ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

March 25, 2002

2002.03.25: LAS Budget Testimony

Filed under: Collective Bargaining,Indigent Defense — nyclaw01 @ 4:03 pm
Tags:

From: MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST [mailto:MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST]
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 1:49 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: LAS BUDGET TESTIMONY
Importance: High

Attached is the Society’s City Council budget testimony presented last week.

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March 23, 2002

2002.03.23: NYC Labor Solidarity With Immigrant Detainees

[Original Format: Leaflet]

NYC Labor Solidarity
With Immigrant Detainees

Join trade unionists, immigrant, civil rights, peace, and social justice organizations to oppose the mass detention of foreign nationals since Sept. 11. Most of the detainees are from the Mid-East and South Asia. The government has refused to release most of the detainees’ names. Because of this secrecy, some detainees may not have access to legal counsel. Some have suffered inhumane conditions of confinement. Virtually none have been charged with terrorist acts. Some of these detainees are being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal prison in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

Assemble: 10:30 a.m., 9 St./5 Ave., Bklyn. (N/R to 4 Ave. or F to 9 St.)

March: 11 a.m.–Sharp

Rally: 12 Noon–Sharp, Metro Detention Ctr., 29 St./3d Ave., Bklyn. (N/R to 25 St./4 Ave.)

Sponsors

•Freedom Legal Defense & Ed. Project

•Arab-American Family Support Ctr.

•Justice For Detainees Coal.

Labor Sponsors (list in formation)

•AFSCME DC 1707

•AFSCME L.2627, DC 37

•Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW L.2325

•CWA L.1180

•Legal Aid Society Chap., 1199/SEIU

•Natl. Org. of Legal Services Workers/UAW L.2320

•Natl. Writers Union/UAW L.1981

•NY Taxi Workers Alliance

•NYC Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)

•Organization of Staff Analysts

•Professional Staff Congress-CUNY/AFT L.2334

•SEIU NY State Council

•UAW Region 9A NYC Area CAP Council

•UNITE Amalg. Services & Allied Joint Bd.

•United Elec., Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)

•Larry Adams, Pres., MHU L.300*

•Christine Karatnytsky, Exec. Bd., NY Public Library Guild/AFSCME L.1930*

•Robert Lesko, V.P., AFT L.3882*

•John O’Connor, Secy.-Treas., AFM L.1000*

•J.P. Patafio, Depot Chair, TWU L.100*

•Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, Chair, Delegate Assembly, NYS Nurses Assn.*

•Joel Schwartz, Pres., CSEA/AFSCME L.446*

•Gangbox: Construction Workers News Serv.•Global Sweatshop Coal.•Greater NY Labor-Religion Coal.•Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Dir., Queens College Worker Ed. Extension Ctr. (FIPO); PSC-CUNY/AFT L.2334 & NWU/UAW L.1981*•Industrial Workers of the World (NYC)•Labor at the Crossroads TV•Natl. Employment Law Project•Natl. Lawyers Guild/NYC Chap., Labor & Employment Cttee.•New Caucus of PSC/CUNY•NY Jobs with Justice

Cosponsors (list in formation)

•American Assn. of Jurists•American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Cttee.•American Friends Serv. Cttee.•Another World is Possible (AWIP)•Asian American Legal Defense & Ed. Fund•Asian Americans for Equality•Black Radical Congress•Bklyn Bridges•Bklyn Heights Peace Action•Bklyn Parents for Peace•Bklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Ethical Action Cttee.•Chhaya CDC•Dennis Brutus, S. African poet & activist•Ctr. for Anti-Violence Ed.•Ctr. for Constitutional Rights (CCR)•Central Bklyn Indep. Democrats•Coal. for the Human Rts. of Immigrants•Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)•CUNY Is Our Future•Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM)•Faith Health NY•Fifth Ave. Cttee.•Flatbush Peace Action•Green Party: Kings Co. & Park Slope chapters•Help & Hope•Jews for Racial & Econ. Justice (JFREJ)•Intl. Action Ctr. (IAC)•Intl. A.N.S.W.E.R.•Intl. Socialist Org. (ISO)•Make the Road by Walking•Met. Council on Housing•Natl. Korean American Serv. & Ed. Consortium (NAKASEC)•Natl. Lawyers Guild•Natl. Lawyers Guild—NYC Chap.•NJ Indep. Alliance•NY Coal. for Peace & Justice•NY Immigration Coal.•NYC AIDS Housing Network•Northwest Bronx Support Cttee. For the Homeless•Lesbian Herstory Archives•Nicaragua Solidarity Network•Pakistan League of America•Prison Moratorium Proj.•Prospect Lefferts Voices for Peace & Justice•Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Ed. Fund•Student Cttee. Against Labor Exploitation•Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory•VEER Grassroots Serv.•Clarence Fitch Chap. of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)•War Is Not the Answer•War Resisters League•Women for Afghan Women•Women’s Intl. League For Peace & Freedom, NY Metro Branch•Workers Democracy Network•Working Families Party, Bklyn Waterfront Club•World Peace 911•Rev. Paul Smith, First Presbyterian Church•Rev. Elizabeth Alexander, Church of Gethsemane•Rev. Elizabeth Braddon, Park Slope United Methodist Church•Rev. Peter Laarman, Sr. Minister, Judson Memorial Church, Greenwich Village•City Councilmember Margarita Lopez•Jane Sweeney, Governing Bd., Citizen Action NYC; Exec. Cttee., Village Indep. Democrats.*

*Position shown for ID only; no organizational endorsement implied.

Info: 212.343.0708, alaa@alaa.org•Union labor donated–March 18, 2002(4)

March 21, 2002

2002.03.21: Testimony of The Legal Aid Society on The Mayor’s Fiscal 2003 Preliminary Budget

Filed under: 1994 Strike,Collective Bargaining,Indigent Defense — nyclaw01 @ 3:00 pm
Tags:

[Download .pdf version:testimony-nyc-budget-fy03]

Testimony of The Legal Aid Society

on

The Mayor’s Fiscal 2003 Preliminary Budget

Presented before:

The New York City Council Standing Committees

on

Fire & Criminal Justice Services

and

Finance

Presented by:

Daniel L. Greenberg,

President & Attorney-in-Chief

The Legal Aid Society

March 21, 2002

 

Table of Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1

Criminal Defense Services……………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Civil Legal Services………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7

INTRODUCTION

The Legal Aid Society welcomes this opportunity to testify at this hearing jointly conducted by the New York City Council Standing Committees on Fire & Criminal Justice Services and Finance about the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget FY 2003.

Free legal services have been provided by The Legal Aid Society to New York City residents who are unable to afford private counsel since 1876. Our reputation for providing high quality, cost-efficient legal services is well-recognized by the legal community, governmental agencies, and the communities we serve. Annually, through offices in all five boroughs of New York City, our staff handles some 300,000 cases for poor families and individuals.

City funding supports the legal services we provide in these areas: civil legal services and indigent criminal defense. A discussion follows about each program, our City funding needs, and the projected impact of the Preliminary Budget on our organization, our clients, and the communities we serve.

 

CRIMINAL DEFENSE SERVICES

INTRODUCTION

The Legal Aid Society comes to report on our ongoing discussions with the Executive branch about ways to both reduce the City’s overall costs for criminal defense representation for the poor, while also improving the overall quality of services. We recognize that the longstanding and serious problems in the City’s indigent defense system is but one of many difficult issues confronting the City, and that solutions to all of the City’s pressing problems have been made more difficult by the present budget crisis. However, we believe that Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration and this City Council are genuinely committed to improving the quality of defense services provided to the poor, and that services can be improved in ways that will actually save the City money.

We are seeking a restoration of $5.6 million that was allocated last year by the City Council. In light of the $25 million funding cut we received under the prior administration, we are not able to sustain further reductions without harming the delivery of service. Additionally, we are recommending that the City shift $20 million from its 18-b budget to The Legal Aid Society, because this would achieve significant savings for the City in the cost of criminal defense services.

Since FY95, our criminal defense budget allocation has been reduced by $25 million. These cuts have resulted in severe reductions in our staff: in 1995, CDD had 620 attorneys; today, it has only 340. These staffing cuts have forced us to reduce our criminal defense workload, and our reduced intake, in turn, has hurt the City’s criminal justice system. Because The Legal Aid Society no longer has sufficient criminal defense attorneys to represent all the clients whose cases we are expected to handle, the courts have had no choice but to assign these cases to private attorneys from the Assigned Counsel Panels (“18-b attorneys”). As a result, 18-b attorneys are handling three times more cases than they were in 1995.

As reported in a three-part investigative series in The New York Times last year, the increased use of 18-b attorneys has harmed the City’s criminal justice system, by reducing the quality of legal services provided to the poor. 18-b representation is also more expensive than the criminal defense services provided by The Legal Aid Society, and this cost differential does not even take into account an expected increase in the rates paid to 18-b attorneys. The funding cuts of the prior administration have created an indigent defense system that is, in the words of the Times, “badly broken.” (Editorial, Apr. 12, 2001)

There is an obvious solution to this problem, as The New York Times noted in a recent editorial. Moving money from the 18-b budget to Legal Aid would lessen the City’s total costs for indigent defense representation, improve the quality of services delivered to clients, and improve the operation of the City’s criminal justice system. N.Y. Times, “Painless Cost Cutting,” (Editorial, Jan. 30, 2002.)

