Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Which Way ADDA? Pt 4 - Disaffiliate!

The battle lines appear to be drawn clearly ahead of the December 15, 2014 ADDA Board Meeting.

On one side, a group of "holdovers" from the dark days of the Ipsen-Seligman era. They are headed by ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath who recently tried and failed to hold a "special membership meeting." This proposed meeting was nothing short of a shambolic attempt to deny DDAs their democratic right to vote to get rid of AFSCME; the big labor group that has taken $1M in dues from DDAs, and given nothing in return.

On the other side, the "new ADDA," headed by President Marc Debbaudt, together with Board Members brave enough to stand up to McGrath and the deceitful antics of AFSCME. Debbaudt was elected as ADDA President on a platform committed to terminating the ill-conceived relationship with AFSCME, and make the ADDA a truly independent body free to decide on its affiliations and endorsements. Debbaudt urges members to attend the December 15, 2014 meeting to ensure there are no surprises and to hear all the reasons for and against disaffiliation.

A majority of the ADDA Board appears to support Debbaudt's position: It is time to say "thanks and goodbye" to AFSCME. In the three years that AFSCME has purported to represent DDAs at an annual cost of $365,000, there is nothing to show for the $1M in member dues that has flowed to AFSCME.

Worse, AFSCME recently provided the best evidence as to why DDAs should not be represented by a big labor group that ignores the interests of DDAs, in favor of AFSCME's agenda.

AFSCME actively supported and endorsed Proposition 47 despite assurances that AFSCME would not get involved in "non labor related" political issues, and despite their knowledge that the ADDA was opposed to Prop 47.

There are many other reasons why AFSCME is "not a good fit" for the ADDA, but it boils down to this; the original reason for associating with AFSCME was the a result of gross mismanagement by Steve Ipsen and Hyatt Seligman. It's time to put that shameful period in the past and move forward.

McGrath offers no persuasive reason for remaining indentured to AFSCME. His arguments amount to simply "better the devil you know, than the devil you don't know." But the reality is that if members vote to disaffiliate, they will have the opportunity to be independent or to choose from associating with any number of larger organizations who better represent the interests of law enforcement and professionals.

Remaining affiliated with AFSCME is a one way street; there is no way out. There will be no future opportunity to leave AFSCME. If, by some frankly unforeseeable circumstance, the decision to disaffiliate proves to be wrong, there is no down side; the ADDA can always go back to AFSCME - they won't say "No" to $365,000 a year in dues, and neither will other groups who will do more for the ADDA than AFSCME ever did.

Bottom line: AFSCME was a bad deal. It's time to move on.



Marc Debbaudt said...

Get this. In one of their pro-AFSCME emails, they claim that the ADDA missed its opportunity to persuade AFSCME not to endorse Prop 47. So, they blame their endorsement of Prop 47 on us. You can go to read about this more at As an example they claim that the Doctors were able to persuade AFSCME to oppose Prop 46. So, see how AFSCME can be persuaded. This is rich with AFSCME lies. If you don’t know, supporters of Prop. 46 referred to it as the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act of 2014. It was named after two children who were killed by a driver under the influence of alcohol and who abused prescription drugs. It required drug and alcohol testing of doctors and reporting of positive tests to the California Medical Board. It required the California Medical Board to suspend doctors pending investigation of positive tests and take disciplinary action if the doctor was found impaired while on duty. It required health care practitioners to report any doctor suspected of drug or alcohol impairment or medical negligence. It required health care practitioners to consult the state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain controlled substances. I find it fascinatingly contradictory to their argument that they actually included this as part of their defense and proof that they were not to blame as to their endorsement of Prop. 47. Why? Endorsing Prop. 47 was endorsing an anti-law enforcement proposition. Ironically, opposing Prop. 46 was opposing a pro-law enforcement proposition. They are two sides of the same coin. So the positions taken by AFSCME on both these propositions are consistent as AFSCME ultimately chooses anti-law enforcement every time. In other words, AFSCME opposed Prop 46 a pro-law enforcement proposition. What is really hard to believe is that they now argue this as a justification for the ADDA wasting their time, at great expense to you, to attend AFSCME's anti-law enforcement conventions on the off chance an unknown proposition, Prop. 47, which directly affected you all, would pop up on their undisclosed agenda and we would be there to debate it and ultimately lose. That's ludicrous! Now, here’s a good question: Do you really want AFSCME to continue—forever—to represent you when they so obviously distort the truth, like about why they agreed to oppose Prop. 46? AFSCME was never going to embrace Prop. 46. The measure would have created the first law in the United States to require the random drug testing of physicians. There is no way they would ever embrace that. It had nothing to do with the persuasive powers of the physicians. Do you really want AFSCME to continue to represent you—forever—when they feel you are not intelligent enough to see through their transparently ridiculous spin?
Marc Debbaudt, President of ADDA

