[Download .pdf version: budget1]
ALAA Union Update
July 9, 2000
568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, New York, NY 10012 3225•212.343.0708
As previously reported, The Legal Aid Society, ALAA and 1199 have worked very hard this Spring to convince the City Council, in adopting the city budget effective July 1, 2000, to restore at least $12 million of the cumulative $30 million in criminal defense funding that the Giuliani administration has transferred over the past six years from the Society to the runaway (nonunion) RFPs and the 18 B panel.
These continuing cuts, compounded by the recent sharp increase in LAS arraignment shifts caused by “Operation Condor,” inflicted a $2 million gap in CDD/CAB funding for the last fiscal year-the first such deficit in the history of those divisions.
Notwithstanding these joint efforts, however, the Council restored only $5.6 million of the necessary $12 million, and the Society learned only in the middle of last week that the city will not provide COLA (cost of living) in¬creases until conclusion of municipal labor negotiations, possibly by the fall.
The Society and its unions continue to seek funding increases through political action (in¬cluding the upcoming mayoral and city council races), through deposition of Rudolph Giuliani in the ongoing federal lawsuit, and (discussed below) through renegotiation of the Society’s city contract.
Until then, however, the criminal divisions’ dire fiscal situation will have a serious negative impact in all divisions, the details of which are under ongoing joint discussion between Society administration and the unions. These include:
●No New CDD Hiring. CDD has been compelled to withdraw the September offers made to nine excellent applicants. No subse¬quent hiring is planned.
●Transfers. While projected attrition rates make precision difficult, the Society calculates that reductions in CDD spending must be achiev¬ed through transfers to approximately 20 positions open elsewhere in the Society, primar¬ily in the Civil and Juvenile Rights divisions; transfers from CAB are also under preliminary consideration.
In addition, the Society estimates that, to balance anticipated workload demands within CDD, it is necessary to transfer 6 7 attorneys from CDD/Queens, primarily to CDD/Brooklyn and CDD/Manhattan where Condor’s impact appears to have been greatest.
The Society hopes to enlist volunteers for such transfers, on the understanding that trans¬ferees will have the right to return to the sending division(s) when and if positions again become open. As per the ALAA contract, however, when the number of voluntary transfers is insuf¬ficient, the Society may resort to involuntary transfers.
The Society and the unions will carefully review attrition. workload rates and non personnel expenses to determine when and if such transfers are warranted, and if so, fair and appropriate criteria for selecting transferees.
●TransitChek Delay. Due to the reduced cash flow discussed above, purchase of this quarter’s (July September) TransitCheks for Staff Attorneys, Management and Exempt employees, in all divisions, has been delayed-not eliminated-probably until Au¬gust.
Meanwhile, available cash has been priori¬tized to pay contractually obligated salaries and benefits, including Support Staff TransitCheks (although not required by ALAA’s contract, Staff Attorneys will receive TransitCheks for this quarter as cash becomes available, the cost of which will be charged against compensation increases contained in the new ALAA contract that takes effect October 1, 2000).
●Workload Limits. Management, ALAA and 1199 jointly recognize that these staffing cuts make it necessary in the current fiscal year to reduce the Society’s current intake of 200,000 cases by approximately 50,000-60,000 (with a corresponding decline in institutional assignments), and to seek a formula for addi¬tional city funding increases to handle cases above that cutoff point.
Given, however, the administration’s blind assault on Legal Aid, on its unions and clients, and on indigent criminal defense generally, there is a risk that the city might respond by the seem¬ingly illogical step of giving still additional funds to more expensive-but Giuliani friendly-runaway defenders and 18-B panel.
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Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Members are also invited to participate in discussion upcoming ALAA meet¬ings on this issue, including the following:
●Monday, July 10
1 p.m. CDD/Brooklyn delegates.
5 p.m. CDD/Manhattan delegates.
●Tuesday, July 11
1 p.m. CDD/Queens membership.
●Tuesday, July 18
6:30 p.m. Delegate Council, ALAA HQ.