 

 

WORKLOAD & FUNDING NEEDS

As a result of the loss of nearly 300 staff attorney positions, the Society’s Criminal Defense Division no longer employs sufficient attorneys to fully staff all arraignment intake parts in New York City. CDD initially tried to compensate by assigning attorneys to work extra intake shifts, but, not surprisingly, we ended up with more cases than the attorneys could responsibly handle without jeopardizing the quality of representation. Accordingly, in FY01, CDD reduced the number of arraignment shifts it worked. As a result, CDD’s workload has dropped significantly this year, over last. During the first half of the year, CDD handled nearly 27,000 fewer cases than it handled during the same period in FY02. If we continue to intake cases at the current rate, CDD will end the fiscal year with nearly 51,000 fewer assignments than we handled in FY01. These are cases that are now going to 18-b attorneys, rather than to Legal Aid.

CASE ASSIGNMENTS

Year

Felonies

Misdemeanors

TOTAL

FY02

33,412

172,193

205,605

FY03 [1]

23,168

131,285

154,453

REDUCTION

10,244

40,908

51,152

If the Society does not receive a restoration of the $5.6 million in City Council funding, we will have to make further reductions in our attorney staff. In such a scenario, we project that we would be able to accept no more than 120,000 assignments in FY03 — a reduction of another 25,000 cases over our intake projected for the current fiscal year. Such a reduction in the Society’s budget and the resulting reduction in case-handling capacity would turn the 18-b panels into the City’s primary provider of indigent defense representation, and would necessitate an increase in the City’s 18-b budget of at least $11.2 million.

On the other hand, if the Society received the $5.6 million restoration, as well as an additional $20 million shifted from the 18-b budget, we project that we could increase the number of trial level assignments we handle in FY03 by 66,000 cases, by hiring 150 additional attorneys and making related increases to our supervisory, investigator, social worker and paralegal staffing.

 

PERFORMANCE

Legal Aid representation has traditionally been significantly less expensive than 18-b representation, which costs, on average, $469 in attorneys’ fees per case. Moreover, the fees paid to 18-b attorneys are likely to increase dramatically in FY03, when it is expected that the state Legislature will act on calls by Governor Pataki and Chief Judge Kaye to increase hourly compensation rates for 18-b attorneys.[2]

Even under the current rate structure, New York City and poor clients clearly derive tangible and significant benefits from Legal Aid representation, that are not matched by the representation provided by individual practitioners on the 18-b panels. The cost-effectiveness of Legal Aid representation is even more impressive when viewed in light of the many services beyond case handling that the Division provides to its clients, to the City, and to the larger criminal defense community.

Superior Quality: The quality of representation provided by Legal Aid attorneys is clearly superior, both because of the extensive ongoing training provided to all Criminal Defense Division attorneys, and because attorney supervisors oversee the quality of CDD attorneys’ practice, ensuring that attorneys are accountable to both their clients and the courts. As The New York Times noted in a recent editorial, “expanded reliance on The Legal Aid Society as the city’s main institutional provider . . . would significantly reduce the city’s cost per case.” N.Y. Times, “Painless Cost Cutting.”

No Hidden Costs: In contrast to 18-b representation, for which attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, investigator and social work services and transcripts are all billed and paid as separate City budget items,[3] the Society’s per-case cost includes both the attorney’s services and all ancillary costs, including social work services, case investigation, and all expert witness and transcript costs.

Social Services & Alternatives to Incarceration: The Legal Aid Society pioneered the provision of multi-disciplinary services in order to rehabilitate offenders and divert clients from jail. It has long had one of the most successful social work intervention programs in the criminal justice system. Although the size of our social work department has necessarily been reduced in recent years because of funding cuts, the Criminal Defense Division still employs approximately one social worker for every 10 attorneys. Through its social work practice, CDD is able to place many clients in rehabilitation programs, school or employment, helping them avoid not only jail but further criminal conduct. Every client successfully diverted from incarceration saves the City real money in reduced costs of incarceration, and produces unmeasured, but real additional savings to the client, his or her family and our community, in terms of a reclaimed life.

Enhanced Services for Special Client Populations: The Criminal Defense Division has specialized multi-disciplinary units to provide enhanced services to particularly vulnerable client populations. For example, a Juvenile Offender team represents children who are prosecuted as adults, diverting young first offenders from prison by securing community-based treatment and the youths’ return to school. Similarly, specialized Mental Health teams provide enhanced legal and social work services to mentally ill clients, to ensure that they can secure community-based treatment upon discharge from jail.

Jail Outreach: CDD assigns 16 paralegals to assist inmates in the City’s jails. They help prisoners with issues ranging from the posting of bail, to resolving problems with medical care, securing advice on immigration issues, and obtaining jail time credit for all time spent in custody.[4]

Pre-Arrest Representation: Through “walk-in” client intake programs in Legal Aid offices, attorneys are available to New Yorkers who may wish to surrender to the police, who have been asked to come to a police station for questioning, who may have received a subpoena, or who may be placed in a line-up.

 

Assistance to Families of Arrested Persons: The Legal Aid Society helps City residents locate family members who have just been arrested and are awaiting arraignment, and also advises them about arraignment procedures. We also assist individual arrestees, without regard to whether they are our clients, when their arraignments are delayed because of hospitalization, fingerprinting problems, or other factors.

Innovative Approaches to Social Problems: The Legal Aid Society has assisted the City and the courts in designing numerous specialized court parts that offer innovative solutions to entrenched social problems. We provide full-time attorney staffing to these courts, which include the Drug Treatment Courts, the Red Hook Community Court in Brooklyn, the Midtown Community Court and Juvenile Offender Court in Manhattan, the Mental Health Courts, and the Integrated Domestic Violence Court in Bronx County.

Civil Representation in Related Matters: Although not required to do so under the terms of our contract with the City of New York, the Society represents clients in civil proceedings, such as school suspension hearings and car forfeiture proceedings, that are related to their criminal cases. The Criminal Defense Division has also provided training programs to lawyers in private practice who are willing to represent poor people in forfeiture proceedings on a pro bono basis, and supervises these volunteers as they handle these civil cases.

Community Education: CDD regularly provides speakers for community education programs about legal issues and the criminal justice system. It has also published educational pamphlets for the public on issues related to the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice Reform: CDD’s Special Litigation Unit has historically focused on improving conditions for people arrested in New York City. For instance, the Unit won cases requiring courthouses to provide private interview rooms for attorney-client interviews, and more recently, has been very active in monitoring and enforcing court decisions requiring the City to provide arraignments to newly-arrested persons within 24 hours of arrest, and to provide medication and other basic necessities to persons in pre-arraignment detention. The Unit frequently consults with the City Council and other government agencies about conditions and problems in the City’s criminal justice system. Earlier this month, it presented testimony at a joint hearing of the Council’s Committees on Mental Health and Fire and Criminal Justice Services, regarding the Department of Correction’s compliance with a court order mandating discharge planning prior to the release of mentally ill inmates from City jails.

CONCLUSION

In a time of serious fiscal constraints, increased use of Legal Aid over inferior, and more costly, 18-b representation is the only approach to indigent defense that makes sense. Moving money from the 18-b budget to Legal Aid would lessen the City’s total costs for indigent defense representation, improve the quality of services delivered to clients, and improve the operation of the City’s criminal justice system. In the words of The New York Times, it would be “painless cost-cutting.”

 

CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUNDING

 

In addition to criminal justice services, the Legal Aid Society provides civil legal services through a number of programs, including joint initiatives funded by the City. We want to update you on the status of these services in the context of the increased need for civil legal services in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster and the current City fiscal crisis.

The Legal Aid Society’s civil legal services offices in all five boroughs of New York City handle more than 25,000 closed client cases annually. Many of our cases are referred to us by the constituent services staff of elected officials and City agencies. The civil legal problems that we address for clients include: domestic violence, hous­ing, disability, health care, govern­ment ben­efits, HIV/AIDS, homele­ssness preven­tion, predatory lending, immigration, elder law, family law, custody, support, guardianship, bankruptcy, mortgage foreclo­sure, consumer credit, utilities, employment, educa­tion, wills, and other general civil problems.

Unfortunately, an independent analysis of the Legal Aid Society’s services last year found that because of lack of resources we were forced to turn away at least six potential clients for every client who we could assist. Since the tragic events of September 11th, the gap between the need for legal services and available services has become even more extreme because of the loss of 132,000 jobs in the City. In an effort to meet this increased need for legal help from New Yorkers who have suddenly lost employment, the Society has been providing legal assistance at the Lower Manhattan disaster centers, settlement house and labor union outreach sites, other community-based organizations, and our neighborhood offices in all five boroughs and our city-wide units. We have also established a special toll-free hotline that has been overwhelmed with calls for legal aid.

As part of the initial proposals to eliminate the City budget gap, the Preliminary Financial Plan for FY03 proposes to eliminate $6.05 million in City civil legal services program funding for the Legal Aid Society, Legal Services for New York City, and other providers.[5]

Because the civil legal services programs that are proposed to be eliminated have a record of saving the City additional expenditures in other areas, we have been discussing restoration in the Executive Budget with representatives of the Administration. We are hopeful that the Administration may restore funding for these cost-effective programs in the Executive Budget so that additional savings can be realized to close the City budget deficit. In order to keep the Council informed of the continuing need for funding for these programs which were restored by the Council in the FY02 City budget agreement, we are providing this Committee with this description of the following program funding that is slated for elimination:

$2.75 Million for City-wide Civil Legal Services (administered by the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator): For nearly a decade, the City Council has allocated annual funding to the Legal Aid Society and Legal Services for New York City to provide civil legal services in all five boroughs for the most vulnerable New Yorkers: senior citizens, survivors of domestic violence, disabled and chronically-ill children and adults, unemployed workers, immigrants fleeing oppression, persons living with HIV/AIDS, and homeless or imminently homeless children and adults. Substantial numbers of these New Yorkers are referred to Legal Aid and Legal Services offices by the constituent services staff of members of the City Council and City agency staff. This funding has helped legal services staff respond to the increased need for legal assistance in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster, including staffing legal assistance tables at the FEMA Disaster Center in Lower Manhattan..