Anonymous said...

Marc, perhaps you should preface your emails by saying "sorry, I didn't have time to write a short email." We all get it - AFSCME lied about Prop 47, it has no labor-related aspect but they supported it over the ADDA's stated position.

Prop 47 probably has the support of the vast majority of AFSCME's membership - they likely have friends and family who are felons, if they aren't convicted felons themselves. That's because AFSCME is basically a blue collar union. It's members have little in common with ADDA members. As Berger says, "it's a bad fit"

Enough said?

Anonymous said...

Mark, you and Berger provide the most persuasive argument for remaining affiliated with AFSCME. Neither of you can be trusted to provide accurate/truthful information on the issue. Berger, you engage in bright yellow journalism. Hopefully the truth does not get lost in the cases you prosecute as it does in your blog. Mark, you make long convoluted arguments with a smattering of facts to support your arguments. Prop 46 was an effort by plaintiffs attorneys to raise the cap on medical malpractice awards and the rest of it was fluff. Your argument is total bs. I'm no fan of AFSCME, but you make the case for staying with the devil you know. There are several good and honorable ADDA board members, but the board as a whole has not shown a level of leadership that shows it will be effective on its own. Mark, what exactly has the union done for DDA's? Why should anyone believe the ADDA as a stand alone will be effective in promoting issues of importance to DDA's? Why exactly should I be paying dues to any union?

Anonymous said...

7:53am, why don't you be a little more specific as to where Marc or Berger have been untruthful? Contrary to your ad hominem attacks, the Jeff McGrath side seems to be the side spreading misinformation and covering up the effect of his undemocratic special members meeting' proposal.

McGrath is also the bully who tried to use DA Investigators to force the removal of board members email addresses from this blog under the laughable pretext of not being able to contact the blog. Gimme a freakin break! That is soooo implausible it doesn't pass the straight face test, but is a great example of the way fellow DDAs can expect to be treated in a McGrath/AFSCME regime.

AFSCME is a bad fit, nobody can deny that. For the present that's the only issue. If we don't disaffiliate, we're stuck with AFSCME forever.

Anonymous said...

12:25 first the only or at least major tangible thing the ADDA has done for the DDA's has been the passage of AB634 since increased the privacy protection DDA and other public safety officals have. Who sponsored it? So the lie that AFSCME has done nothing is just that a lie. Saying this does nothing to take away any credit to Michele Hanisee, who was the primary force behind the bill. I'm curious about what her position on dis-affiliation is. Prop 47 is a red herring issue, ADDA supported Kuehl for supervisor and what was her position on 47? We supported her because of what she can do for us as supervisor, because her politics certainly don't warrant our support. She is pro-labor and will look at us more favorably if we have the support of a much stronger established union that is politically aligned with her. So continue with your name calling, I'm sure that works well for you in court. And your attack on Jeff (who as a board member is a reason to be concerned about leading ourselves) totally bogus. If you need to contact another DDA, you can contact the command post to get their number. Did a DAI actually contact Berger and tell him to take the email addresses down? If that is not what happened than don't make up an issue. It really is appalling to witness the level of discourse that appears on this blog and in the comments. I'm glad only a handful of people read this rag. Although the entertain value is high.

Anonymous said...

What I find so disgusting is the way that Berger and his thugs are constantly besmirching recod. Steve Ipsen and Hystt Seligman - two of the most passionate advocates for strengthening the ADDA through a partnership with AFSCME. To read the trash Berger blogs, you would think that they were the enemy, not him. Both Ipsen and Seligman stood up to the management who constantly denied them the promotions they so richly deserved. You ask "what has the ADDA done for me?" Well the answer is that it gives those who have the guys to stand up to management a powerful platform to fight to get their rightful promotion and recognition. Both Steve and Hyatt were able to use the ADDA to sue management, something they could not have done alone. That is why there is a union.

