Meeting Date: January 6, 2010; 5:00 p.m.
Board Members Present: Oscar Winslow (President), Renee Braeunig (Vice President), Judith Reel (Vice President), Juliann Anderson (Secretary), Nick Karno (Criminal Director), Ann Rosenthal (Criminal Director), Garcelle Embry (Civil Director), Marie McTeague (Civil Director), Christopher Bobo (Proprietary Director).
SEIU Local 721 Representative Present: Bob Hunt (General Counsel)
1. New Business
A. Board Elections Results
Members of the Los Angeles City Attorneys' Association voted to elect Oscar Winslow as president of the Association, Juliann Anderson as Secretary, and Ann Rosenthal as a Criminal Director.
Board Members for 2010 therefore are as follows:
President: Oscar Winslow
• Vice-President: Renee Braeunig
• Vice-President: Judy Reel
• Secretary: Juliann Anderson
• Treasurer: Jule Bishop
• Criminal Director: Nick Karno
• Criminal Director: Felton Newell
• Criminal Director: Ann Rosenthal
• Proprietary Director: Chris Bobo
• Civil Director: Garcelle Embry
• Civil Director: Marie McTeague
The Board thanked outgoing members Shelley Smith, Michael Duran and Becky Gardner for their service and vigorous advocacy on behalf of Association members.
Prior to the January 6 meeting, the Board voted via e-mail to seat the new board members.
Board members discussed the LACAA website, and whether it needs to be improved. The Board seeks suggestions from LACAA members and will further discuss the website at the next meeting.
C. Volunteer Attorneys / Academy of Justice
Association members have contacted the board regarding volunteer attorneys. Over 30 volunteers are currently being trained by the Office's "Academy of Justice."
In the past, the office occasionally allowed attorneys to volunteer to work in the office and perform city attorney duties. Previously, the Board decided not to oppose the practice but to revisit the issue if members were subject to layoffs or furloughs.
The Board discussed whether the establishment of the Academy of Justice – which appears to formalize and institutionalize the practice of using volunteer attorneys to supplement our work force – violates the City's obligation to meet and confer with LACAA prior to implementing work rule changes. It also appears as if management intends to use many more volunteer attorneys than in the past. Although it was noted that some colleagues may appreciate having volunteers lighten our workloads, Board members agreed that it is inappropriate to use volunteers to supplement service cuts necessitated by furloughs.
The Board voted unanimously to file an unfair employee relations practice charge regarding the lack of bargaining and the transfer of bargaining unit work to volunteers.
D. Office Layoff Protocol: Update
The Board reported on the status of negotiations with city attorney's office management over management's proposal for a layoff procedure.
Specifically, management proposed that each separate pay grade code (e.g., DCA I, II, III, etc.) be treated as a separate classification, and that management be allowed the discretion to lay off by pay grade, rather than on a last-in, first-out methodology with respect to the class of attorneys.
For example, under the management proposal, management could decide to lay off 30 DCA IVs. Among the 30 most recently hired at, or advanced to DCA IV, those who previously served at a lower pay grade would be demoted to that lower grade, and those who were hired as DCA IVs would be laid off. For every DCA IV demoted to DCA III, a DCA III would be demoted to DCA II, or laid off if the DCA III was hired at that level.
The Board discussed management's proposal, and determined that it violates our Charter-guaranteed tenure system and seniority rights. Management's proposal is more akin to an at-will employment system rather than a tenure system. Management's proposal places many members at risk for arbitrary demotions and further compromises members' ability to reliably make personal financial decisions and plans. Management's proposal would also have the effect of preventing management from awarding any promotions to a pay grade from which someone was laid off or demoted until all those demoted were restored to their former pay grade and those laid off were offered re-employment.
The Board believes that the office has one class of attorneys, and that layoffs of attorneys – if they occur – should proceed strictly according to office-wide seniority, regardless of an attorney's pay grade.
(Note: the Board did not discuss or endorse layoffs or furloughs per seThe discussion was limited to management's proposal and its potential impact upon members.)
E. Unfair Employee Relations Practice Charge: Furloughs
The Board earlier filed an unfair labor practices charge with the City's Employee Relations Board relating to a policy at a branch restricting when employees may use their furlough hours.
The Board voted to accept management's proposal to modify the policy, and impose one that allows flexibility in the use of furlough time while allowing management the right to ensure that courts are adequately staffed and operational needs are satisfied.
F. ADA Accommodation Budget
Members have raised questions about ADA accommodation prescriptions (e.g., for ergonomic chairs) going unfilled due to the budget crisis. The Board asked SEIU General Counsel Bob Hunt to ascertain if this is a citywide budget problem or particular to this office.
G. Committee Appointments
The Board appointed Ann Rosenthal to sit as the Association's representative on the City's Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee (negotiating employee benefits including health and dental plans).
The Board appointed Oscar Winslow and Garcelle Embry to attend a meeting with the CAO and other city unions to hear the City's proposal for a ballot measure regarding pension changes for future city employees.
H. Board Meetings
The Board decided to hold monthly meetings, rather than meet every other month. The first Wednesday of each month is the tentative board meeting time.
Minutes respectfully submitted,
Los Angeles City Attorneys' Association Board Secretary