The Financial Plan proposes to eliminate this program which is funded through the Office of the Mayor’s Coordinator for Criminal Justice Services. If the funding for this program is not restored, we will have to substantially reduce our provision of civil legal services in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island notwithstanding the increasing numbers of New Yorkers who desperately need legal assistance in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.

$2.8 million for HPD Legal Services: Since the 1980s, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has funded legal services programs in all five boroughs (including the Legal Aid Society, Legal Services for New York City, the Westside SRO Project, and the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation) to provide legal assistance to low- and moderate-income families faced with illegal evictions from their homes as well as services for SRO tenants. These programs have helped thousands of low-income working families, disabled New Yorkers, and senior citizens, who are especially vulnerable to harassment and illegal eviction.

The Financial Plan proposes to eliminate this HPD program that the City Council has annually funded. If the funding for this program is not restored, ­the Legal Aid Society will be unable to continue to operate our HPD programs which provide legal assistance to tenants faced with homelessness in the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, to senior citizens in Brooklyn, and to tenant associations in East Harlem, Harlem, Inwood, and Washington Heights.

These legal services programs provide services which benefit literally every community in all five boroughs and have therefore been long-standing priorities of the Council. One of the most compelling reasons why these programs have been priorities is because lack of legal assistance results in in­creased costs to government. For example, a State study has found that for every dollar spent on homelessness preven­tion legal assistance programs like the programs that are eliminated in the Preliminary Financial Plan, government saves four dollars in averted shelter costs. Since these civil legal services programs actually save City expenditures because they have a proven track record of preventing wrongful evictions and correcting substandard housing conditions that result in homelessness, maintaining funding for them is all the more important in the midst of the current fiscal crisis. The City is already bearing the cost of record levels of homelessness. In the absence of continued funding for these programs, the City will have to spend even greater resources for emergency shelter. For these reasons, we are urging a restoration of these cost saving civil legal services programs.


[1] This projection is based on an average of the Society’s intake during the first six months of FY02.

[2] 18-b attorneys are currently paid $40 an hour for court appearances, and $25 per hour for out-of-court work. The Office of Court Administration has proposed that the rates be increased to a flat $75 per hour.

[3] The average $469 per-case charge for 18-b representation covers only the attorneys’ fees.

[4] These paralegals assist 18-b clients and clients of the alternate defense service providers, as well as prisoners represented by the Criminal Defense Division. Indeed, more than half of the prisoners who have sought their assistance were represented by 18-b attorneys.

[5]The programs that will be eliminated to close the budget gap include a $500,000 grant for Legal Services for New York City to provide representation to parents in Family Court cases while the Legal Aid Society is separately funded by the State to represent children in those proceedings.

March 19, 2002

2001.03.19: ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin #81 (PDF)

2002.03.19 – ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin — OCR 2002.03.19 – ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin — OCR

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin #81

Tuesday, March 19,2002-6:30 p.m. sharp

•Location: 568 Broadway, Rm. 702A (N/R to Prince, B/D/F/Q to Broadway-Lafayette, 6 to Spring).

•Estimated length: Approximately 1 hour.

•All ALAA members welcome (only elected representatives may vote).

•Free pizza/soda.

•TO PROVIDE PROPER NOTICE TO ALL MEMBERS, PLEASE SUBMIT ADDITIONAL AGENDA

ITEMS IN ADVANCE.

Proposed Agenda

1. Collective Bargaining, etc. (25 minutes).

2.1. Shared services grievance (attached). EB recommendation for support of 1199

grievance.

2.2. Comp time. Policy remains suspended; no further developments.

2. 3. 90 Church update.

2.4. Supplementallife.

2.5. LAS/Brooklyn DAs.

2. LAS Budget (10 minutes).

2.1 Campaign status.

2.2 Additional office meetings.

3. Political Action (5 minutes).

3 .1. March 23: Immigrant Detainees (attached).

3.2. March 26: Drop the Rock

4. Internal (10 minutes).

4.1. UAW convention delegates. Election of ALAA’s delegates (nominations closed as of

March 12). Nominees (uncontested):

•Delegates (2 positions). George Albro (Secy-Treas.), Charlotte Hitchcock (Rec.

Secy).

•Alten1ates (2 positions). Susan Morris (CDD-Bk).

4.2. Bylaw Revision Commission. Consideration of any new nominations for reps from

CDD-Bx, CDD-Q, Civil, JRD, Volunteer.

4.3. Next delegate elections. Discussion of process.

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin 81 March 19, 2002 DC Meeting Page 2 ~[7

1199 Shared Services Grievance

WE, the undersigned, are very concerned to hear that Shared Services, as it existed at 90 Church Street, may

be disbanded and its staff split up amongst the various divisions they serve. We fail to see how such an arrangement

could be more efficient than the consolidated services we have had for the last several years.

We recognize that, due to the World Trade Center disaster, the Shared Services workload has increased

astronomically due to the need to deliver mail and court documents to our borough offices. The Shared Services staff

has done a remarkable job dealing with this workload with no increase in their staff. Furthermore, we feel they have

fulfilled this task under less than adequate conditions, such as being placed in small rooms with no space to work

comfortably and the lack of equipment necessary to expedite the workload of our attorneys and support staff.

We believe the solution to this problem is not to create more work by splitting up Shared Services and

rendering them less efficient. Therefore, we strongly feel that Shared Services should be afforded adequate space

and equipment in one of the new buildings in which LAS Management plans to consolidate much of the former 90

Church St. staff. Only this way can Shared Services go back to providing the full range of indispensable services they

provided to our society before.

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin 81 March 19, 2002 DC Meeting Page 3 of7

NYC Labor Solidarity

With Immigrant Detainees

Join trade unionists, immigrant, civil rights, peace, and social justice organizations to oppose the mass detention of

foreign nationals since Sept. 11. Most of the detainees are from the Mid· East and South Asia. The government has

refused to release most of the detainees’ names. Because of this secrecy, some detainees may not have access to

legal counsel. Some have suffered inhumane conditions of confinement. Virtually none have been charged with

terrorist acts. Some of these detainees are being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal prison in Sunset

Park, Brooklyn.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

Assemble: 10:30 a.m., 9 St./5 Ave., Bklyn. (N/R to 4 Ave.; F to 9 St.)

March: 11 a.m.-Sharp

Rally: 12 Noon-Sharp, Metro Detention Ctr., 29 St./3d Ave., Bklyn. (N/R to 25 St./4 Ave.)

Sponsors

•Freedom Legal Defense & Ed. Project

•Arab-American Family Support Ctr.

•Justice For Detainees Coal.

Labor Sponsors (list in formation)

•AFSCME DC 1707

•AFSCME L.2627, DC 37

•Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW L.2325

•CWA L.1180

•Natl. Org. of Legal Services Workers/UAW L.2320

•Natl. Writers Union/UAW L.1981

•NY Taxi Workers Alliance

•NYC Labor Against the War (NY CLAW)

•Professional Staff Congress-CUNY/AFT L.2334

•SEIU NY State Council

•UAW Region 9A NYC Area CAP Council

•Amalg. Services & Allied Joint Bd., UNITE

•United Elec., Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)

•Larry Adams, Pres., MHU L.300*

•Christine Karatnytsky, Exec. Bd., NY Public Library

Guild/AFSCME L.1930*

•Robert Lesko, V.P., AFT L.3882*

•John O’Connor, Secy.-Treas., AFM L.1 000*

•J.P. Patafio, Depot Chair, TWU L.1 00*

•Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, Chair, Delegate Assembly, NYS

Nurses Assoc.*

•Joel Schwartz, Pres., CSEA/AFSCME L.446*

•Gangbox: Construction Workers News Serv. •Global Sweatshop CoaL •Greater NY

Labor-Religion Coai.•Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Dir., Queens College Worker Ed.

Extension Ctr. (FIPO); PSG-CUNY/AFT L.2334 & NWU/UAW L.1981*•1ndustrial

Workers of the World (NYC)•Labor at the Crossroads TV•Natl. Employment Law

Project•Natl. Lawyers Guild/NYC Chap., Labor & EmploymentCttee. •New Caucus

of PSC/CUNY

Cosponsors (list in formation)

•American Assn. of Jurists•American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Cttee.•American

Friends Serv. Cttee. •Another World is Possible (AWIP)•Asian American Legal Defense

& Ed. Fund•Asian Americans for Equality•Biack Radical Congress•Brooklyn

Bridges•Brooklyn Heights Peace Action•Brooklyn Parents for Peace•Brooklyn Society

for Ethical Culture, Ethical Action Cttee. •Chhaya CDC•Dennis Brutus, S. African poet

& activist•Ctr. for Anti-Violence Ed. •Ctr. for Constitutional Rights (CCR)•Central

Brooklyn Independent Democrats•CoaL for the Human Rights of lmmigrants•Council

on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)•CUNY Is Our Future•Desis Rising Up & Moving

(DRUM)•Faith Health NY •Fiatbush PeaceAction•Green Party: Kings Co. & Park Slope

chapters•Help & Hope•Jews for Racial & Econ. Justice (JFREJ)•IntL Action Ctr.

(IAC)•Intl. A.N.S.W.E.R.•IntL Socialist Org (ISO)•Make the Road by

Walking•Metropolitan Council on Housing•NatL Korean American Serv. & Ed.

Consortium (NAKASEC)•NatL Lawyers Guild•NatL Lawyers Guild-NYC Chap.•NJ

lndependentAIIiance•NY CoaL for Peace & Justice•NY Immigration CoaL•NYC AIDS

Housing Network•Northwest Bronx Support Cttee. For the Homeless•Lesbian Herstory

Archives•Nicaragua Solidarity Network•Pakistan League of America•Prison Moratorium

Proj. •Prospect Lefferts Voices for Peace & Justice•Student Cttee. Against Labor

Exploitation•Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory•VEER Grassroots

Services-Clarence Fitch Chap. of Vietnam Veterans Againstthe War (VVAW) •War Is

Not the Answer•War Resisters League•Women for Afghan Women•Women’s Inti.

