Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, March 19, 2010


Page 3


ADDA President Drops Administrative Claims Against Cooley


By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer


Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Ipsen, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, has dropped his administrative claims against the county and his boss, District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Claims by Ipsen, ADDA Vice President Marc Debbaudt and the union that Cooley has violated the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Ordinance have been the subject of proceedings before the Employee Relations Commission for the past year.

The ordinance requires the county to bargain in good-faith with the representatives of certified employee organization and prohibits it from interfering with the formation of any employee organizations.

A spokesperson from Cooley’s office said that Ipsen had “just started his cross-examination” before withdrawing from the proceedings, so “we have no opportunity to cross examine him fully on the allegations that he’s been making against us.”

Ipsen, who unsuccessfully challenged Cooley in the last election, yesterday explained that the preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California in the union’s federal lawsuit against Cooley and the county “was sufficient to address my concerns.”

The union and an unnamed member filed a complaint against Cooley, Chief Deputy District Attorney John Spillane, Bureau Director John Zajec and Assistant District Attorneys Curtis Hazell and Jacquelyn Lacey last October, claiming constitutional violations based on the defendants’ attempts to quash the fledging union.

According to a 43-page complaint, Cooley and his administration engaged in discriminatory acts such as transferring senior union members to assignments generally reserved for young, inexperienced prosecutors.

Wright issued the injunction earlier this month, finding the ADDA had “established a course of explicit retaliation” that was “both striking and rampant” in a decision ordering the defendants not to discipline or discriminate against prosecutors for belonging to the union.

Ipsen opined that Wright’s order was “a global fix” and “covered the initial ERCOM complaint that I was discriminated against in my punitive transfer.”

Since “the whole point was to get the protection for every DA, not just for me,” Ipsen said he decided it would be “a waste of dues money to prolong my case” in the administrative setting.

“My presentation of my case would have stretched the hearing out” at “an extraordinary cost” to members footing the cost of attorney fees, he said, explaining that it was in the union’s best interest to “try to bring the ERCOM hearings to a rapid close” by “throwing out the excess baggage to finish the case.”

Counsel for the District Attorney’s Office, Trevor Grimm and David J. Wilson of Manning & Marder, Kass, Elrod, Ramirez LLP did not return calls for comment.


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