A. Contract Negotiation:
Shelley Smith reported that
the EERC ratified all terms and conditions of the tentative
contract agreement. The contract must be ratified by a majority
of the voting Association members and the Council.
The substantive changes between
the tentative contract and the former contract include the following:
1. elimination of the wall
between the Deputy City Attorney I and II level;
2. a 2 percent salary increase
every six months for five six-month periods, followed by a
3 percent raise;
3. effective the second year
of the contract, up to $80.00 dues reimbursement for joining
the LA County Bar or a State Bar subsection; and
4. an increase in comp time
carry-over from 160 hours to 200 hours; comp time will be
calculated on a calendar year basis rather than fiscal, to
enable attorneys to take accrued time off during the slower
Management withdrew its demand
for contractual provision for a bonus-pay program and stated
that the status quo would continue with regard to merit and
B. Public Records Act
In December of 2001, the Association
delivered to Terree Bowers a written demand for the documents
identifying all persons hired by City Attorney Delgadillo. In
January of 2002, Shelley Smith was provided with a copy of a
document showing all attorneys employed by the City Attorney.
A discussion ensued regarding
whether the Association should issue a Public Records Act demand
to management to provide additional personnel information pertaining
to the salaries of all city attorneys and/or attorneys hired
by City Attorney Delgadillo. The following issues were discussed:
1) Importance of Information
to Evaluate Career Prospects:
It appears that management
is hiring attorneys without public sector legal experience
at the pay scale levels of Deputy City Attorney IV and Assistant.
Such advanced-placement hiring will preclude for an extended
period of time promotions and/or merit step advancement for
existing attorney staff. Attorneys who intended to make a
career of service in this Office are disadvantaged by the
fact of diminished opportunities for promotion, and information
on this issue may be critical to success in analyzing and
evaluating long-term career decisions.
2) Importance of Managements
Acquiescence to the Law:
The roster of Office personnel
and their classification and step placement are matters of
public record. There has occurred substantial demonstration
that management has flouted its legal obligations with respect
to the Association, so there is a substantial purpose in serving
a formal demand for the purpose of compelling management to
honor its legal obligations with respect to the Association.
3) Privacy Concerns:
There is concern for the
privacy of Association members and for considerations re public
disclosure of salary positions. However, classification and
step placement, and the salaries associated with each classification
and step, is already public information, published every few
years by local newspapers and listed by the City on the Internet.
It was agreed that it was
important to compile the information regarding personnel hired
and promoted by management, and their classification and step
placement. Jule Bishop stated that management had recently
promised to provide her with such information, and believes
that the Board may already be in receipt of such information.
The Board voted unanimously to send a letter to management
confirming that assurance and requesting prompt compliance.
The Board will discuss at next months meeting whether
and how to disseminate the information.
C. Web Site
Jule Bishop reported that the
web site is available for viewing and that the Association will
send a letter to its members informing them of the address.
The web site address is: http://www.lacaa.org. A member suggested
modifying the website for controlled member-only access. Jule
Bishop noted that it would be expensive to modify the website
to ensure member-only access, that it would require intensive
monitoring of the site, and that no one could ensure that management
would not have access. The Board welcomes the suggestions and
help of Association members to improve the site.
D. Financial Report
Jule Bishop stated that she
obtained errors and omissions insurance for the Board through
Lloyds of London, and that she filed 1099 forms with the Associations
accountant. It cost $4300.00 to insure the Board for one year.
At the standing managing assistants
meeting on January 24, 2002, Terree Bowers announced implementation
of a new disciplinary policy pertaining to sanctions against
attorneys: He stated that any attorney who is sanctioned must
report the matter to a supervisor, who in turn must prepare
a written memorandum to Mr. Bowers describing the incident.
The sanctioned attorney must then personally meet with Mr. Bowers,
after which the memorandum memorializing the incident shall
be placed in the attorneys personnel file.
Management did not meet and
confer with the Association regarding this new disciplinary
policy; it unilaterally announced and implemented the policy.
It is well-settled that placement of a memorandum in a personnel
file constitutes a "disciplinary action" under the
Myers-Milias-Brown Act, and thus any policy establishing a disciplinary
procedure is subject to mandatory bargaining.
The consensus of those present
is that management is generally -- and perhaps willfully --
ignorant of the laws pertaining to its legal obligation to bargain
in good faith about terms and conditions of employment. This
view is consonant with the near wholesale lack of public sector
experience by any key persons at the executive level of management.