League For Peace & Freedom, NY Metro Branch•Workers Democracy

Network•Working Families Party, Brooklyn Waterfront Club•World Peace 911•Rev.

Paul Smith, First Presbyterian Church•Rev. Elizabeth Alexander, Church of

Gethsemane•Rev. Elizabeth Braddon, Park Slope United MethodistChurch•Rev. Peter

Laarman, Sr. Minister, Judson Memorial Church, Greenwich Village•City

Councilmember Margarita Lopez

“Position shown for ID only; no organizational endorsement implied.

Info: 212.343.0708, alaa@alaa.org

Union labor donated (March 18, 2002(1))

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin 81 March 19, 2002 DC Meeting Page 4 ({[7

Minutes of ALAA Delegate Council: January 24, 2002

Legend: Black=Present; Gray=Absent; Lowercase=Alternate

Counsel

Danny Engelstein

Executive Board

President: LETWIN

Secretary-Treasurer: ALBRO

Recording Secretary: HITCHCOCK

VP-CAB/CAP/Fed: BLUM, P. (Acting), /d: Ä’:,?::·;,~n:::

VP-CDD/Bx:

VP-CDD/BI>:: ZUSS, Al: :LL ”’h:..:::rnn·.t::·

VP-CDD/M: WRIGHT, Al: Mulligan

VP-CDD/Qns: P:(){·’-::i-”fH: .. ”’ A.J ::

VP-Civil: HOLDER:: o::,J: -,.-,:;:::.&J~;:

VP-JRD: HOCHBERG, .A 1:· Ä-‘,::(,;::;,;~

VP-Vol. (CLO):

ACLA: ”’:COn:L:C’:;,(:

Aff. Action: 1:::;/::,IfN-‘:,

Health & Safety: ”’ i:(J}}:i:/Yf/J:R

Health: :::,;.·r’VffT’J}

Junior: ~-HUGHES

Lesbian & Gay: · ·:Et:\J:ff::

Senior: *TORRES

*Nonvoting in this capacity

Criminal Appeals Bureau (CAB)

iC{>t:i ?. :·:.:,, ;u r.txn:: i’f’:::l . F/?-. ;g i:..:,,-r”d::: ., ,c;:.n: ..- :,,-·vru::… HARPA Z,

HOPKIRK, A~.:L: A2: Blum, P. * .

Capital Defender Division

Criminal Defense Division (CDD)-Bronx

BxA: ROGERS, i’i:J.:: /:,.·::;; ;::… A.::~::

BxD:

Criminal Defense Division (CDD)-Brooklyn

BKl: BAKER, BELL, Al: Newton, /:J: })i;::::\i:::,::::

BK2: __ ,·;,,}”:i(;;.J?.t::~;,-:;,_r,,;r_r, ASHWORTH, /:J: };:;;::·nt.~:::::::., .. A.-:5.::: l”i;H;::.,

BK3:

Criminal Defense Division (CDD)-Manhattan

Ml: DALEY, NEVINS, AJ: /!:.r::d::_::rs<;r:,

M2: GROSS, MITCHELL

M3 : :C.-:.i – ,;··: ._ .:.;.:.:.i.J..:.<... ,. VASQUEZ Al : C 0 11I· DS

M4: rV:i.A:.!::::_:():;·:.:: .. MULLIGAN. /:, t:

M5: SEELEY, SOTO

M6: AFFLER, ZABLOCKI

Spec Lit: WASSERMAN

Criminal Defense Division (CDD)-Queens

Ql: ‘Vii{)i::t A::: t.hn·::t:::o;::.n<

Q3: ‘Fl{fliiEJRJf:( lf(‘\iJ(;;.rrrL.’1:’,.<“:, ::.: IL:::i::~.•::· .. /t2:

Civil Division

Aging: ·,;,;_.:::.{:·A:.l”:rr ..A .. ::·: ::>::cn:·t::::,;:-:,:;

Appeals/HRP: KELLEHER, /i:J: {;i:::Idi!;:~::K:r .. A: .. 2:: _f:.;::·::i!: … A:t:

Bronx: i::’l'{fL .. L’!F:._R .. , .A l:: {;:-<;·<:-UBrooklynNeighborhood

Office (BNO): (‘:to·:’::;:::;-;•:,; r::Enr; ..

Far Rockaway: :::a-J :() !i·n:.t.L .. /::. :1 ·:

Harlem: i\.J :

Immigration: l”t{>··:,,T;:•. [‘;::!,\’\·”fiR … -“: .. :i ·: f’::i.::>.”-”·<Yn::

Lower Manhattan Neiborhood Office (LMNO): lf::-i.J:UIVf”‘-i

Queens: ·r·t.::::::f:}J:.S., i’->J •

Staten Island: E:\.L.’\/A:.’l’OltE … Ali: /::.2: TVt:i … :::::n:

Federal Defender Division

Appeals & SDNY: ::::~’fA.J’FP’:l{;;En:

EDNY: r·,:::,_:Gi:>It:-‘<: .. ;:-;<:·1<:-!:,,r·(:ft

Juvenile Rights Division (JRD)

Appeals/Spec Lit: Ad:: }1-:_,.,,:K::::::::’h:d

Bronx: ::;,;:_:;:):f·:,.’if_·~>f’::i. /;,_::: r:’·’V:/::.t.:::<::r::

BROOKLYN: (;;.:;:n::Ti:i’::!fit.’\

Staten Island: I. t.f

Parole Revocation (PRDU)

A3: Morris

BK4: ,C’/:,Sfri\1.:\:i\., /:,1: t:..Br:< .. ;:.,A.): Prisoners Rights Project

ZELERMYER

Volunteer Division/(Community Law Office)

ii!J·’·:::.;.TLf:’:>: .. LUNDGREN, Al: Carlesimo, ;,/:.·:t: L:Ji:::i·:xr::i::::

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin 81 March 19, 2002 DC Meeting Page 5 of7

1. LAS FUNDING/BUDGET AND CDD COMP

DAYS

Adopted:

1. Legal Action. Table further legal action on

CDD comp day change until Management makes

concrete response to ALAA grievance and related

negotiations, at which point a special DC will be

promptly convened (Bomba)–Passed (hand vote): 16-

15. [NB: The Executive Board will meet next week

with legal counsel concerning implementation of the

above.]

2. Membership Action. Accompany ALAA

grievance on CDD comp time by encouraging members

to file individual grievances that detail personal impact,

to file reguests to use comp days, and to otherwise put

pressure on Management (Letwin!Baker )–Passed (voice

vote): Unanimous.

3. Next DC. Hold the next DC meeting on the

irrevocable date ofF ebruary 21, except that an earlier

DC meeting is held (Gross/Baker)–Passed (voice vote).

4. Negotiation. Include as many CDD VPs as

possible, but at least one, in any negotiations with

Management on change in CDD comp time (Gross)-Passed

(voice vote): Unanimous.

Not adopted:

1. De Leon Presentation. Dispense with Theresa

DeLeon’s scheduled report to the Delegate Council, and

proceed immediately to discussion of ALAA’ s response

to change in CDD comp day policy (Wright)–Failed:

14-18-2 (hand vote, with results confirmed by roll-call

vote (Aftler))[For: Wright, Rogers, Baker, Bell, Daley,

Nevins, Gross, Mitchell, Vasquez, Collins, Mulligan,

Seeley, Aftler, Zablocki. Against: Albro, Hitchcock,

Blum, Zuss, Holder, Hochberg, Harpaz, Hopkirk,

Martin, Zelermyer, Gurwitch, Ashworth, Morris, Pratt,

Soto, Kelleher, Lundgren, Carlisimo ). Abstain: Bomba,

Wasserman, S.]

2. Arbitration. Conduct arbitration of change in

CDD comp time, if necessary by attorney other than

ALAA counsel (Aftler/Velasquez)–Tabled (see above).

2. 90 CHURCH STREET

Adopted:

1. Reports. ALAA HQ to disseminate bi-weekly

written ALAA health and safety updates

(Kelleher/Gross)–Passed (voice vote).

2. Outreach. ALAA HQ to consult with other

unions and with NY COSH concerning appropriate steps

concerning air guality in Lower Manhattan (Kelleher)-Passed

(voice vote): Unanimous.

3. Testing. Pursue ongoing tests of material

transferred from 90 Church St. to other LAS offices

(Newton!Holder)–Passed (voice vote): Unanimous.

NB: The balance of the agenda was tabled.

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin 81 March 19, 2002 DC Meeting Page 6 ~f7

Minutes of ALAA Delegate Council: February 21,2002

Legend: Black=Present; Gray=Absent; Lowercase=Alternate

Counsel

Danny Engelstein

Executive Board

President: LETWIN

Secretary-Treasurer: ALBRO

Recording Secretary: HITCHCOCK

VP-CAB/CAP/Fed: BLUM, P. (Acting), /’:.!: ·v:.:::::r::H

VP-CDD/Bx: GELTMAN ,’\ :i · ·v:,:::::::::::·:::

VP-CDD/Bk: ZUSS, Al: *Torres,./: .. :-:. :·:·:·;(_c·rt:d.:.~.,~:c

VP-CDD/M: \>V’P.l:!}f·fi” /:.·::

VP-CDD/Qns: P:C.>Pf’T:’:H ,._,.i\.1.

