into political campaigns that are adverse to members - AFSCME supported Proposition 47, a poorly written, highly political voter initiative that will result in thousands of felons being released from state prison. AFSCME also used the ADDA's "Business Representative" to mislead members of the Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA) into believing the ADDA supported an attack on PPOA.
Although it would seem bizarre that the ADDA Board would actually pursue such an undemocratic course and deny its members the opportunity to vote, that appears to be highly likely. Simply put, there are only a handful of ADDA Board Members who support giving members the right to vote on the Escape Clause. The rest are either deeply entrenched big labor people, seduced by empty promises from AFSCME, or simply too scared to take a position that might upset AFSCME.
There are 11 members of the ADDA Board. Today, we look at members who appear to be in favor of democracy and giving DDAs the opportunity to vote.
President Marc Debbaudt has made no secret of his desire to terminate AFSCME - he campaigned on that very issue.
Vice President Michelle Hanisee: In her goals statement, the ADDA's newest Board Member says that she wants to "Improve ties with fellow law enforcement organizations." Such a position would indicate that she was probably not impressed with the way AFSCME behaved regarding their support of Proposition 47. Hanisee also wants to "Upgrade the ADDA website and establish ADDA email addresses to make it easier for members to communicate with the board." An indication, perhaps, that she supports a democratic ADDA that will be transparent and responsive to members' concerns.
Treasurer James Evans: In his goals statement he says that he will "Strive to make ADDA a completely independent association" and "Create alliances with all other law enforcement related associations/unions within the county." It's hard to imagine that Evans would oppose a members vote on the Escape Clause, given his stated goals.
Director Anthony Colannino: In his goals statement he says that "most of us became DDA’s because our internal make-up requires us to do what we believe is the right thing, regardless of cost."If doing the right thing means supporting democracy, then Colannino will allow members to vote on the Escape Clause.
Director John Harrold: His goals statement leaves no doubt as to his position "I believe the best decision and the wisest course of action is to exercise the “Escape Clause” and disaffiliate from AFSCME before it is too late."
What of the remaining six Board Members? Readers can take a look at their goals statements on the ADDA website and take a guess. We will return next week with our analysis of their likely positions.
Of course it is open to those Board Members to comment here and state their positions. Equally, if we have misstated or misunderstood the position of the five mentioned above, we welcome their comments.