Minutes

LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION
DRAFT BOARD MEETING MINUTES

(Minutes not formally adopted until next meeting)

Meeting Date: May 21, 2002

Board Members Present: Shelley Smith (President), Mary Dennis (Vice President), Liz Greenwood (Vice President, by proxy), Judith Reel (Secretary), Marsha Berkowitz (Civil Director), Eskel Solomon (Proprietary Director)

I. Old Business

A. Contract Negotiations:

Shelley Smith reported that the C.A.O. and City Attorney management signed the M.O.U., after which it was transmitted to the City Clerk for submission to Council. The Board unanimously ratified Shelley Smith’s decision to execute a "Me-Too" agreement, by which the Association agreed to abide by the decision of the majority of civilian employees as to the resolution of the dispute regarding the exchange of Cesar Chavez Birthday for Columbus Day. Thus, if the majority of civilian employees agree to give up the half-day Christmas Eve holiday to obtain both Cesar Chavez Birthday and Columbus Day holidays, then the Association would also agree to such a switch. If, however, the majority of civilian employees do not agree to reopen their contracts on the issue, then Association members will have as holidays Cesar Chavez Birthday and a half day on Christmas Eve, as set forth in the ratified M.O.U.

II. New Business

A. City Hall East Attorney Office Space

Shelley Smith reported that Office Management informed her that the proposed architectural plan for the relocation in City Hall East provided that non-supervisorial attorneys would be assigned only 120 square feet of office space. To fit into 120 square feet, attorneys might have to accept smaller "modular" furniture, and would have to place file cabinets outside of their offices. In addition, there would be only one small kitchen area to serve all four floors.

Shelley spoke at a meeting of the Municipal Facilities Committee, consisting of the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Tim McOsker, C.A.O. Bill Fujioka, and C.L.A. Ron Deaton. Shelley explained to the Committee that a 120 square foot office would prevent most of the attorneys from effectively performing their duties. She also informed them that the reduction in size would constitute a material change in working conditions, and that if the plans were not modified, the Association would demand to meet and confer on the issue.

At the Committee’s instructions, Board members met with City engineers and City Attorney Management during the next week to negotiate changes to the architectural plans. As a result, almost all of the non-supervisorial attorneys remaining in City Hall East will have a 150 square foot window office, and each of the four floors assigned to the Office will have a kitchen area.

B. Results of Informal Discussions with Management

Terree Bowers rescheduled the monthly informal discussions between management and the Board for Friday, May 24.

C. Discussion of Employee Workload

Concern was expressed regarding management’s insistence that, in the absence of volunteers, matters formerly assigned to an attorney handling police employment appellate matters would be assigned to Association members. Two principal concerns were expressed by members:

1. Elimination of Firewall between Confidential and Non-Confidential Units

Appeals arising from police employment section cases are considered work to be performed by attorneys in the confidential unit, and thus the work should not be assigned to persons not in a confidential bargaining unit. By assigning confidential matters to persons not in a confidential unit, the Office would be disregarding the "firewall" between confidential and non-confidential work.

2. Potential Meet and Confer Issue

A concern was also expressed that the Police Employment Litigation Section may lack sufficient resources to absorb the work formerly performed by the appellate attorney, and thus the Office would seek to have it performed by attorneys assigned to other divisions. While it was acknowledged that management may have the right to determine the Office’s organizational structure, under established case law it must meet and confer when its decisions materially affect employees’ workload.

D. Affiliation with Larger Union

Charlie Mims, President of the Los Angeles Professional Management’s Association ("LAPMA"), spoke about his union’s decision to affiliate with SEIU, Local 347. LAPMA consists of all management personnel in the City other than general managers, but including assistant general managers.

In the mid-1990's, LAPMA decided that they would have more influence with Council and other City leaders if they were to affiliate with a larger union. It seemed obvious to LAPMA members that elected officials listened to people in affiliated unions more than people in smaller, less powerful, unions. LAPMA appointed a committee to conduct a search and make a recommendation regarding union affiliation.

The Committee members interviewed representatives of all interested unions, and ultimately recommended affiliation with SEIU, Local 347. The reasons for the recommendation included the following: SEIU was the largest union in the City; it had a democratic style of leadership; it had a strong history of effective business managers; it had a long history of exercising power in the City; and it had a demonstrated ability to make correct political decisions. In February of 1998, LAPMA voted to affiliate with SEIU.

Charlie Mims expressed satisfaction with LAPMA’s decision to affiliate with SEIU. Since the affiliation, in addition to placement of a LAPMA member on SEIU’s Board of Directors, a LAPMA member was also elected President of SEIU’s Board of Trustees.

E. Management’s Core Work Hours Proposal

Members reported that City Attorney Management had enunciated a "core hours" initiative which was announced at a Managing Assistants’ meeting. In substance, the policy would provide that absent a supervisor’s authorization, attorneys are expected to be in the Office daily during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Subsequent to that meeting, Terree Bowers gave Shelley Smith a draft proposal at a meet and confer meeting.

Some stated that as drafted, the proposal does not appear to be a significant departure from previous Office practice, which has always allowed supervisors to authorize a flexible work schedule. Others expressed concern, however, that the proposal may represent a significant departure from previous Office practice and an attempted reversal of employee rights regarding "flex time" already secured -- and recently reaffirmed -- at the bargaining table. In particular, there was concern expressed that management might instruct supervisors to deny requests to work a flexible schedule, and that the proposal might represent an attempt to deny attorneys the right to use accumulated comp time.

At the least, some stated, management’s interest in fashioning a policy whereby all attorneys are expected to be at their desks between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. might reveal a lack of trust in current supervisors to competently and honorably manage the attorneys under their charge, and might further communicate a distrust of all attorneys working in the Office

Shelley Smith indicated that the Board would be taking all this feedback into consideration when meeting and conferring in response to management’s proposal.

F. Membership Attendance at Sponsored Events

The Board regularly authorizes the purchase of tickets to fundraisers and other events where it determines that attendance would further the Association’s interests. There are occasions when tickets are available for Association members. Currently, the Association does not have a consistent procedure in place to notify members when these opportunities become available. It was agreed that the Board Secretary, Judith Reel, will maintain a list of all Association members who are interested in attending these event.

Members who would like to attend sponsored events when tickets are available should notify Judith Reel, and indicate if the member has a particular interest in a certain type of event (e.g., criminal law events), or events pertaining to a specific official or area (e.g., events pertaining to the Harbor district). She will compile a list and notify members from that list when tickets are available.

III. PAC

The PAC met to consider various pending requests.

 

As you know, our new MOU includes annual reimbursement for MCLE-related expenses. To ensure that you receive complete and timely reimbursement, we encourage you to follow the instructions contained in the MCLE protocol provided by City Attorney Management. You must complete and submit a reimbursement form in order to receive reimbursement.

You can reimburse expenses related to attending MCLE programs that are accepted by the California State Bar, even if the program takes place in another state. Eligible expenses include the cost of the program, travel, and per diems.

Please be judicious when choosing lodging and which food/drink expenses you submit for reimbursement.


The Board is pleased to announce that LACAA has retained the law firm of MASTAGNI, HOLSTEDT, AMICK, MILLER & JOHNSEN as General Counsel.


To sign up for the LACAA newsletter and email updates from Oscar Winslow,
LACAA's President, send a request to lacaapresident@gmail.com.