VP-Civil: · A :: : ··./::::::.:::n:·

VP-JRD: HOCHBERG, hi \/.:::,;·:::rd

VP-Vol. (CLO): \/h Ci”:. i”Tf’ ,-:._!: r::-::::;,::; .. ):I·Y” .. \:.!’ ·

ACLA: *DULA

Aff. Action: !’:,1 i\? k ,:\

Health & Safety: ‘i’KO·Pt:·ct·zr::I’

Health: ·’ :::: :0./lff}{

Junior: ‘”ITU::::;I:!’.F:S

Lesbian & Gay: ·”1-::J, Hr:

Senior: *TORRES

*Nonvoting in this capacity

Criminal Appeals Bureau (CAB)

C:()L.!:J-<. J)ELJiJ.~fÄ-I F/\f::JAJ·.:·U U.Z:’\ HARPAZ,

IIf.::::::<I:::::J< LITTLE. ·\!·Taglieri, A2: *Blum, P., .·\_.: ·

Capital Defender Division

M6: AFFLER, ZABLOCKI, Al: Botticelli, .c\2: FL.:;:;,,

Spec Lit: W ;:,, :::;:;:: :-:·:.J(:\t:-\1’·::

Q4: :::,I::·i:::rrf’..:. DIFLUMERI, ·\!: /\:?::

Civil Division

Aging: \’ ,\ i’: \iT’ /:_ :! : .D·nr!~_:;:,n:<

Appeals!HRP: ,:\, l: U::-:hH:H_’r /:.::’.: i:\::d.:. :-::, .,

Bronx: :;.:·n n:·’:i)f:’:T:: .·\ .:. · c::;-::ct:c

Brooklyn Neighborhood Office (BNO):

Far Rockaway: iU .. :·:J:::<:·:::::k:· /: . .?: 1-J::::dxl:·:.;;

Immigration: FLOYD-MAYER_ /\ i : l:·i:::\·.r:rn:::

Lower Manhattan Neiborhood Office (LMNO): n.:)r:u::·i”-1

Queens: /\.: · .\::’ .. :;:,.::n: .. A?_ ‘i·”r~:::.d.h:;·::::·,

Staten Island: .S,\L’·/..:\·1·::::::;::;,:.: ./::.!: /:.:’:. McCann

Federal Defender Division

Appeals & SDNY: ::::.·r;\·1-SJNf:iT:::r

EDNY: P:\ -‘·\;.\>:’:::r::::U

””‘ .\.L n.o.m::H: Juvenile Rights Division (JRD)

BxD: r:C)LLFfT.

BK3:

Morris

BK4:

BK5: \’/.!\.SSL

Appeals/Spec Lit: :\ l.: H:<:·::.::-:n.:!.ui

H.nd::u. _ /:,_.”: I·i:::·L:.r::·. /\.:: Bronx: J:;()\•i,’\

BROOKLYN: !<.t:.?.:-:. ·:, \ :< … .i\ ; : i”–i-::;i.:;,_:;:

Queens:

Staten Island: f 1:-:r.

Parole Revocation (PRDU)

i\ :::: Flanders A3 : I. ()F’F ?

.:Ä·:~.

Prisoners Rights Project

ZELERMYER

Volunteer Division/(Community Law Office)

J:: .. F”:-:Tr !>-!.. LUNDGREN, Al: Carlesimo, ” ./:.:.:: :.-J··,.;’.:Jrd::-:

ALAA Delegate Council Bulletin 81 March 19, 2002 DC Meeting Page 7 of7

1. CDD COMP TIME GRIEVANCE

Adopted:

1. Expedited Negotiation/ Arbitration. Ratify the

expedited negotiation/arbitration comp day proposal

previously presented by the Executive Board to

management (see February 12 ALAA Union Bulletin),

i.e., to: (1) Clearly define the new policy; (2) Schedule

expedited, “last-best-offer” arbitration to be held within

a brief time-frame (e.g., 4-6 weeks) to resolve the

limited issue of the new policy; (3) Pending arbitration,

seek a negotiated resolution of the dispute; ( 4) Pending

a negotiated or arbitrated resolution, suspend the new

policy’s implementation; (5) Incorporate the results of

negotiation or arbitration into the contract effective

October 1, 2002 (Affler/Blum, P.)–Passed: 15-0-4

(hand vote).

2. 90 CHURCH STREET

Adopted:

1. Table. Move Hitchcock’s 90 Church St. report

to the end of agenda (Zablocki/Torres)–Passed (hand

vote); table to next written Hitchcock report–Passed

(voice vote).

3. INTERNAL BUSINESS

Adopted:

1. UAW Convention Delegates. Adopt Albro’s

proposal to select ALAA’ s delegates to the International

UA W tri-annual convention in June [details

forthcoming] (Blum, P ./Hochberg)–Passed:

Unanimously (voice vote).

2. Meeting Schedule. Adopt Executive Board’s

proposed 2002 meeting schedule for the Delegate

Council and Executive Board [previously

distributed](Hochberg/Daley)–Passed: Unanimously

(voice vote).

3. Bylaw Revision Commission. Elect by

acclamation the following unopposed nominees to the

new Bylaw revision commission: Susan Morris

(CDD-Bk), JessicaBotticelli (CDD-Manh.), Peter Blum

(CAB/Capital/FDD )–Passed: Unanimously (voice vote).

4. ACLA Representative. Elect Monica Dula

(CDD-Bx) to fill vacant ACLA (Attorneys of Color of

Legal Aid) position on the Executive Board–Passed:

Unanimously (voice vote).

4. PROPOSED ALAA STATEMENT IN

DEFENSE OF CIVIL LIBERTIES

Adopted:

1. Main Motion. Adopt Executive Board’s

proposed statement in defense of civil liberties

[previously distributed](Blum, P./Hochberg)–Passed:

19-1-1 (hand vote).

Not Adopted:

1. Table. Table proposed civil liberties statement

(Zablocki/Botticelli)–Failed (overwhelming hand vote).

2. Unfriendly Amendment. Do not release ALAA

civil liberties statement in conjunction with any

statement by NYC Labor Against the War

(Daley)–Failed: 4-16-1 (hand vote).

3. Unfriendly Amendment. Disseminate civil

liberties statement via special Union committee, and

direct ALAA HQ instead to address issues of greater

concern to the Union, e.g., CDD comp time

(Zablocki)–Failed: 3-18-1 (hand vote).

March 7, 2002

2002.03.07: ALAA Union Update

[Download .pdf version: update2]

ALAA Union Update

March 7, 2002

568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, New York, NY 10012-3225●212.343.0708

President:  Michael Letwin▼Secretary-Treasurer:  George Albro▼Recording Secretary:  Charlotte Hitchcock

 


Contents

LAS Funding Crisis

Overview…………………………………………… 1

Budget Numbers…………………………………. 1

Likelihood of Success…………………………… 2

Campaign…………………………………………… 3

Contract and Benefits

Bar Exam, Time Off to Study…………………. 4

CDD Comp Day Grievance…………………… 4

Comp Day Related Issues……………………… 4

Computer Ergonomics………………………….. 5

Diversity and Affirmative Action……………… 5

Health and Safety………………………………… 5

Telecommuting……………………………………. 5

Transfer……………………………………………… 5

TransitCheks………………………………………. 6

Union Membership Benefits…………………… 6

Political Action

Civil Liberties……………………………………… 6

Police Abuse: Louima Case…………………… 7

Rockefeller Drug Law Reform……………….. 8

Internal Union Business

ACLA Executive Board Rep…………………. 9

Bylaw Revision……………………………………. 9

Dues, Current……………………………………… 9

Dues Increase……………………………………… 9

Meeting Schedule for 2002………………….. 10

UAW Convention Delegates………………… 10

Job Announcements

CUNY Law School……………………………. 10

Yale Law School……………………………….. 10

Full Text

In Defense of Civil Liberties…………………. 12

ALAA Meeting Schedule-2002……………. 13

Note:  Authors of remarks and/or questions answered here are named only where already identified in a public email or meeting.

LAS Funding Crisis

Overview.  ALAA, 1199 and the Legal Aid Society are mobilizing to oppose severe cuts in criminal and civil Society funding.  Without those funds, the Society’s already-sizable deficit will widen, with potentially severe conse­quences for staff and clients.

This year, however, the Society and its unions stand a better chance of success than perhaps at any time since the Giuliani adminis­tration first retaliated for the 1994 strike.

Budget Numbers.  Between 1994 and 2001, the Giuliani administration systematically transferred a cumulative $160 million in CDD/CAB funds to private 18-B assigned counsel and to runaway defense contractors.[1]


As a result, the Criminal Defense Division and Criminal Appeals Bureau are running a combined $4.6 million deficit in FY02 (ending June 30, 2002) due to: (1) Elimination of state funding for the Parole Revocation Defense Unit ($1.3 million); (2) Unreimbursed city COLA funds for collective bargaining ($2.7 million); and (3) $600,000 in unrealized attrition.[2]

The Bloomberg administration’s intentions toward LAS are unclear. Unless significantly modified, however, its proposed preliminary FY03 budget (beginning July 1, 2002) will effectively double the Society’s current criminal defense deficit to more than $10 million.

Bloomberg’s budget also threatens Civil and Volunteer division representation by seeking to eliminate $5.25 million in citywide civil legal services funding for senior citizens, the disabled and families.

(JRD funding, which is provided by the state, remains intact.)

In July 2000, the ALAA Executive Board (EB) unanimously proposed, and the Delegate Council (DC) overwhelmingly adopted, reaffir­mation of the Union’s oppositi­on to layoffs and/or involuntary Staff Attorney transfers between or within divisions.[3] FAQ On LAS Criminal Budget Shortfall (ALAA, Aug. 1, 2000).

Nonetheless, a worst-case scenario for the next fiscal year cannot rule out severe conse­quences, including-but not necessarily limited to-inter-divisional transfers and/or layoffs.[4] At the very least, it would adversely affect the circumstances for negotiation of ALAA’s next contract, which takes effect October 1, 2002.

