A. Contract Negotiations:
Shelley Smith reported that ours is one of
seven employee organizations with an M.O.U. ratified by the City
and membership which has not yet been presented to the City Council
because of the Councils concerns about the proposed exchange
of Cesar Chavez Birthday for Columbus Day. Notwithstanding that
the Council previously ordered the C.A.O. to obtain agreement
to switch holidays, and notwithstanding that the Council has already
approved such change for 10,000 civilian City employees, after
a significant show of opposition by the Italian-American community,
the Council referred the matter to the E.E.R.C. for a recommendation.
The E.E.R.C. is scheduled to meet on Friday, April 19, 2002, to
consider the issue. C.A.O. Fujioka has advised the Council that
he recommends that the Council ratify the M.O.U.s stalled on this
issue and seek to reopen negotiations on the holiday issue.
A. Public Records Act Request
An Association member inquired whether management
provided the Association with all requested documents regarding
the numbers of attorneys hired by the new administration, and
their salaries. Jule Bishop responded that management has provided
all documents requested, and that the latest document she received
revealed that the new administration has hired 47 attorneys.
It was stated that under the previous administration,
a monthly document was generated and supplied to supervisors,
identifying all attorneys in the Office, their salary classification,
and other pertinent information. The document was generated in
satisfaction of EEO requirements. Jule Bishop agreed to show management
a copy of such document, and to request that management regularly
provide the Association with a copy.
It was noted at the meeting that the CityFone
website has the name and phone number of all City employees, and
their salary classifications. Accordingly, anyone can determine
employee salary classification by that website link: "http://insidela/"
. The site may not be operational to employees working at DWP.
B. Results of Informal Discussions with
Board members have agreed to meet informally
each month with management to discuss matters of concern. One
meeting has already occurred with discussion on the following
1. " Confidential" Memorandum regarding
Civil Discovery of Criminal Branch Records:
Shelley Smith expressed concern about the
written policy re discovery of Criminal Branch records in Civil
Branch litigation recently promulgated by Terree Bowers. At the
top of the policy memorandum Chief Deputy Terree Bowers set forth
a prominent warning that the policy was for internal use only
and not to be revealed or disseminated outside the office. Some
attorneys expressed concern that secret policies are inimical
in a public law office, especially on matters affecting the substantive
rights of criminal defendants and civil litigants and the abilities
of the private bar in representing these persons. Furthermore,
there has been expressed concern that mandatory meet and confer
procedures prescribed by California statute for resolution of
discovery disputes cannot be fulfilled in good faith if Civil
Branch attorneys are prohibited making reference to -- or even
revealing the fact of -- an official policy which limits the discovery
that can be produced.
In response to the Boards concerns,
Terree Bowers responded that management does not intend that the
substantive contents of the memorandum be kept secret or confidential,
but that management wanted to discourage attorneys from unnecessarily
sharing the memorandum with persons outside of the Office. While
this distinction was not set forth in the memorandum, Bowers further
explicitly stated that attorneys may disclose the Office policy
in the course of their duties, and that no discipline will ensue
from such disclosure .
2. Due Process Procedures
A general discussion was held with respect
to attorney performance and standards. All parties agreed that
if management desires to impose discipline, it will abide by the
processes required by law, i.e., it will first seek to identify
and correct specific unsatisfactory behavior, will follow a sequence
of progressive discipline, and will have adequate documentation
of adequate reasons for any disciplinary effort.
C. Peer Advocates
A session about employee rights and responsibilities
to train Association members to serve as peer advocates will occur
on June 8. Any member who intends to attend should contact Board
Secretary Judith Reel to arrange attendance. The training is intended
to be concrete practical instruction in the representation of
attorneys in grievances and disciplinary matters. Shelley Smith
and Christine McCall (formerly Patterson) will participate in
D. Secret Promotions
Several persons spoke of receiving information
regarding secret promotions by management, i.e., unannounced promotions
absent an office-wide attorney merit and promotion process. There
was concern expressed about the profound negative impact on morale
such managerial actions cause, especially in light of managements
verbal agreement during M.O.U. negotiations to maintain the status
quo with regard to the formalized Merit and Promotion process.
It was agreed that the Board will discuss this issue and appropriate
action at the next informal meeting with management.