Meeting Date: September 9, 2009
Board Members Present: Michael Duran (Vice-President), Renee Braeunig (Vice-President), Jule Bishop (Treasurer), Judith Reel (Secretary), Felton Newell (Criminal Director), Rebecca Gardner (Criminal Director), Garcelle Embry (Civil Director), Christopher Bobo (Proprietary Director)
SEIU Local 721 Representative Present: Bob Hunt (General Counsel)
I. Old Business
A. City Budget Update
The Coalition of City unions, including SEIU Local 721 representing members of the Los Angeles City Attorneys’ Association, voted to defer COLAs and the addition of longevity steps at the DCA III G, IV G and Asst. G levels, for two years to help close the City’s budget deficit, in exchange for which the members would gain protection from lay-offs and furloughs. A key component of the plan was the Early Retirement Incentive Program (“ERIP”), by which up to 2,400 civilian city employees would receive a monetary incentive to retire immediately. The cost of the ERIP program was to be funded by city employees over a 15 year period. To be effective, ERIP had to be approved by LACERs, and the Council had to approve the entire budget compromise, including ERIP.
On Tuesday, September 9, 2009, the LACERs Board voted to approve ERIP as bargained by the Coalition and City management. We expect that Council will vote on the budget compromise during the week of September 14. The Council will initially vote on a “first reading,” to be followed by a vote on a second reading at least 30 days later.
Up-to-date information regarding City budget developments can be found on the SEIU Local 721 website at: SEIU721.org, and on the Coalition of City Unions website at: lacitycoalition.com.
B. Volunteer Attorneys
The Office occasionally allows attorneys to volunteer to work in the office and perform city attorney duties. The Board had previously discussed whether it would be appropriate to continue to utilize the services of volunteer attorneys if city attorneys were laid off, given that unions would oppose using volunteers to perform the work of laid-off employees.
Given the likelihood that the City budget compromise will pass and as a result no LACAA member will be laid off or furloughed, the Board voted not to presently oppose the use of volunteer attorneys. It was noted that if attorneys retire under ERIP and cannot be replaced, our members would benefit by the presence of volunteer attorneys. The Board will revisit the issue if appropriate.
II. New Business
A. Board Elections
The Board authorized sending a notice to all members concerning the nomination and election process for Los Angeles City Attorneys’ Association Board positions. The Board seats currently up for reelection are President (currently held by Shelley Smith), Second Vice-President (currently held by Michael Duran), Secretary (currently held by Judy Reel), Civil Director (currently held by Garcelle Embry), Criminal Director (currently held by Becky Gardner), and Proprietary Director (currently held by Chris Bobo).
There was a vacant Civil Director position, and the Board received a petition on behalf of Marie McTeague to fill that position. The Board voted unanimously to seat Ms. McTeague, and we welcome her to the Board.
B. Monthly Meetings with Management
Under the Delgadillo administration, Board representatives, along with Bob Hunt, met monthly with management to discuss union issues and to try to resolve disputes informally. The Board would like to resume this practice, and asked Bob Hunt to write a letter to management requesting to meet monthly. Chris Bobo and Renee Braeunig volunteered to attend monthly meetings.
C. Requests for Accommodation
It was reported that the Office has not been providing office equipment that an ergonomic specialist or a doctor has determined an employee needs. For example, employees needing office chairs with better lumbar support or voice recognition computer software are not receiving the equipment. We understand that the office contends that it lacks the funds to provide the necessary equipment.
The Board discussed various options available to the Board and members to seek redress, and decided to request a meeting with management to try to quickly resolve the situation.
D. Treasurer’s Report
Board Treasurer Jule Bishop presented her annual report on the Board’s