Likelihood of Success.

Several recent developments offer hope for restoring LAS city funds this year.  These in­clude:

„A new mayoral administration with appar­ently less animus toward LAS;

„Strong, vocal support for LAS last year from Gifford Miller, who recently became City Council Speaker with strong support from ALAA/UAW and 1199;

„Legal Aid’s demonstrated cost-efficiency advantage over 18-B and Giuliani contractors,[5] which is particularly relevant given the huge city budget deficit; and

„Two recent New York Times editorials urging restoration of LAS funds.[6]

On the other hand, significant obstacles include:

„Entrenched self-interest of Giuliani defense contractors and the 18-B panel, bred by seven years of unrelenting Giuliani largess;[7] and

„An estimated $4 billion city deficit, in response to which elected officials have already been besieged by myriad pleas for assistance.

As in previous years, therefore, it will be necessary to effectively mobilize ALAA and 1199, and their combined strength of more than one thousand  members at LAS.[8]

Campaign.  This year’s campaign will include:

„Society meetings with, and testimony before, city officials;

„Outreach by ALAA/UAW and 1199 lead­ership to elected officials;

„Constituent visits by ALAA, 1199 and other LAS staff to all 51 City Council members.  (In recent meetings held by Michael Letwin with CDD and CAB members in each boro, nearly 100 ALAA members have volunteered to lobby; similar meetings will also be held in other offices.)

Training for volunteer lobbyists has been scheduled as follows:

-Monday, March 18, 12:30-2:00 p.m.:  Manhattan, 49 Thomas,1st Floor.

-Tuesday, March 19, 12:30-2:00 p.m.:  Queens, 120-46 Queens Blvd., 4th Floor.

-Wednesday, March 20, 12:30-2:00 p.m.:  Brooklyn, 111 Livingston, 7th Floor.

-Friday, March 22, 12:30-2:00 p.m.:  Bronx, 1020 Grand Conc., Library.

„Mass letter-writing.

„Press outreach and public relations.

This campaign is coordinated by a commit­tee that includes ALAA representatives George Albro, William Gibney, Charlotte Hitchcock, and Adriene Holder; 1199 representatives Irma Camacho, Lucy Herschel, Betty Hughley, Margaret McClean, and Dorothy Williams; and LAS representatives Steve Banks, Path Bath and Bernette Carway-Spruiell.

Contract and Benefits

Bar Exam, Time Off to Study.

„Q (PRP). “I plan to take the February NY bar and do not know whether I will need to take vacation days or some other kind of leave for the 2 days of the exam.  Additionally, I would like to take some time off to study and don’t know whether that would be vacation time or something else.”

A.  “Other than using vacation days, there is no contractual right to time off to take or study for the bar exam  (The contract requires the Society to provide ‘days off’ only to second time bar takers who failed the bar on the first try and only in order to permit their participation in a Society-sponsored bar review class; see Art III, Sec. 3(B) of contract).

“On the other hand, since becoming admit­ted to the NY Bar is in the interest of LAS and in furtherance of your job, it may make sense to ask for some non-vacation, paid time off, at least for the 2 days of the exam.”

CDD Comp Day Grievance.  On February 21, Management informed CDD staff that it had agreed with the ALAA Executive Board’s February 5 proposal to suspend “the [new] policy regarding compensatory time payouts” pending expedited negotiation and/or arbitration of the issue.[9] Later that day, the ALAA Dele­gate Council voted 15-0-4 to ratify the EB’s proposal.  Report on Feb. 21 Delegate Council, Feb. 25, 2002.

Comp Day Related Issues.

„Q (JRD-Bk). “I don’t see anything [in the Union contract] that gives specifics about the mysterious-to me-thing called CDD comp. time.  Please give me a brief explanation of how it works. . . . How many hours earned for doing what?”

A.  “Article II, Section 3 of the 1994-1998 contract states that:  ‘Staff Attorneys in CDD will earn compensatory time for working certain institutional assignments outside of regular working hours.’  This refers to arraignment shifts worked on evenings, weekends, holidays.  (By contrast, attorneys receive a flat payment for working the Manhattan lobster shift, i.e., over­night).”

Computer Ergonomics.  Management is looking into ALAA’s request for accommoda­tion of displaced members of the Prisoners Rights Project who prefer desktop PCs to laptops.

Diversity and Affirmative Action.  Ac­cording to the New York County Lawyers Asso­ciation’s Report of the Task Force to Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession (Jan. 2002), “[i]n the first year of the 21st century, the hiring and retention of minority attorneys and other legal professionals remains an important and unfinished goal.”

The report is available at: <http://nycla.org/publications/taskforce.html#narrative@.

Health and Safety(Note:  90 Church Street status is addressed in a separate March 6 report from ALAA Recording Secretary Char­lotte Hitchcock).

Daniella Korotzer:  “As your Health & Safety rep. on the union’s Exec. Board I am concerned that many of your health & safety issues are not reaching me.  So – I want to remind you all to contact me (or ask your dele­gate to contact me) about any such concerns.

“This can be 90 Church St./WTC related, but doesn’t have to be.  For example, if there are rodent-issues, falling elevators, security con­cerns, etc., please let me know.  I would also hope that you all would make me aware of any changes to your health that you believe is related to the building/office you are working in.  If there is a problem that affects a large group in one place, you may want to decide on one individual to be in contact with me.

I can be reached by e-mail or at (718) 243-6296.”

Telecommuting.

„Q (Civil-Bx).  “Can we have more infor­mation re: the [CAB] telecommuting grievance?  Our supervisor told us that the Civil Division will not be granting any requests for telecommuting.”

A.  “The [CAB] grievance involved division management’s decision to stop an attorney from continuing to telecommute, as do many CAB attorneys, particularly since 9-11.  Since there were no good reasons given to end his telecommuting, the decision was quickly re­versed upon challenge.

“More generally, the 1998 contract provided that: ‘Staff Attorneys will, in consultation with their supervisors, be permitted to telecommute to the extent consistent with the nature of their work and other staffing/work needs of the office.

Although it has limited feasibility for many jobs, particularly in trial offices, Management will facilitate telecommuting by lending a limited number of laptop computers for limited time periods; seeking group discount buy­ing/leasing opportunities; and maintaining and expanding the remote access properties of the network’. . . .

“The above language clearly limits the right in regard to trial offices-indeed, management conditioned this provision on that limitation.  The language, however, makes clear that man­agement must reasonably consider the fact-specific ‘feasability’ of a Civil attorney’s telecommuting application.”

Transfer.

„Q (CDD-Manh.).  What are my rights to transfer to JRD or to another CDD boro?

A.  “To transfer to JRD, you need to apply to Monica Drinane, the division’s attorney-in-charge.  (Unlike the other divisions, there is no union-management hiring committee in JRD.)  To transfer to [another CDD boro] you would apply to Susan Hendricks.  (There is a joint hiring committee in CDD, but it does not deal with inter-boro transfers).”

TransitCheks.  The Society has reported that “[w]e are in process of ordering TransitCheks for the period April-June 2002.  TransitCheks will be distributed on Friday, April 5.”  Memo of Feb. 25, 2002 from Toni Johnson to Everyone.

Union Membership Benefits.

„Q (PRP). “I am about to apply for a home equity loan.  It seems to me that I may be able to do this through the UAW?  There were also other union benefit things that may be useful?”

A. Benefits of ALAA and/or the UAW membership, as opposed to those provided by Union contract, are shown on the reverse of Union membership cards as follows:

-Avis 800.331.1212 AWD #B189800.

-Buyer’s Edge Group #1324 (see brochure).

-Credit Union (UAW) 212.228.4038.

-Hertz 800.654.2210 CDP#342539.

-MasterCard (ALAA card) 800.421.2110.

-Union Privilege (loans, etc.) 800.452.9425.

Political Action

Civil Liberties.  On February 21, the ALAA Delegate Council voted 19-1 to adopt In Defense of Civil Liberties, at 12, below, which states, inter alia, that “ALAA . . .  supports and endorses all efforts to defend these freedoms against attacks . . . ”

This vote followed extensive membership discussion of the proposed statement, which had been unanimously proposed by the Executive Board on January 14.[10]

In the wake of September 11, similar posi­tions have been taken by numerous other legal, labor, civil rights and professional organiza­tions.[11]

Pursuant this statement, ALAA is one of several unions supporting a Day of NYC Labor Solidarity with Immigrant Detainees, which will take place on Saturday, March 23 at the Metro­politan Detention Center in Brooklyn (details to follow).

Moreover, ALAA member Eve Rosahn, Parole Revocation Defense Unit, reports that “PRDU is . . . considering volunteering to defend individuals before military tribunals.  We figured that we are well trained in 1) working in courts where there are no rules; 2) where the prosecutors and the judges are all paid by the same people; 3) where it’s impossible to inter­view our clients.  We await the call.”

Police Abuse:  Louima Case.  ALAA members and Frank Serpico are among the 19 signers of a letter published in the March 5 NYLJ concerning last week’s Second Circuit decision that overturned the conviction of three NYPD officers in the 1997 torture of Abner Louima.[12]

Rockefeller Drug Law Reform.  For the second year in a row, ALAA, 1199 and LAS are mobilizing Society staff for Drop the Rock, a major effort in Albany on March 26 to repeal and/or reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

As outlined in a March 6 memo from Theresa de León (LAS), George Albro (ALAA) and Betty Hughley (1199), Society staff may take release time to meet with legislators on this issue.[13] Further details are available at: <http://www.1199seiuonline.org/docs/droptherock.pdf@,  <http://www.droptherock.org/DTR_Day.htm@.

 

Internal Union Business

ACLA Executive Board Representative. On February 21, the Delegate Council unani­mously elected Monica Dula (CDD-Bx) to fill the vacant Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid position on the Executive Board.

