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    News / Perspective

    Lakewood Accountability Action Group Blasts County Supes For Extending Union-Employees' Raise To Higher Level Non-Union County Employees


    (Nov. 25, 2006) -- The Lakewood Accountability Action Group website (www.laag.us) is blasting a Nov. 21 action by L.A. County's Board of Supervisors (which Lakewood-LB area Supervisor Don Knabe supported) that extended a roughly 15% three-year pay raise for certain unionized County employees to non-unionzed, mainly higher level County employees.

    The pay raise for the non-union County employees (including some managemnt and supervisory positions) was part of an agenda item approving contracts negotiated with certain union-represented employees (generally lower paid).

    County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen acknowledged in an accompanying memo that the County's pension actuary "has advised that the proposed salary adjustments [for union represented and non-represented employees] exceed LACERA's [Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Ass'n] current assumptions regarding salary inflation and will result in an increase in actuarial liability" but urged approval of the pay raises. "[T]he salary adjustments granted to these and other County employees over the last three years were below LACERA's actuarial assumptions by amounts that more than offset the impact of these proposed adjustments," his agendized memo said.

    Posted on LAAG's website (whose front page banner proclaims "Demanding action and accountability from local government") is a November 20 email to Supervisor Knabe which states in pertinent part:

    ...I do not understand how any board of supervisors or any city council can continue to give money away at this rate. Full speed a head on the Titanic!...As a self employed person I do not have the time to appear personally at the [Board of Supervisors] meeting on 11/21/06. I am sure it will be unanimous in favor of the govt. employees...I will remember this and make sure the voters in the 4th district remember at election time.

    LAAG has also posted a Daily News previewing the coming Board of Supervisors' vote in a piece the paper headlined, "County's Payday Giveaway: 15.5% Deal Extends To Nonunion Workers." followed by Daily News editorial after the Supervisors' vote which the paper titled, "Lesson Unlearned: County's Pay Giveaway Cheats Taxpayers."

    The County pay raises come at a time when L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca continues releasing certain prisoners early from L.A. County jails citing a lack of funding.

    The Board of Supervisors approved the raises without discussion without comment in roughly five seconds.

    The pay raises for the non-unionized County employees stem from a paragraph included in a memo to Supervisors from County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen. The memo, which recommended approval of pay raises negotiated with the Service Employees Int'l Union Local 660 (e.g clerical and office services, custodians, paramedical technical employees, RNs, artisan and blue color employees, medical social workers, social service investigators, librarians) and the Coalition of County Unions and/or Independent Employee Associations (e.g. interns & resident physicians, county police officers, life guards, agricultural inspectors)...and included the following additional verbiage:

    "In light of these [union employee] agreements, it would be appropriate to extend comparable pay and benefit adjustments to non-represented employees." CAO Janssen's memo also recommended, and Supervisors agreed, to include "additional market-based inequity adjustments in those instances where similar adjustments were negotiated for subordinate represented staff. These adjustments...will preserve appropriate internal pay relationships between the various affected classes."

    For higher level County employees covered by the County's "Management Appraisal and Performance Plan (MAPP)," the Supervisors also approved (on CAO Janssen's recommendation) the "same general salary adjustments on the same dates as applicable to most other employees...With certain exceptions...these adjustments will apply to all MAPP participants, including most Department Heads, who have received a performance rating of 'Merit Performance' or better."

    In a memo section titled "Impact on Current Services," CAO Janseen said "None." The memo doesn't cite the taxpayer cost of the non-union employee raises.

    On the same Nov. 21 agenda, Supervisors approved a motion waiving Music Center parking fees for roughly 400 vehicles on the evening of January 11, 2007 (cost not to exceed $3,200) for an event commemorating County CAO Janssen's [text of motion] "dedication to the County of Los Angeles over the last ten years...Mr. Janssenís leadership has contributed significantly to our success in fulfilling the Countyís mission to 'enrich lives through effective and caring service.'"


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