It is unfortunate that neither of them won their federal lawsuit, but the reasons for that had nothing to do with their qualifications. They would have made great Grade V's and had they succeeded in their campaigns to become DA, we would all be better off because they would have done away with promotional exams, and just let the best be promoted. When their political careers ended, they acted selflessly in supporting Carmen Trutanich for DA. Again, Carmen was committed to abolishing the exam process, and if he had become DA, a lot of DDAs would now be promoted. That's why we need a union, 7:53AM whoever you are, stop bitching and complaining, pay you dues and let's see if we can finally get AFSCME to back a DA who will abolish the exam system forever.

Anonymous said...

6:37 yes abolish the exam system and you will see nepotism and favoritism run amok. Everyone should be subjected to the Grade V promotional process. Yes a few people have gotten screwed because of issues with the exams, but most of the career 2 & 3's are there for a reason.

Anonymous said...

For months I believed that AFSCME is just a socialist bureaucracy that doesn't tell us anything about the money they get from us. Now, I see from Cheryl Parisi's email that this stuff is sent regularly to Marc Debbaudt, BUT MARC DEBBAUDT BRAGS ABOUT THROWING THIS MATERIAL AWAY. If this true, Marc is just a big liar. He needs to respond to this.

Anonymous said...

@1:45pm. Say what you will, and kudos to Dragnet for giving equal coverage to both sides, but the FACT remains, AFSCME has done NOTHING for DDAs that ADDA couldn't have done without them. The 3 year deal is over, time to pick a better partnership. Disaffiliate before its too late.

Anonymous said...

5:59pm you're missing the point. This comes on right after finding out Debbaudt's people lied about AFSCME and Prop 47. The ADDA had a chance to speak up and change the course, but they fumbled the ball. Then they blamed AFSCME for shutting them out.

Anonymous said...

5:59 what exactly has the ADDA done? What has it accomplished that is a direct result of unionization? As 12:25 stated, the only tangible benefit that the ADDA has accomplished was because of AFSCME. Dragnet being fair and even handed? Please explain.

Anonymous said...

Berger, (I suppose you're reading this since people say this is your blog), the pro-Debbaudt people have posted repeatedly that McGrath used DAIs to intimidate you. This is a serious charge to make against a labor leader.

Please explain, what sort of intimidation were you subjected to by the DAIs?

Jeff McGrath said...

I am confused as to how I am a "holdover" from the dark days of the Ipsen-Seligman era when I was never on the board during Ipsen's term in office and I was on the Board for only a part of Seligman's term. How is it that Marc is part of the "new ADDA" when he was on the Board during the Ipsen and Seligman terms and supported the very items that placed us in the untenable position of either going bankrupt or accepting the loan from AFSCME?

My argument isn't that "the devil I know is better than the devil I don't know." Why you may ask? Because I am one of the few individuals who know both "devils." I was against affiliation and voted against it. The membership didn't agree and voted to affiliate. My position as a board member required me to represent the membership to the best of my ability. Since AFSCME was who our membership elected to go with, I needed to work with them and our elected leadership to try to improve our members working conditions. Unlike Debbaudt who refused to participate in any activities when asked (refused to be part of JLMC, refused to be part of CNT, refused to assist in meeting with the office and County on DDA job descriptions and has refused to appoint members to a JLMC to meet and confer with management on the promotional process as contained in our MOU) I accepted appointments from our leadership and worked at trying to change things. I was a part of JLMC's who developed the process to implement our salary exempt status. I worked at changing the State Bar Investigation, Use of DAI in IA Investigations, Transfer Policy and Employment Records policies. I was involved in the JLMC that addressed the issue of Waiver of Pensionability in the Flex and Mega Flex benefit programs. We were able to save some DDA's thousands of dollars that they had been forfeiting to the county. I agreed to head the CNT's. It is very easy to sit back and criticize those who try to make a difference. You can ignore successes and focus on those parts that may not have been perfect. I would rather try to make a difference then sit back, do nothing and then offer my educated opinion after the fact when I can pick and choose what I want to criticize.