Bylaw Revision.  The February 21 Dele­gate Council elected by acclamation the follow­ing unopposed nominees to the new ALAA Bylaw revision commission:  Susan Morris (CDD-Bk), Jessica Botticelli (CDD-Manh.), Peter Blum (CAB/Capital/FDD).  Although the commission will now begin its work, nomina­tions remain open for selection of one member from each of the remaining constituencies (CDD Bronx and Queens, Civil, JRD, and Volunteer).     The commission, chaired by George Albro, will formulate proposals to more closely con­form ALAA bylaws with UAW rules (including potential change from current flat dues, to 1.15% progressive dues; see below) and other bylaw issues to be determined.

Dues, Current.

„Q (CDD-Qns).  What were my Union dues last year?

A. “Union dues last year were $44.62 per month.  If you were on payroll the entire year, you paid 535.44.  If you were on payroll part of the year, multiply 44.62 times the number of months you were on payroll, or look at your last payroll stub in 2001, which should list the total for the calendar year. . . .  Union dues is a mis­cellaneous tax deduction if you itemize and your total miscellaneous deductions are more than 2% of your adjusted gross income.”

Dues Increase.

„Q (CDD-Bk).  Why do we have to talk about changing our current dues structure?

A. On September 28, 1995, Union members voted 221-56 to ratify ALAA’s UAW affiliation agreement, paragraph 21(4)(B) of which states:  “The parties agree that it is their intent to move towards the constitutional dues requirement of 1.15 percent of salary per month, per member. . . . Any [such] increase, however, will be negoti­ated between the UAW and ALAA, and ratified by the ALAA membership.”

„Q (CDD-Bk).  How do ALAA members benefit from UAW affiliation?

A. As a result of affiliation, the UAW has, at ALAA’s request:

-Guaranteed strike benefits to ALAA mem­bers in Fall 1994-even prior to our formal affiliation;

-Provided ALAA with a cumulative $400,000 subsidy between 1995-1999, thereby insulating ALAA members from the need for yet higher dues.

-Helped in 1995 to convince elected offi­cials, especially upstate Republicans, to restore more than $10 million in LAS state criminal funding, thereby averting layoffs for hundreds of ALAA members.

-Funded all costs (more than $100,000) of ALAA’s federal litigation challenging the Giuliani administration’s retaliation for the 1994 strike.

-Conditioned its 1998 gubernatorial en­dorsement on restoration of CDD/CAB city funds, the cumulative total of which has come to $21 million over four years.

-Advocated such client-related legislation as repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

-Made LAS civil and criminal funding the #1 UAW Albany lobbying priority.

Meeting Schedule for 2002.  On February 21, the Delegate Council adopted a 2002 sched­ule for Executive Board and Delegate Council meetings, at 13 below).

UAW Convention Delegates.  On June 2-7, the 33d International UAW Constitutional Convention will take place in Las Vegas.  Convention delegates elect the UAW’s Interna­tional officers and regional directors, and vote on proposed constitutional amendments, resolu­tions, etc.  ALAA is entitled to send two dele­gates and two alternates.

As previously noticed, pursuant to the UAW Constitution Article and to unanimous vote of the February 21 ALAA Delegate Council, nominations must be delivered to Michael Letwin (who, due to LAS funding and other Union business, will not be a candi­date for UAW Convention delegate) at ALAA HQ by March 12, 2002.

If none of the positions are contested, the nominees will be deemed elected by acclama­tion.  If any of the positions is contested, the March 19 DC will elect a special election com­mittee to conduct a secret-ballot membership vote in the offices.

 

Job Announcements

CUNY Law School.  Full-time adjunct position in our Battered Women’s rights Clinic beginning June 2002.  This clinic is one of six clinics of Main Street Legal Services, the Law School’s clinical program.

Duties of the teaching position including working with other clinical teachers in the clinical program, direct supervision of third-year students in client representation and projects; development of curriculum, simulations, and advocacy materials; and joint classroom teach­ing.

We are seeking a creative and experienced lawyer/teacher with a desire to work collabor­atively in a diverse environment, a serious commitment to clinical teaching, and a commit­ment to our mission as a public interest law school.  J.D. degree or its equivalent required.  We are also hoping that the person hired could supervise social work students in a new program that combines social work and law on behalf of clients.

Therefore, we are especially interested in hiring someone with an M.S.W. and experience supervising social workers.  While an M.S.W. is not required, experience in family law is and working with survivors of domestic violence is preferred.

Salary is $55,000-70,000 DOE and qualifi­cations.  The position is for a one-year appoint­ment with a possibility of future appointments.  EO/AAE.

Cover and resume by April 10, 2002 to: Susan Bryant, Director of Clinical Programs, City University of New York School of Law at Queens College, 65-21 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11367.

Yale Law School.  Yale Law School seeks applications for the Robert M. Cover Fellowship in Public Interest Law, a two-year position beginning on July 1, 2002 in the Yale Law School clinical program.

The fellowship is designed for lawyers with at least four years of practice who are interested in preparing for a career in law school clinical teaching.  Responsibilities include representing clients, supervising students, teaching classes, and working on one’s own scholarship.

All work will be conducted with the assis­tance of the clinical faculty and will focus on providing legal assistance to low-income clients and organizations.  This year’s candidates must be experienced transactional lawyers, interested in working with our Housing & Community Development Clinic.

Candidates must be able to work both inde­pendently and as part of a team, and must pos­sess strong written and oral communication skills.  CT Bar admission or willingness to take the July 2002 bar examination required.

In addition to a stipend of approximately $40,000, Fellows receive health benefits and access to university facilities.

Send a resume, cover letter, and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references by March 15, 2002 to: J.L. Pottenger, Jr., Director of Clinical Studies, The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, P.O. Box 209090, New Haven, CT 06520-9090; tele­phone: 203.432.4800; fax: 203.432.1426; or email Kathryn Stoddard:  kathryn.stoddard@yale.edu.

AA/EO/ Title IX employer.

 

In Defense of Civil Liberties

Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325

February 21, 2002

As a labor union whose members fight each day for the statutory and constitutional rights of indigent New Yorkers, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, is deeply opposed to the Bush administration’s broad assault on precious civil liberties and democratic rights.      This assault mirrors other shameful periods of racial, ethnic and/or political hysteria in American history, among them the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), Asian exclusion (1880s-1890s), “Sedition” prosecutions (World War I), the Palmer Raids (1919-1920), Japanese-American internment (1940s), McCarthyism (1950s), the FBI’s COINTELPRO war on dissent (1960s), and exclusion of Haitian and Central American political refugees (1980s).

Today, these policies are reflected in the:

  • “USA Patriot Act,” which authorizes the government, without meaningful judicial review, to: designate domestic groups as “terrorist organizations”; indefinitely incarcerate or detain non-citizens based on mere suspicion; deport immigrants for innocent association with others; and violate confidential financial, medical, educational and other records without probable cause. (First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments).
  • Mass detention of more than 1200 foreign nationals-almost all of them from the Mid-East and South Asia-about whom the government has refused to provide information, who have often been denied access to legal counsel or consular officials, who suffer inhumane conditions of confinement-and virtually none of whom have been charged with terrorist acts. (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments.)
  • Detention and deportation hearings before secret immigration courts hearing secret evidence. (Fifth Amendment.)
  • Coercive and discriminatory questioning of 5,000 young male legal immigrants, mostly of Middle Eastern descent, without probable cause. (First and Fifth Amendments.)
  • Deportation campaign against men of Muslim and Middle Eastern origin. (Fifth Amendment.)
  • Authorization by the attorney general-without judicial review-for eavesdropping on confidential attorney-client communication. (Sixth Amendment.)
  • Trial of non-citizens accused of terrorism before secret military tribunals which deprive the accused of an independent forum, their chosen attorneys, the presumption of innocence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, confrontation of evidence, exclusion of hearsay, a unanimous verdict, and habeas corpus review by civilian courts. (Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments; Geneva Convention).
  • Heightened FBI spying on domestic religious and political organizations. (First Amendment.)
  • Open consideration of torturing prisoners suspected of terrorism. (UN Convention Against Torture, Fifth and Eighth Amendments).

History teaches that our civil liberties and democratic rights are most endangered-and most essential-during times of crisis.  ALAA, therefore, supports and endorses all efforts to defend these freedoms against attacks such as those discussed above.

 

ALAA Meeting Schedule-2002

Rev. February 19, 2002

[NB: Checked for conflicting Jewish holidays, per <http://bnaibrith.org/caln.html>%5D

Tuesday, January 9: EB

Monday, January 14: EB

Thursday, January 24: DC

Tuesday, February 5: DC

Tuesday, February 19: EB

Thursday, February 21, DC

Tuesday, March 12:  EB

Tuesday, March 19:  DC

Wednesday, April 10:  EB

Tuesday, May 7:  EB

Tuesday, May 14:  DC

Wednesday, June 12:  EB

Tuesday, July 9:  EB

Tuesday, July 16:  DC

Wednesday, September 11:  EB

Tuesday, September 17:  DC

Tuesday, October 8:  EB

Wednesday, November 13:  EB

Tuesday, November 19:  DC

Tuesday, December 10:  EB


[1]“Runaway shops” typically include “factories and other business enterprises that move away from unionized . . . areas . . . to non-union . . . areas,” Le Blanc, A Short History of the U.S. Working Class (1999) 174, or “[a] unionized plant transferred to another location . . . in order to evade bargaining obligations or to destroy a union.” Murray, The Lexicon of Labor (1998) 159.

Here, the Giuliani administration itself established defense contractors for the classic union-busting purpose of “farming out work or a phase of production, hitherto done by union members,” id., at 45, at the unionized Legal Aid Society.

