Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ADDA's New Bylaws - A Change For The Better

The Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys has been through difficult times in recent years. Few remember the days when the ADDA was a happy helpful group of volunteers who held social events and sold ADDA merchandise at Saturday seminars. That ADDA exemplified what was the strength of those who forsake the lure of private practice, and instead enjoyed the esprit de corps that made, and continues to make public service at the LA County District Attorney's Office the most rewarding of career choices.

It probably never occurred to those who founded the ADDA that the organization they established to promote the well-being of their loyal, hard-working and selfless colleagues could be hijacked by self-serving malcontents; embittered lack-luster losers who took advantage of a lack of involvement in the running of the ADDA to grasp power, and then played fast and loose with the rules to promote their personal agendas at the expense of the vast majority of DDAs. 

Those days have passed. They must never return again. Under the leadership of current ADDA President Marc Debbaudt and other Board Members who stepped up to the plate to undo the damage Steve Ipsen and Hyatt Seligman did, they have taken on the might of 'Big Labor' AFSCME and divorced us from the unholy marriage that Ipsen and Seligman brokered, and they have worked hard to build an effective working relationship with the District Attorney and her administration. This is the new ADDA, and it's one that DDAs can be proud of.

Debbaudt now asks the 500 plus ADDA fee-paying members to approve a new set of Bylaws; a set of rules that will not allow a Ipsen or Seligman clone to again use the ADDA as the launchpad for their pathetic self-serving purposes. The new Bylaws have been distributed to all fee-paying member and awaits approval. That approval should be a 'no brainer,' but some have raised issues with the new rules. Members on various email lists have had their mailboxes stuffed with lengthy, sometimes eye-rolling missives pointing out defects or deficiencies in the new rules. Some of the issues raised are valid and were adopted, but others are purely obstructionist, or contemplate unlikely 'End of Days' scenarios.

The bottom line is that no set of rules is ever perfect. Rules are only as good as the people who are trusted to follow them. Marc Debbaudt has done more to earn the trust of DDAs than any of his predecessors, and voting for the new Bylaws is as much a referendum and vote of approval for the Debbaudt's leadership, as it is an assurance that the ADDA will never return to the Kafkaesque dark days of the Ipsen-Seligman era.

It only takes a simple majority of approval votes to pass the new Bylaws, and many who have received them may not even bother to return their voting cards. But remember, just as rules alone will not guard against major assholes like Ispen, an active and engaged membership will keep the dark forces at bay. Vote for the new Bylaws and send a message to the ADDA that you approve their leadership and the direction they're taking.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. 

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