Monday, January 19, 2015

Shockwaves and Fallout follows AFSCME-ADDA Disaffiliation

On January 7, 2015, the organized labor world received a shock upset; the ADDA succeeded in breaking free from AFSCME, the overwhelming, under-performing and overly-expensive big labor group that promised much, but delivered little.

The shotgun marriage that brought the ADDA under the control of AFSCME was always an embarrassment to DDAs; it was a legacy of the duplicitous self-serving 'leadership' of disgraced former ADDA President Steve Ipsen, who was subsequently fired by the DA's Office for misconduct.

If the marriage was uncomfortable and embarrassing, the divorce has been acrimonious. Upon hearing the results of the vote that kicked AFSCME out, AFSCME officials retaliated by obstructing and preventing the ADDA Board from conducting any further business on AFSCME premises.

The following day, ADDA President Marc Debbaudt sought to update the ADDA website,, only to find that the AFSCME-supplied 'business representative' who is responsible for such things, was "out of the office until February 2, 2015." As we go to press, the ADDA website remains unchanged. Until the ADDA manages to gain control of its website, a series of email messages has informed members of developments.

Hell hath no fury than a big labor group scorned, it seems, and AFSCME is apparently no exception. The loss of the ADDA's $340k annual 'union dues' is, perhaps, not the main reason for AFSCME's shabby conduct and acrimony.

It seems more likely that the failure by AFSCME's local officials to prevent the ADDA from breaking free has caused major embarrassment to the Washington DC based national union. Sources suggest the AFSCME may be bracing themselves for more disaffiliation/decertification moves others who are less than satisfied with AFSCME and will view the ADDA breakaway as a signal for similar action.

Meanwhile at the ADDA, Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath who fronted the pro-AFSCME movement, tendered his resignation on January 14, 2015. Directors Stuart Lytton and Loren Naiman have also resigned, leaving three positions open on the ADDA Board. With many of the Ipsen-era old guard now gone, the opportunity exists to reshape the ADDA into being more representative of its members' interests and concerns. Those interested in serving are invited to contact ADDA President Marc Debbaudt by email the address of which appears in the comments section.



Joe Friday said...

ADDA President Marc Debbaudt can be contacted on

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to McGrath's "secret list" of how DDAs voted? Did the Board succeed in forcing McGrath to surrender the list? Is that why McGrath retired? Answers please.

nohumansinvolved said...

I've requested that list. He has not yet provided it. The real reason he resigned is known to only him, but there was a committee that was considering what to do re that list. He resigned making that unnecessary. His stated reason for resigning is essentially his claim that the Board repeatedly failed to follow policies and the bylaws and address legitimate concerns, as well as the use of profanity and unwarranted mistreatment and abuse of Board members, inferentially mistreatment doled out by me in particular.
Marc Debbaudt

Anonymous said...

Marc-So what is the game plan??

Assume AFSCME was a poor fit

Assume pro-AFSCME board members were misguided

Now what?

You've had 6 months to think about this-What exactly is the game plan now that County negotiations are 6 months away?

I know you are only one member and the Board may not agree with you, but what is the specific plan?

Where is your "this is what I intend to do during the next 6 months letter" to all the DAs.

While we are on the subject just how long does it take to "fix" a web site?

You've done a good job explaining why your were against something.

Now has come the time to specifically explain what your vision is for this group which so far has spent 7 years "gearing up."

Anonymous said...

Every DDA has to ask, "What has years of paying dues got me that I would not have gotten without the Union "fighting" for me." EVERY benefit we have gotten in the dues-paying-years is the same we would have gotten with no Union, IMHO. There will never be safety retirement, and really, while it would be nice, do we really deserve safety retirement? What else do we want? Higher pay? The County will not suddenly give DDAs a higher percentage increase just because we hold our breathes until we turn blue? And what other option, other than holding our breathe, do we have? We are not going to ever strike. Most DDAs have never supported the Union and never will. Marc, nor anyone else, can change that. Let's stop the farce. Stop pretending that we have an effective Union that will ever be worth the dues we have paid and will continue to pay. Time to decertify. It's the best thing Marc can do doe DDAs.

Anonymous said...

