Monday, December 15, 2014

Which Way ADDA? Pt 5 - Deadline to Disaffiliate Dawns

Ahead of Monday night's ADDA "Disaffiliation Meeting," a YouTube video entitled "The Disinterested D.D.A.'s Guide to Disaffiliation" has been posted outlining the some of the arguments in favor of terminating the 3-year relationship with AFSCME.

The video, attributed to DDA Nathan Bartos,  incorporates many of the arguments made by other DDAs who have come to the conclusion that AFSCME is both expensive and inappropriate to represent the interests of a law enforcement oriented group like DDAs.

Other DDAs who have expressed their support for ADDA President Marc Debbaudt's election platform to terminate AFSCME's representation include:

DDA John Harrold, ADDA Director, who points out that AFSCME's explanation for why it has "failed so miserably in representing the interests of DDAs" was to blame former ADDA Presidents for "refusing  to do what AFSCME told them to do." Click here to read the full text of Harrold's message. Blame shifting is not only a well-worn political trick, but has little persuasive impact, and generally belies a failure that has no legitimate explanation. Harrold also expressed his opinion on AFSCME's "Incompetence" during negotiations with the County over DDA pay. Click here to read that message.

DDA James Evans, ADDA Treasurer, who lashes out at AFSCME for repeated failures to provide the ADDA with any accounting "as to how over one million dollars in membership funds were utilized. They have steadfastly refused to provide any meaningful explanation. I have been provided no balance sheets and no profit and loss statements for the years we have paid dues to them. No representations of substance and nothing that would qualify as legitimate documentation." Click here to read the full text of Evan's message. How strange, a big union refusing to turn over financial records as to how funds are used. Perhaps the ADDA should affiliate with Brian D'Arcy's DWP Union; at least he's finally handing over financial records.

DDA Sandi Olivera, former ADDA Director, who lambasts the pro-AFSCME lobby for making personal attacks on those who were brave enough to speak their minds on the demerits of affiliation with AFSCME. "AFSCME is not evil. They are not bad people. But, they are not the right people for us. I urge you to vote to disaffiliate." She says. Click here to read the full text of Olivera's message. Sadly, as Olivera recounts her past experiences on the ADDA Board, vitriolic, scathing and unwarranted personal attacks continues to be the hallmark of the pro-AFSCME lobby. 

DDA John Lewin, who is sharply critical of the "service" AFSCME provides. "AFSCME has done little more than provide us food for our meetings, and in exchange for those chips, enchiladas and tacos, expects lifetime dues in return. It is apparent that whatever interests AFSCME has been serving, they are not those of the hardworking prosecutors in this office ...  I strongly encourage all of you to take this one chance to get out from under our disastrous affiliation with AFSCME." Lewin says. Click here to read the full text of Lewin's message.

DDA Marc Debbaudt, ADDA President, weighs in on AFSCME's contemptible support for Prop 47, and slays the "spin" that the pro-AFSCME lobby are trying to put on their abject betrayal of the ADDA's opposition to Prop 47. "At no time did AFSCME tell ADDA or me that there would be a debate on Prop. 47 at their conference ... If AFSCME had notified us that Prop. 47 was on the agenda, we would have been there." Click here to read the full text of Debbaudt's response to AFSCME's spin.

DDA John Colello, who buttresses his view that "I strongly urge you to WITHDRAW from our affiliation with AFSCME" with some home truths about what three years and a million dollars has bought from AFSCME:
  1. NO increase in compensation;
  2. NO increase in benefits;
  3. NO enhanced working conditions;
  4. NO effective legal representation or grievance representation; and
  5. NO effective political clout.  
Click here for the full text of Colello's message.

DDA Oscar Plascensia blasts AFSCME for supporting "legislation or propositions that undermine public safety." Plascensia states he was "neutral regarding AFSCME initially, but I have been very disturbed by their support of Proposition 47 which is completely counter to the goals of our office."
Click here to read the full text of Plascensia's message. AFSCME's support for Prop 47 may well be the straw that broke the camel's back on the ADDA's relationship with Prop 47's protagonist. The unintended consequences of this deceptively titled proposition continues to rankle, create headlines, and voters are coming to resent the way they were duped. All the more reason to disaffiliate.

DDA Anthony Colannino, ADDA Director, takes AFSCME to task over its lousy reputation for corruption. Colannino knows "first hand how corrosive an affiliation with corruption can be to both individuals and organizations." Colannino cites 17 recent cases where AFSCME officials have been either implicated in, or convicted of corruption, and raises the valid point that the taint of corruption will impact DDAs:
  • Does anyone believe that California legislators are unaware of the AFSCME’s nationwide reputation and the jailing of its leaders?
  • How are the interests of DDA’s advanced and protected by being associated with an organization with a nation-wide reputation that is outlined below?
  • When will judges and/or defense attorneys connect the dots and raise the point that DDA’s are part an organization such as AFSCME; and how will that help us represent the People of the State of California?
Click here to read the full text of Colannino's message. Colannino's message can be summed up succinctly "Why would any one, let alone a law enforcement oriented association, want to be associated with an organization with a reputation for corruption like AFSCME?" Another question to ponder is whether the DA's Office would be recused due to a "conflict of interest" from any investigation or prosecution into allegations of AFSCME corruption in Los Angeles County? Could that be a reason why AFSCME is so keen to maintain its so-called representation of DDAs?  Disclaimer: The Dragnet is not aware of any allegations of corruption involving AFSCME or its officers in Los Angeles County that are of a similar nature to those involving AFSCME in Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Oregon and New York.