I am glad to hear that Marc is joining me in encouraging everyone to attend the December 15th meeting. Hopefully there will be an explanation for why Debbaudt refused the offer of AFSCME to pay for 1/2 of the cost of the election in exchange for being allowed to participate in the selection of the firm to conduct the election. Also we need an explanation on how this company was hired in apparent violation of the Boards July 15th resolution. And maybe even an explanation on how this company was paid when there was no board authorization and the treasurer was on notice that only specific officers were authorized to be the second signatory, and none of them had been added to the banks accounts.

You want some facts? Here are some indisputable facts. AFSCME made their offer via e-mail at 7:15 am on November 7th. This offer was sent to Debbaudt and the entire ADDA Board. At the November Board meeting AFSCME asked about the status of their offer. Debaudt indicated that their offer was refused because he had already hired a firm and the ADDA had already paid. This was news to me and a number of other Board members. Why? Because on July 15th the Board passed a number of resolutions including a resolution that the Board agreed to "hire an independent agency to assist with the balloting so that this board and AFSCME will be above criticism in the tabulation of ballots." The Board was never consulted about hiring this company and to date has not approved the hiring of this firm nor the expenditure of union funds to pay this company. In fact there is a motion listed in the agenda for tomorrow night to authorize the hiring of the ballot company, which seems a little bit late in the game as I will explain.

Jeff McGrath said...

However the ADDA can rest assured, Debbaudt has informed the board that this company has no prior relationship with the ADDA nor AFSCME. What is not clear is when this firm was actually hired, how this firm was chosen, if it has any prior relationships with entities that stand to gain financially should the ADDA disaffiliate, if other less expensive firms were approached and why this firm was hired at ADDA expense after AFSCME had made an offer to cover half of the cost.

Even more troubling is why information about the hiring this this company not transmitted to the board for their input on this decision as required by the July 15th resolution? The actual date this company was hired is unknown but Debbaudt did forward to the board an e-mail estimate this company sent him a few hours after AFSCME made its offer to pay half the cost, November 7th.

When was the company paid? According to our treasures records, provided at the last Board meeting, the check was cut on Oct 31 a week before Debbaudt received and forwarded to the board an estimate from the company. Who signed the check? Was there an invoice? Why was the invoice and contract not submitted to the Board for approval before a check was cut?

Our bylaws require at least two signatures on all checks, one by the treasurer and one by the President (or one of the other officers if authorized by the Board). According to our treasurer as of last week none of the other officers has been added to the account as authorized signatories. The entire board was reminded by me of the check writing requirements of our bylaws on Oct 24th. So who was the second signer of this check and why did our treasurer issue this check knowing it was in violation of our bylaws?

On November 24th I sent the Board an e-mail letting them know that there were serious issues surrounding the hiring of the company by Debbaudt without seeking prior authorization of the Board. To subsequently discover that the check for the services was cut a week before the "estimate" was sent to Debbaudt and then forwarded by him to the rest of the Board raises even more questions.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the meeting tomorrow.

Joe Friday said...

Anonymous 8:20PM. I was not intimidated by receiving a call from the DA Command Center. Unfortunately, I was not home when the call came in, and it went to voice mail. Prior to retrieving the voice mail message, Jeff's post alerted me to his concerns.

Jeff's concerns over his and other board members' email address being posted was promptly dealt with by deleting the post.

As a general rule, anyone wishing to contact the Dragnet can do so by either posting a comment, or by email using the link at the bottom of column on the right side of the main page, under "About Los Angeles Dragnet."

Anonymous said...

Joe Friday, thank you for your prompt response. And as always, thank you for providing a marketplace for ideas from all DDAs. You provide a valuable service to all DDAs that others don't. Kudos.

That being said, do you know the origin of the accusation that "DAIs were used to intimidate you (Berger aka Dragnet)." Did you originate this rumor (I assume the answer is "no"). Did you ask that this accusation be championed on your behalf? Is there anything other than McGrath attempting to contact you through the Command Center that occurred?

Again, this is a remarkably serious accusation to make against a member of labor leadership. It should be resolved with a definitive answer as to what actually happened.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, sounds like Debbaudt isn't abiding by ADDA's bylaws. Lawsuit?