Marc- On 1-15-15 on this Web site you indicated

"I try to communicate as much as I can and this blog (LA Dragnet) is obviously a forum that is read by some DDAs so I have not hesitated to use it."

Since that time, two posts have respectfully asked you to explain

What is the game plan going forward?
What is the specific plan?

Please response and let us know what is the road ahead.

PS When exactly is that Web site going to be fixed? Did AFSEME put a virus in it before leaving? Why is it taking so long?

nohumansinvolved said...

I'm working on the response and plan to answer it. I also work for a living. Being president is a volunteer position and I'll get to it. We are currently locked out of the website and our secretary is working to fix that problem.


Anonymous said...

How come we haven't recieved an update from the last board meeting?

What was the vote to lower our dues? Who voted for it and who voted against it?

Weren't you also working for a living the last two months?
You didn't need over a week to answer questions about why ASSME was incompetent.

You told us you had everything in place ready to go.
Did you have updated web pages ready to be published as soon as the election was over?
Who was the person in charge of running the web site after the election and how did they get locked out of the website?
Why don't you just temporaly put the update information on your ADDA Members for Dissaffiliation site?

Why were you surprised that there was no "grace period" and ASSME "severed all services" after your
successful campagin of calling them "corrupt," "lazy," "incompentent" and "liers?" Isn't that what you asked for, a complete separation from ASSME?

Who from ADDA was in charge of working with ASSME on the transition process? Why weren't we ready to go as promised?

Are there any other things that we can expect to not go right because of your apparent lack of planning?

Anonymous said...

Liking a good conspiracy theory as well as any DDA, here my take. The whole AFSCME disaffiliation movement was simply a ploy by the administration to make a decerification vote in the future more likely. Marc is simply a tool of the administration. Perhaps the pro quo for the large quid Marc got as a settlement with the office. His close relationship with Pam Booth is widely known and she was responsible for the implementation of PERSA. Hard to understand how such a principled fellow can be chums with Pam under these circumstances. AFSCME may have been corrupt but at least they were competent. Decerification here we come.

Anonymous said...


I have to say that the VAST majority of DDAs are more than satisfied with what you have achieved as President of the ADDA. It is far more than any prior ADDA leader in recent memory.

You succeeded in breaking the apathy trap that caused so many of the problems with previous administrations where corrupt and borderline insane self-serving asshats ruled the day, and a few jerkoffs on the board blindly followed wherever the chief asshat of the day wanted to go.

Apart from kicking ASSME in the balls so hard that the local thugs are crapping themselves waiting for pink slips from DC, you also managed to excise the remnants of the old guard, like McGrath and Naiman; what a pair of useless empty spaces they were.

So don’t be too surprised to see the backlash here from “anonymous” McGrath and Naiman. And don’t be pushed to respond their knit-picking criticisms. You’ve done a great service to all DDAs and I hope you succeed in recruiting new blood to the board, who care more about their fellow DDAs than themselves.

Anonymous said...

@7:45PM. I agree with your theory, let’s face it, not all conspiracies are theories, are they? The reality here is that you had a very weird relationship between Debbaudt and Berger. I mean seriously, can you think of a more implausible partnership that that?

Berger is the biggest management suck up in the office. He always does the management’s dirty work - like sticking multiple knives in Trutanich’s back to make sure Nuch got fucked over in the primary election. Then he did the same thing with his former BFF Alan Jackson to make sure Cooley’s heir apparent won the election. He ends up with a convenient assignment at the airport so he can have ready access to flights to party it up in Vegas and Aspen whenever he wants.

Now he’s singing Debbaudt’s praise at every opportunity, but in reality he is the number one management stoolie who really is the old guard - Garcetti, Cooley and Lacey - all union busters.

Decertification? Who needs it - with management firmly in control of the ADDA, they can keep on draining DDAs paychecks and nobody’s gonna complain.

I bet Berger hasn’t got the guts to publish this, but he knows that I know.

Anonymous said...

8:14pm - get help. Seriously, get help.

Anonymous said...

Marc-Frankly I'm disappointed in you

I've read the posted comments both informed and uninformed both serious and not so much.

What comes through the noise is a hunger. A desire to know what this union plans to do.