DDA Steve Dickman supports disaffiliation for the simple reason that "they do not share our values as prosecutors." Citing AFSCME's prior support for Prop 66, "an initiative that would have gutted the 3 Strikes law," as well as AFSCME's current support for Prop 47 as examples of divergent values, Dickman also blasts AFSCME for its woeful track record in representing law enforcement personnel. Dickman says he "attended an ADDA meeting where the President of the Probation Officers Union (that is stuck with AFSCME and can't get out of it) spoke. They affiliated with AFSCME yet he was deeply critical of them saying AFSCME had not provided the promised services or support. He warned us not to affiliate with them." he said. Click here to read the full text of Dickman's message.

Much of the material above was gathered from the pro-Disaffiliation website:

ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath has also established a website setting forth the argument in favor of remaining affiliated with AFSCME: In contrast to the 10 DDAs who have urged disaffiliation, McGrath has three, all of whom appear urge DDAs to remain with AFSCME because AFSCME provides  the ADDA with a business representative, photocopying, office space and a meeting room.

Tonight's ADDA meeting will likely see some spirited debate as the pro-AFSCME lobby led by McGrath attempts to explain and excuse AFSCME's lamentable record. As to the all important board vote on whether DDAs will get to vote on disaffiliation, Debbaudt will likely win the day and DDAs will get to have their say. Judging by the number of statements in favor of disaffiliation listed above, the AFSCEM affiliation will soon be a thing of the past. A vote for disaffiliation will provide the ADDA with the opportunity to independently decide whether to affiliate with a larger organization with values that more closely represent DDAs, or to remain a truly independent organization, behooven to nobody but its members.

Bottom line: The ADDA can do better than AFSCME. If it turns out that the ADDA cannot find a better partner than AFSCME, or if hell freezes over while pigs fly, the ADDA can always go back to AFSCME. Once the ballots hit mailboxes, send them back with the resounding message: DISAFFILIATE.



Anonymous said...

Dragnet, The accusation by Evans and Debbaudt that AFSCME has has covered up its financial data is just a big fat lie. Apparently, AFSCME has been forwarding this material to Debbaudt and, as he openly brags, he throws it away.

This accusation has been debunked yet you choose to still run it. Why?

Marc Debbaudt said...

12:54 AM missed the point completely. The point is what did AFSCME do for DDAs with the $356,000.00 per year of dues money they were given, now way over a million, to advance the lives of DDAs? It's not what they did with their money! We know what they did. Prop 47, Prop 66, etcetera. It's what did they spend our dues money on for DDAs? My accusation is that they spend our dues money on our business representative who does not work for us full time, but that the bulk of the expenditure of our dues money doesn't go to advance the interests of our members. They admit that! So there is no lie here except 12:54's counter.
Marc Debbaudt

Anonymous said...

Marc, I don't think 12:54 missed the point, I think he or she is trying to get DDAs to miss the point with all these lame excuses for AFSCME's failures. Anyone who does not acknowledge just how poorly AFSCME has represented DDAs either does not care to see the ADDA succeed, or has some cognitive issues. The case for disaffiliation had been made very well, the case for remaining with AFSCME is non existent. DISAFFILIATE!

Anonymous said...

So...what happened last night? Any updates on the meeting?

Anonymous said...

So the meeting went pretty much as expected. Not a big crowd, but more than when AFSCME put on free food and 6 showed up. AFSCME had a cheesy powerpoint that had the same crappy points that McGrath has been using. Debbaudt fileted AFSCME's big boss (Parsi?) over lies, and then Debbaudt and McGrath got into it, big time. I hope someone videoed it, McGrath looked really weird.

There is something very personal about the way McGrath is taking the whole thing about dumping AFSCME. There's a sort of desperation in the way he talks that kinda gives the impression that there's a lot at stake for McGrath personally if DDAs vote to dump AFSCME.

In the end the board voted to issue the ballots and let the members decide. I think McGrath was the only vote against.

DDAs should get their ballots any day now, and they should waste no time in returning them. Best news is that Debbaudt hired an independent firm to oversee the vote, despite AFSCME's offer to do it free. Yeah, Debbaudt may be many things, but stupid isn't one of them. By January votes will be counted, and my prediction - adios AFSCME.

Anonymous said...

2:19PM, rumor was that former ADDA President Donna McKay was in favor of creating salaried positions for ADDA board members, so that they could work 3 days a week parttime at the DA's Office and 2 days paid for by AFSCME through union dues, probably resulting in a higher combined pay. That might be a powerful incentive for some to stay with AFSCME.