Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Van de Kamp Names Public Members to Co-Chair State Bar Board Committees
By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer
Incoming State Bar President John K. Van de Kamp, who will be sworn in Saturday in Monterey, has departed from recent practice by naming co-chairs to lead three Board of Governors committees.
In another departure, those appointments—which technically are only recommendations to the board—include two non-attorney board members. Traditionally only elected attorney members of the board in the final year of their three-year terms have headed committees.
The appointments are not expected to be controversial, and will become final if approved by the board at its organizational meeting as the State Bar convention, which opens tomorrow, winds down Sunday morning.
A shift in the traditional pattern of committee chair appointments was guaranteed when the board, at its September meeting in Fresno, voted to consolidate its Stakeholder Relations Committee with its Volunteer Involvement Committee. That left only four committees—Planning, Program Development, and Budget, or PPDB; Member Oversight, or MOC; Regulation, Admission, and Discipline, or RAD; and the combined committee—to provide leadership roles for five third-year attorney board members.
A fifth committee, called Board Operations, is chaired by the president.
California’s 58 counties are divided into nine districts, with lawyers in each district electing between one and five board members. Only District 7, which consists of Los Angeles County, elects more than two members.
Elections are cycled so that five of the 15 elected attorney members are chosen each year, and the committee structure had been geared to provide each with an opportunity to lead a panel, at least in part as a means of establishing credentials to run for State Bar president.
Van de Kamp, a former state attorney general, resolved the shortage of leadership spots resulting from the committee merger by appointing two third-year attorney members to co-chair RAD. Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Ipsen is slated to share that role with Joel S. Miliband of Rus Miliband & Smith in Irvine.
But Van de Kamp went further, naming non-lawyer or “public” members of the board to co-chair MOC and the combined committee, which retains the title of Stakeholder Relations or SRC. Four of the board’s six public members are appointed by the governor, with one each being appointed by the Senate Rules Committee and the speaker of the Assembly.
Riverside educator Janet Green will co-chair MOC with attorney member Roderick A. McLeod of Jones Day in San Francisco. Public member John N. Snetsinger, a history professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, will share leadership of SRC with District 7 member David M. Marcus of the Century City office of Marcus, Watanabe, Snyder & Dave.
Of the third-year elected members, only James O. Heiting of Heiting & Irwin in Riverside will lead a committee alone. Heiting will chair PPBD.
Van de Kamp also named the members of the committees, with most of the junior board members serving on two committees. District 7’s sole second-year member, former Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Sheldon H. Sloan, was named to SRC and RAD.
Both of District 7’s first-year members, whose terms of office begin at the end of the Monterey convention, were tapped to serve on RAD and MOC. The two, MetNews Co-Publisher Jo-Ann W. Grace and Deputy Public Defender Marguerite D. Downing, were elected to the board in mail balloting which ended June 30.
Marcus commented yesterday that Van de Kamp appeared to have given “a lot of thought to what would be the best way to handle things in light of the fact that they cut the committee structure down from five to four.”
He called the addition of public members as committee co-chairs a “very good innovation,” and said he looks forward to working with Snetsinger.
Marcus discounted speculation that Heiting’s position as the sole chair of the influential PPDB panel will give him an advantage when Van de Kamp’s successor is chosen by the board members next year, though he agreed Heiting will probably be a candidate. This year four of the five third-year elected members competed for the post.
Though Van de Kamp served as RAD chair, his two predecessors came to the presidency from PPDB.
“I certainly don’t think it’s an attempt to groom an heir apparent,” Marcus declared, suggesting that election as president depends less on what committee a candidate chaired than on who has the “closest working relations with the greatest number of people on the board.”
Heiting, he noted, has served on PPDB during his first two years on the board.
“I don’t think that being the planning chair necessarily helps you,” Marcus said.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company