You are faced with a DA management that seems disengaged and/or hostile to your union activities and a BofS that used the financial crisis to claim a lack of resources and money

This year will be a critical year in which the County will probably offer a 3 year deal which will hopefully take into account the dry years (2009-2013) and provide us with a reasonable contract.

Against this backdrop Marc you've spent your time on lawsuits (ERCOM) and internal battles (AFSEME)which have generated much heat but no light.

Without judging, the question was asked OK so now what is the plan?

After all these months, $300,00 in yearly union dues and 7 years of existence the answer was

"I'll get to it."

Marc Debbaudt said...

ONE: I am writing an Update re the Biard meeting of 1/20/15. It will include a response to the question of what next and some of the other questions asked here. If we have your email you will receive apteh update. If not, please send me at your email address. Sorry I am not jumping quickly enuf or high enuf for you all. The website lock out is one thing, but what other services did you assume that AFSCME was providing that we were not ready to handle? We were ready to go and grievants were referred to our counsel and business continued without interruption. It was real easy primarily because AFSCME truly did little to nothing. Sorry that being locked out of a website is so crucial to you in your evaluation of our performance. I thought communication. Y email was more important, and we had that functions within a few days. Now our secretary Juliana Konze will turn her attention to the website and I anticipate she will have that up and running by the end of next week. I hope that is fast enough for you.

Marc Debbaudt said...

TWO: As to the conspiracy theorists, all I can say is fascinating! I didn't know Mel Gibson was a DDA. I can say it, but I'm guessing it won't be believed, but I'll say it anyway: The ADDA and I have no arrangement or agreement with this Administration period, or with Berger and this blog site. Personally, my settlement imposed limitations on my assignment and where I can be transferred, but nothing I do as a part of the ADDA has anything to do with that whatsoever. I fully expect Berger to attack me if and when he feels Ithe ADDA has left the path he believes we should be on. We obviously were ideologically aligned as far as
DISAFFILIATION is concerned. Beyond that we all will learn if he supports what the ADDA does next. As far as management being pro-disaffiliation? I never heard one beep on this topic from the higher ranking supervisors, including Pam Booth and Jackie Lacey, so I have no idea what the two of them thought about it one way or the other. Frankly, I'm not sure either cared and at best perhaps were curious as to how it would play out, but neither gave me any clue. I can assure you that management is not in control of the ADDA, but I can't stop anyone from believing these insane notions.

Marc Debbaudt said...

THREE: I've tried to overcome the acrimony that existed between the ADDA and the previous Administration that may have lingered when Lacey took over. I accept Lacey's statement that she is not Steve Cooley and that her Administration is different and I've told her that this is not the old Board, but a new Board. whatever lingering issues may have carried over, the goal is to move on and advance. I honestly believe that the turmoil and divisiveness is over and that we, the ADDA and the Administration, are both better off if we work together. If we need to fight and litigate, we will do so. But that will be reflected upon and well considered before we take that step. Now, we our about communicating and working together, I don't think I've compromised one thing in that statement or belief. To the extent I seek to work with the Administration, is that a conpiracy if I have done so openly and candidly?

I've known Pam Booth for a fairly long time. Candidly, I think she is one of the smartest people I know. I respect her. I adamantly disagreed with her on PERSA. I knew it was her baby. I was a Board member who pushed the fight against PERSA. I drafted the PERSA pleadings that overcame the equivalent of a demur. I sat thru half the PERSA hearings. I still believe PERSA Is wrong.

The previous PEs meant absolutely nothing in terms of our promotability. They place most of us in a band after a time wasting and office and life disrupting exam, and then pick whoever they want. The one good thing about the previous PEs was the fact they made us feel good when most of us were rated "Outstanding." That was at least nice given how meaningless the PE was to promotion. The only thing wrong with the PE was the fact that management gave everyone "Outstanding" so the defect wasn't the PE, it was in management and their assessments.

