LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEYS' ASSOCIATION
BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: ERB Board Room, 11th Floor CHE
Present: Oscar Winslow (President), Howard M. Fuchs (1st Vice President), Mark Lambert (2nd Vice President), Juliann Anderson, (Secretary), Chris Bobo (Proprietary Director), Marie McTeague (Civil Director), Garcelle Embry (Civil Director), Ann Rosenthal (Criminal Director), Nick Karno (Criminal Director), Bob Hunt (Attorney)
1.Discussion of LACAA’s public image and approaches to improve our image.
LACAA is in the process of updating its website so members have timely access to relevant information.
Comments from members.
2. Discussion of Rule 2
In response to Bill Carter's recent communication regarding the Office’s layoff procedure (a subject of ongoing bargaining with management), Senior Assistant Mark Burton presented the history of our Charter-guaranteed tenure system and Rule 2, the Office’s layoff procedure.
Burton recounted the history of our tenure system and the reasons the City adopted this system for its attorneys. The system was intended to prevent a spoils system of employment in the Office. The tenure guarantee we have under Charter § 1050 is intended to guard against a spoils system of employment in the Office. Accordingly, tenured attorneys do not have to worry about losing their jobs merely because they give politically unpopular, albeit legally correct, advice.
Under Rule 2, the first person laid off in any “class of position” within the Office is the person with the least seniority in that class of position. Our current management contends that “class of position” is the same as a pay grade. Management’s interpretation of the term “class of positions” would nullify the tenure guarantees of Charter Section 1050 because it would allow for a reduction in grade of the most senior attorneys in the office. The position of all the associations representing attorneys in this Office is as follows: all attorneys occupy one class of position for layoff purposes.
Burton reminded members of the tactics used by prior administrations to foment dissension within the Office - and that threats of layoffs are not new. He encouraged members to remain calm and to resist any tactics of management to divide our Office. The presentation was extremely informative and Burton has volunteered to return with materials and more information at future meetings.
3. Financial Report (Financial health of LACAA)
The treasurer was not present.
4. Discussion of Board research and analysis re: current issues facing LACAA members
There was some discussion regarding the imposition of 36 furlough days. At least one member asked for a revote, claiming that people within our Office did not realize that these furloughs may actually be imposed. Other members disagreed, stating that we had been told about the 36 days furloughs. It was pointed out that the CAO had threatened it, Garcetti had threatened it and it was well publicized that this was what we were being threatened with when we voted. Board members stated that they are meeting and conferring with management regarding the unilateral imposition of furloughs and the permanent freeze of our health subsidy.
A number of the members present wanted to know exactly what the Board was negotiating and what legal strategies the Board was developing. Those members indicated that the board was not being transparent with them. Members were reminded that Bob Hunt had advised the Board at a previous meeting not to discuss specifics regarding ongoing negotiations, as it typically tends to weaken the bargaining position. Additionally, it could result in waiver of "work-product" and "attorney-client" privileges. As negotiations progress, the Board will share what they can pursuant to advice of its legal counsel.
The Board was asked to hold all meetings open to the membership. Members were reminded that the Board has typically held at least one open meeting a month, even though the bylaws require only one membership meeting in a year. A number of members remained dissatisfied with this response. In response, other members commented that that this Board is one of the most communicative and transparent Boards they have had.
Motion by Karno: To provide a weekly e-mail update by the President of LACAA.
For: Karno, Anderson
Against: Winslow, Fuchs, Lambert, Bobo, McTeague, Embry, Rosenthal