Thursday, April 29, 2010
ADDA President Announces Plans to Resign
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Association of Deputy District Attorneys President Steven J. Ipsen said yesterday he will offer his resignation to the union’s governing body.
In doing so, he said, he expects to show that District Attorney Steve Cooley bears animus towards the organization and not, as Cooley has asserted, towards Ipsen alone.
“I’m calling your bluff, Mr. Cooley,” Ipsen told the MetNews. “Now who’s your villain?”
A spokesperson for Cooley declined to comment.
Cooley testified extensively at a hearing Tuesday before the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission regarding incidents that caused him “concern” with Ipsen’s character and judgment, and acknowledged that he disliked the prosecutor.
Allegations of Retaliation
The proceedings arose from allegations by the ADDA and Vice President Marc Debbaudt that Cooley and his administration have discriminated and retaliated against the union and its supporters. Similar claims also underlie a lawsuit pending before U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California brought by the union and one unnamed deputy district attorney.
Ipsen said he was “convinced that Mr. Cooley is manufacturing a personal animosity for me that is a fiction” to hide his enmity for the ADDA. “The truth is it’s the positions I took [as ADDA president] that…turn his stomach,” Ipsen opined.
If the union accepts his resignation, Ipsen predicted, Cooley “will begin to vilify the new president,” likely to be current Executive Vice-President Hyatt Seligman.
Ipsen further posited that Cooley’s “anti-union animus and his contempt for his own deputy D.A.s” would prevent the ADDA from being able to negotiate with Cooley and his administration.
He explained that the union wants to negotiate an agreement allowing deputy district attorneys to earn “compensatory time” on par with deputy county counsel, so that prosecutors get time off if they work over 40 hours a week.
Cooley “promised this” to the deputies, Ipsen said. “It was a campaign promise.”
Another concession sought by the union is to ensure that advancement within the office occurs in parity with county counsel, where attorneys are promoted at a much more rapid pace than the District Attorney’s Office, Ipsen said.
The union also wants to make the office policy for prosecutors accused of crimes to be uniform for management and lower level deputies, Ipsen continued. He claimed that lawyers below management level are suspended without pay if charged with a crime, even if the case is dismissed, whereas more senior attorneys are not, even if they are convicted.
Additionally, the union was requesting an agreement that management would not interfere with the prosecutors’ ethical obligations to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense, and give the attorneys notice of assignment vacancies and opportunities to request transfers.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company