Now they created PERSA, not because the PE was broken, but because their supervisors couldn't be trusted to honestly evaluate us. Thus, PERSA was created not to fix the PE, but to force their supervisors to devaluate us. Now we have an evaluation process where most of us "meet expectations" and it still has nothing to do with who gets promoted. You can get a "far exceeds expectations" and not get promoted. The irony, is something Pam said early on. That since the Administration believes we are mostly all outstanding, that the new "meets expectations, is the equivalent of the fact that we are all outstanding because that is their sincere bottom line expectation. Thus, to be "far exceeds expectations," apparently we must be supernatural!

Well, PERSA may be over. We originally won the case but we lecently lost the appeal. I'm awaiting the final advice of our counsel. I am disappointed, obviously. Nevertheless, the litigation legacy of the infancy of the ADDA may all be over soon. There is nothing before us but negotiation for better wages, protecting our members from mistreatment, and seeing if we can improve working conditions like end the onerous promotional exam process which disrupts lives and the office, benefits those who are in easier assignments who may have more time to study, all to get into a band where they pick who they want to pick anyway. Believ me, the ADDA is aware of that.

Anonymous said...

Marc You need to be less thin skinned.

nohumansinvolved said...

It's not that I can't tolerate opposition, instead it's a compulsion to explain. I feel that's the role I assumed. I hope that if I can explain it I will get help to achieve it.

Anonymous said...

Marc, the explanations are one thing, but taking shots at your opposition or saying how bad they are for questioning you is not helping the ADDA

Anonymous said...

Where can we find a copy of the PERSA appeal ruling?

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the PERSA decision.


Here is the link for the appeal of the unfair labor practices case. (The one where the ERCOM decision was overturned because of ex parte communications by the ADDA's attorney and its current and former presidents.) Apparently this has been settled in secrete because I haven't any comments from the ADDA on this case.

What happened here Marc?

How much have we spent on this litigation with Shinee? Seems like he hasn't won anything for us but I bet he's raked in a pile of money.

Anonymous said...

Marc wrote, "I also work for a living." This statement sums up why the ADDA as it exists now will NEVER be a force for change (i.e. change promotions, change PERSA, increase pay beyond other non-represented groups, etc..) ADDA is a volunteer body that has neither the TIME nor EXPERIENCE to be effective. Marc and all the board members have the best of intentions (thank you for your hard work! Sincerely!) However, the board does not have the leverage to force change (i.e. DDAs will never strike, or do any type of job action of any kind) The payment of monthly union dues is a complete waste, and should be stopped. NO TIME + NO COMMITTED MEMBERSHIP = NOTHING!!! Does anyone really believe that administration or the BofS will every pay us more than other attorneys in the county? Does anyone really believe that administration will ever change the promotion process to be more transparent? The answer to both these questions is absolutely NO, unless the DDAs disrupt the smooth operation of the criminal justice system.

nohumansinvolved said...

There were two cases. One was PERSA. We enteredv nto a deal with the County about it but they reneged. Then Shinee won that at ERCOM and the County appealed and recently the appeal was decided and the County prevailed. The ADDA's decision about what to do next is Pending. When we decide, we will publish our decision.

The other case was what we called the Unfair. Shinee won that at ERCOM and the County appealed and the appeal was granted because of communications between the Executive Director and the Hearing Officer, not between the parties and the Hearing Officer. The appeal was not decided on the evidentiary merits of the case, but on the alleged bias of the hearing officer. It was not claimed that I had exparty conmunications with the Hearing Officer. Rather, it was claimed that I sent an email to the Executive Director at the commencement of the hearibgs that then took two and a half years wondering why the hearings weren't on consecutive days, but scheduled for once a month, so that any resolution was years away and meanwhile I had to remain in the assignment I considered retaliatory. I didn't understand why and I was inquiring if we could have consecutive days and get the hearing over with. At that time, everyone at ERCOM regularly communicated with the Executive Director as he wasn't considered a party. It was like clearing dates with the court clerk. Further, the parties for the County also communicated with the Executive Director. So, there you go.

In any event, ultimately the Unfair decision was overturned not because of those communications with the Executive Director but because of the Executive Director and Hearing Officers opining together about the case, and it was sent back to ERCOM to rehear the case. Therefore the case is not dead on its merits. So the case is pending, but we are nearing possible settlement and until and when settlement is final or confirmed there is nothing to discuss or disclose. As soon as we know we will publish it.

