Minutes

LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION
BOARD MEETING MINUTES

Meeting Date:   May 15, 2008

Board Members Present: Shelley Smith (President), Michael Duran (Vice-President), Matt St. George (Vice-President), Jule Bishop (Treasurer), Judith Reel (Secretary), Nick Karno (Criminal Director), Rebecca Gardner (Criminal Director), Christopher Bobo (Proprietary Director)

SEIU Local 721 Representative Present:  Bob Hunt (General Counsel)

I. Old Business

A.  City Budget           
The Mayor’s proposed budget recommended elimination of 60 support staff positions in our office, 40 of which are currently filled.  At Budget & Finance Committee hearings, our office opposed the cuts, as did AFSCME (the union that represents much of our support staff), the LA City Attorneys’ Association, and many support staff employees.  We understand that the Budget & Finance Committee has recommended to the full Council that no one be laid off in our office.  To save costs, the Committee recommended that we do more of the City’s workers’ comp litigation in-house, rather than through outside counsel.  We will continue to monitor the discussions in Council about our budget, and if needed will continue to advocate against laying off staff.
The Mayor also announced an intention to require each City employee, except for those in the Police, Fire, and Sanitation Departments, to take 6 days off without pay during the fiscal year 2008-2009, and is attempting to change City civil service rules in order to allow for furloughs.  We do not believe that the City can unilaterally change civil service rules nor require employees to take days off without pay, and that City management is required to meet and confer with the unions.  The unions have not agreed to change civil service rules nor agreed to mandatory furloughs.   
The Coalition of City Unions that represents approximately 22,000 civilian city employees, including our members, has been meeting with City management to discuss the City’s budget.  The Coalition, however, has not agreed to re-open the recently enacted M.O.U.’s, and does not plan to renegotiate them.  If the Coalition of City Unions that negotiated our M.O.U. does agree to re-open the M.O.U.s, any recommended changes would have to be ratified by our members.  To save costs, the Coalition recommended to City management that in lieu of layoffs the City offer a retirement incentive to our more senior employees.  The City has not agreed to the Coalition recommendation.

II. New Business

A. Time-Sheet Records  
Under the terms of the M.O.U., a city attorney may not accrue comp time in the same period that the employee uses sick time or vacation time.  See M.O.U., Article 10 B (“In no event shall vacation time or sick leave count towards an employee’s 80-hour pay period for purposes of calculating excess hours worked. . . . “).  Management includes IOD leave in its definition of sick leave.
The Board learned that when an employee submits a time sheet in which the employee used sick leave or vacation, and claimed accrual of comp time, the Office unilaterally changes the time sheet in accordance with Article 10 B so that the employee does not earn comp time, and often fails to notify the employee of the change.  The Board objects to this practice, and believes the office should instead reject the time sheet and instruct the employee to correct the entry, or at the very least send a notice to the affected employee about the change.  This would ensure the integrity of time sheets and remind  employees about the limits on the accrual of comp time.
The Board raised the issue with management, and management appeared agreeable to having Personnel notify employees whenever Personnel makes a correction to a time sheet.  We will follow up with management on this issue.

B. Litigation Update
Bob Hunt reported on attempts by outside counsel representing the City in litigation brought by a deputy city attorney to obtain discovery about communications between Bob Hunt and the attorney.  The Board earlier authorized the retention of outside counsel to represent Bob, and affirmed its commitment to safeguarding the confidentiality of communications between LACAA members and our counsel.

C. Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Jule Bishop reported on expenditures from our PAC account, and investment strategies for the non-PAC monies.  The Board voted to establish a committee to advise on investments.

 

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.