However, there is compelling evidence that this violation of
managements legal obligation is not simple negligence,
but purposeful, in that it is contrary to an explicit and specific
promise made personally by Chief Deputy Terree Bowers to the
Board that there would be no discipline policy re sanctions
without first engaging in the meet and confer process as required
The Board voted unanimously
to (1) send a letter to Terree Bowers demanding an explicit
rescission of the sanctions policy announced on January 24,
and (2) post a notice to members stating that any member required
to meet with Mr. Bowers or any manager or supervisor regarding
court-imposed sanctions is by law entitled to the presence and
participation of an Association representative at that meeting.
If management does not formally rescind its policy, the Board
will file an Unfair Labor Charge. Any materials placed in any
members personnel file pursuant to the January 24 policy
will be grieved pursuant to the MOU.
Attempt to Dominate and
It is per se illegal for management
to act in any manner that interferes with internal union business,
or to attempt in any manner to control or dominate a union.
There have recently occurred several instances which suggest
management interference in Association affairs, specifically
matters pertaining to a pending recall petition. Specifically:
at a community luncheon in the Harbor District a senior executive
manager observed as the recall petition was circulated and proffered
to Association members, creating in some members an impression
of management interest and support for the petition, and resulting
obligation to avoid management disfavor by signing the petition.
In the weeks before the petition
was handed to the Board, a member of senior management spoke
to a deputy city attorney and explicitly deprecated the ability
of the President of the Association to represent the Association
in light of the petition for recall. Further, the member of
senior management related in detail the substance of the complaints
of those who circulated the recall petition. It has not yet
been determined the means by which executive management was
apprised of matters pertaining to the recall attempt, although
there are procedural means by which that information can be
Further, at a bargaining session,
this same member of executive management expressed skepticism
about the Presidents authority to speak for the Association.
Persons who spoke expressed
anger at the apparent connection between executive management
and the recall petition. It was noted that such conduct by management
is unprecedented in this Office and unsavory and unseemly by
a law office that bears the legal responsibility for advising
other departments of the City -- indeed, the City as a whole
-- in matters of the law pertaining to management/union affairs.
The Board will consult with its counsel and consider filing
an Unfair Employee Relations Practice charge before the Citys
Employee Relations Board.
B. Recall Petition
A petition was presented to
the Association asking for a recall of the Association President.
The basis of the petition were complaints regarding the manner
in which ballots were received and counted.
The petition does not acknowledge
that the president was not present and did not participate in
the receipt or counting of the ballots.
The Board appointed a sub-committee
to determine the sufficiency of the petition and to report at
the next Board meeting its recommendations for action. Sub-committee
members are Secretary Judith Reel, Criminal Director Bob Fratianne,
and Civil Director Marsha Berkowitz. Shelley Smith abstained
in the vote to create and instruct the sub-committee. Bob Fratianne
opposed any action other than rejecting the petition for deficiencies
on its face. All other board members present voted to proceed
with the sub-committee as instructed.
C. Peer Advocates
Currently, only Board members
and Christine McCall (formerly Patterson) are authorized to
represent employees in disciplinary matters. Judith Reel stated
she would like to recruit others in the office to serve as peer
advocates, and to receive training in the representation of
employees. It was agreed that the Board will actively recruit
attorneys to serve as peer advocates, and any attorney desiring
to serve is asked to contact a Board member. Senior attorneys
are especially encouraged to share their training, experience
and judgment with their colleagues in this manner. Christine
McCall will participate in the training.
D. Possible Union Affiliation
Judith Reel proposed exploring
an affiliation with a larger union and inviting interested unions
to speak to the Board about affiliation. The view was expressed
that given managements demonstrated hostility to career
attorneys, it may be in members best interests to be represented
by a professional union rather than one staffed by volunteers.
Shelley Smith said she was aware of the recent affiliation of
the Los Angeles Professional Managers Association ("LAPMA")
with SEIU; she believed that the members dues did not
increase, and that LAPMA retained a large degree of autonomy.
It was agreed that as a preliminary
matter the Board will invite Julie Butcher of SEIU and Charlie
Mims, President of LAPMA, to a Board meeting to discuss issues
pertaining to affiliation. Due to the time demands caused by
the contract ratification and the need to timely act on the
recall petition, the Board unanimously voted to ask Ms. Butcher
and Mr. Mims to appear at the April Board meeting.
E. Insufficient Number
of Bulletin Boards
Judith Reel stated that on
the 16th floor of City Hall East, due to an insufficient number
of bulletin boards, people are often placing non-union materials
on the bulletin board dedicated to union matters. In addition,
on one floor in the Reyes building there is only one bulletin
board, and it is so crowded with posted materials that it almost
impossible to discern the Association materials. Shelley Smith
stated that management is obligated to provide sufficient billboards,
and it was agreed that the Board would send a letter to Jennifer
Kreiger asking her to rectify this failure.