So, Shinee has been successful for us, yet we have had bad luck in appeal. Frankly I can't disagree with the decision on the Unfair, but I disgree with the factual basis of the reasoning in PERSA that claims it was implemented before we became a bargaining unit. We had letters from the Admin saying it wasn't. So, we fought an important fight, and we lost at this stage.

Anonymous said...

Marc you can try to spin it how you want but the ERCOM decision was thrown out by Judge Lavin on 10/28/13 for three reasons.

1. "ERCOM had numerous ex parte communications with the charging parties."

2. "Causey was heavily involved in the ERCOM decision making process."

3. "There is substantial evidence in the record of actual bias by ERCOM."

"For these reasons, the finds that Petitioner [the County] did not receive a fair hearing before ERCOM."

So your statement that "the appeal was granted because of communications between the Executive Director and the Hearing Officer, not between the parties and the Hearing Officer" must be an outright inadvertent slip of the keyboard. The decision specifically names you and Ipsen as having ex parte communications as well as Shinee.

As far as most of us are concerned, you are not successful unless your decision is upheld on appeal. Are you suggesting that a DDA who gets a trial verdict overturned on appeal because they had ex parte communications with the judge is "successful" and getting overturned on appeal was just "bad luck" as long as there are other additional reasons for the decision?

So what did happen on appeal and how much did we pay Shinee for this success????

nohumansinvolved said...

I did not have ex party communications with the hearing officer, period. As I said, everyone talked to the Executive Director. He wasn't even in the hearing room. My communication with him was quite brief and at the very beginning and about scheduling. That's it. I talk to the clerk in my court, the bailiff and the court reporter regularly and they are in the court during proceedings. They don't tell the judge what to do. No one had a clue the executive director was regularly talking to the hearing officer about or influencing the proceedings. The executive director wasn't even present at the hearing. So the appelate court decided the case on a rule no one seemed to know about and not followed by anyone. If they wanted to and went back thru every hearing ERCOM ever held my guess from what I saw is that they would have to overturn 2/3rds or more of those cases cause everyone talked to the executive director, even the County. So their conclusion that ERCOM was biased is different than that any party, including the County, tried to influence the hearing officer. But I suppose you, whoever you are, never lost a case or lost because of something that was misunderstood or misperceived or lost not on the merits but on something else out of your control. So, no, no slip at all and nothing inadvertent. I said what I know is true. I was there. You apparently see all and know all from your ivory tower and like to criticize from anonymity. I guess you never lost even when you fought for something you believed in. But I see you speak for everyone or as far as most of you are concerned. You are the voice of purity and morality. I'm sorry I'm flawed and let you down. Yeah, I think sometimes cases are overturned for bad luck and that not every appellate opinion is overturned correctly, but it is what it is and I disagree with it, and again it wasn't overturned on lack of evidence or the merits. And it is not over. So when it is I'll report that. It's in settlement negotiations. Finally, it's history. Condemn all you want. I'm concerned about what happens next and What the ADDA can achieve for DDAs.

Anonymous said...

Looks like AFSCME will be going to the bargaining table to get salary and other benefit increases for the Attorneys of LA County before ADDA.

Family Support attorneys voted overwhelmingly to sign on with AFSCME and will be meeting with the county before the ADDA will be able to begin bargaining. If they can reach agreement fairly quickly they will set the standard for the attorney classes in the county.

AFSCME already has all of the prior ADDA proposals ready to go into a new family support attorney contract i.e. step increases, longevity pay, parking, professional development funds and time off. They also know how to make the proposals work so that some of these perks won't be placed into pensionable status which has kept the county from agreeing to many of these terms.

Maybe the ADDA can learn a thing or two from AFSCME.......opps....we know that will never happen because ASSME is a corrupt and useless organization headed up by morons who don't know sh*t from shinola.

So where's the new updated ADDA web site? How come the new communications consultants are costing so much more than our previous ones and how come their new bid was so much higher than their prior bid?

How come the ADDA board apparently violated by-law 5.2.2 which requires an election and vote of the membership when there are 3 or more vacancies on the board of directors???

What did Burke sue the ADDA over??? Was it failing to conduct an election as required by the ADDA by-laws???