These runaway defenders are:

  • “Appellate Advocates” in the Second Department (Lynn Fahey);
  • “Bronx Defenders” (Dan Arshack and Robin Steinberg);
  • “Brooklyn Defender Services” (Lisa Schreibersdorf);
  • “Center for Appellate Litigation” in the First Department (Bob Dean);
  • “Queens Law Associates” (Joe Vaccarino and Laurie Zeno);
  • “New York County Defenders Association” (Michael Coleman, Carolyn Wilson and Kevin McConnell); and
  • “Battiste, Aronowsky & Suchow” in Staten Island.

[2]Q & A on CDD Comp Time (ALAA, Jan. 23, 2002).

[3]Based on this position, the DC also voted that the Union will not formulate criteria for involuntary intra-division transfers.

[4]Transfers and layoffs related to job security are governed by ALAA Contract Article III, § 13.

[5]A year ago, the city’s indigent defense system was critically examined in extensive N.Y. Times series that war particularly critical of 18-B representation.  Drive‑By Legal Defense (editorial), N.Y. Times, April 12, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/12/opinion/12THU2.html?ex=988080833&ei=1&en=b9e1c47df1d8243b&gt;;

Fritsch & Rohde, On Appeals, the Poor Find Little Leverage, N.Y. Times, April 10, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/10/nyregion/10LAWY.html?ex=987913258&ei=1&en=4cdd938a66b41ba5&gt;; Fritsch & Rohde, For New York City’s Poor, a Lawyer With 1,600 Clients, N.Y. Times, April 9, 2001 , at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/09/nyregion/09LEGA.html?ex=988028792&ei=1&en=07ff6fba42d79983&gt;; Fritsch & Rohde Legal Help Often Fails New York’s Poor, April 8, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/08/nyregion/08LAWY.html?ex=988028823&ei=1&en=d4c5de3b29545b32&gt;.

[6]Painless Cost‑Cutting, NY Times, Jan. 30, 2002, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/30/opinion/_30WED3.html?ex=1013404601&ei=1&en=aaff606843e62c8b&gt;; Feuding With Legal Aid, NY Times, Dec. 11, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/11/opinion/11TUE3.html?ex=1009070793&ei=1&en=e870db848bbca118&gt;.

[7]In contrast to the New York Times, to independent oversight reports, and to common knowledge, the runaway contractors have made a concerted effort to propagate the myth that the Giuliani’s policies have improved, rather than damaged, indigent defense.

On December 15, 2001, for example, the New York Times published a letter by Bronx Defenders director Robin Steinberg opposing restoration of LAS funds on the grounds that “[then-]Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is continuing a five‑year‑old plan that seeks only to improve the overall quality of legal services by promoting the same competition that fosters invention and progress in every other field. Alternate providers have actually enhanced the quality of justice for New York City’s poor. . . .  No one is trying to eliminate the Legal Aid Society. The only thing at risk is the credibility of a system that focuses more on organizational ego than client well‑being and justice.” <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/15/opinion/L15LEGA.html?ex=1013605487&ei=1&en=585d0a91bebcbd77&gt;.

In 1998, Lynn Fahey (“Appellate Advocates”) testified in 1998 that the city’s “institutional providers . . . are all very adequately funded,” and that “[i]t’s a pleasure to practice in New York City.”  Test. of Lynn Fahey (Oct. 14, 1998), In the Matter of Fact Finding Hearings held by the New York State Defenders Association and the League of Women Voters of the State of New York <http://www.nysda.org/Hot_Topics/Fact_Finding_Hearings/NYC_Transcript.pdf&gt;.

And in 1996, Lisa Schreibersdorf asserted that “Brooklyn Defender Services’ entry into the court system has even lightened the load of the Legal Aid Society’s attorneys who . . . are overworked and underpaid . . . [so that they] are now able to more effectively represent their own clients.”  Affirm. of Lisa Schreibersdorf (July 16, 1996), Legal Aid Society v. NYC, No. 603291-96 (N.Y. Sup Ct.).

[8]The Unions have played an indispensable role in opposing Giuliani’s attacks on LAS.  In 1998, an intense campaign first won a $5 million restoration of LAS criminal funding.  Report on New Giuliani Administration Attacks on Legal Aid Society Criminal Funding (ALAA, June 24, 1999).

As a result of Union lobbying last year, the City Council raised its LAS criminal add-on to $5.6 million, and fully restored LAS civil funds cut by Giuliani. Email of June 7, 2001 from ALAA HQ to ALAA members.

[9]The EB had proposed that the issue by resolved through a process which would:  (1) Clearly define the new policy; (2) Schedule expedited, “last‑best‑offer” arbitration to be held within a brief time‑frame (e.g., 4‑6 weeks) to resolve the limited issue of the new policy; (3) Pending arbitration, seek a negotiated resolution of the dispute; (4) Pending a negotiated or arbitrated resolution, suspend the new policy’s implementation; (5) Incorporate the results of negotiation or arbitration into the contract effective October 1, 2002; and (6) Condition final Union agreement to this procedure on ratification by the Delegate Council.  ALAA Union Update (Feb. 12, 2002).

In response, Management stated that:

Subject to the Society and ALAA successfully negotiating the terms, time frames and scope of the process, the Society has agreed to submit the issue of compensatory time payouts to a limited form of arbitration, which will include a set period for negotiation between the Society and ALAA, and ultimately, if we are unable to reach agreement, the presentation of ‘last, best offers’ to an arbitrator.  During this period, the Society will temporarily suspend the policy regarding compensatory time payouts, which was issued on January 7, 2002.

Memo from Theresa de León to All Staff Attorneys in the Criminal Defense Division, Feb. 21, 2002

[10]Members present at the February 21 meeting were: David Affler (Del., CDD-M6), George Albro (Secretary-Treasurer), Danny Ashworth (Del., CDD-Bk2), Peter Blum (Alt. VP, CAB/Capital/FDD), Tom Bomba (Del., CDD-BxC), Jessica Botticelli (Alt. Del. CDD M-6), Mari Carlesimo (Alt. Del., Volunteer/CLO), Joanne Daley (Del., CDD-M1), Joseph Diflumeri (Del., CDD-Q4), Alexandra Flanders (Alt. Del., CDD-Bk3), Yvonne Floyd-Mayer (Del., Civil-Immigration), Gail Geltman (VP, CDD-Bx), Larry Gurwitch (Del., CDD-BxB), Charlotte Hitchcock (Recording Secretary), Carol Hochberg (VP, JRD), Michael Letwin (President), Nancy Little (Del., CAB), Nicholas Lundgren (Del., Volunteer/CLO), Eileen McCann (Del., Civil-SI), Susan Morris (Alt. Del., CDD-Bk3), Michael Taglieri (Alt. Del., CAB), Azalia  Torres. (Alt. VP, CDD-Bk), Joseph Zablocki (Del., CDD M-6), Milton Zelermyer (Del., PRP), and Robert Zuss (VP, CDD-Bk).

The single dissent was cast by a delegate who, despite his personal support for the statement, voted the majority view of his complex.  The Delegate Council also decisively rejected motions to:  (1) Table the proposed statement (Zablocki/Botticelli)(hand vote); and (2) Prohibit ALAA HQ from seeking to disseminate the Union’s statement (Zablocki)(3-18-1).

[11]Statements by such organizations include the following:

[12][* denotes ALAA member]

“We are a coalition of lawyers, advocates and communities concerned about police brutality.  Last week’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Volpe raises serious questions about the relationship between the Police Benevolent Association, the New York Police Department and the City, and fairness of our system of justice.

“Notably, a multimillion-dollar attorney was deemed “insufficient” at a time when thousands of New York citizens are served by over-worked legal aid attorneys and $25 an-hour attorneys through the under-funded 18B system.

“An irony of this case is that many poor and disadvantaged people convicted of crimes raise the issue of ineffectiveness of trial counsel on appeal, and it is rarely a success.  We hope that this decision is not another example of the special treatment of police defendants in criminal actions-special treatment that the Abner Louima assault case unearthed.

“The blue wall of silence has protected these officers yet again.  The PBA lawyers participated in the blue wall of silence, and ironically, the officers’ convictions were reversed based on that fact.

“The PBA prevents criminal investigations into police officers for 48 hours after an incident-a privilege to which no other suspect is entitled.  PBA agents and lawyers may be actively involved during that 48 hours in construing a story of the incident.  In this instance, the PBA hired lawyers to defend the police officers, but the PBA made it clear that these lawyers’ future business relationship with the PBA depended on their ability to shield not only the police officers but also the PBA from criminal and civil liability.

“The PBA’s contractual arrangement with the firm of Stephen Worth, who represented Officer Charles Schwartz, guaranteed an ethical violation and caused reversal on appeal.

“This decision is a wake-up call to the community and New York City that it is the city’s responsibility to force the PBA to change its policies.

“When the city renegotiates contracts with the PBA, it must (1) refuse to grant police officers special privileges, such as the 48-hour rule, in criminal investigations, and (2) insist that the PBA institute an independent process of retaining counsel for police officers charged with crimes to prevent the conflict of interest that the recent decision condemns.

“We can only hope that this decision does not become yet another instance of special treatment for police offices charged with crimes, and the principles behind the decisions are now applied equally to all defendants.

[Signed] Frank Serpico, Amanda Masters, Michael Letwin [*], Michael Hardy, Craig Acorn, McGregor Smyth, Nick Lundgren[*], Margaret Baker[*], Steve Wasserman[*], Barbara Olshansky, Roberta Mueller, Vincent Serpico, Karen Dippold, Jonathan Moore, David Lansner, Christopher Weddle, Carolyn Kubitschek, Carmen Giordano, Richard Altman.”

[13]“This year presents the best chance in many years to see reform of the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws that have so tragically impacted the lives of many of our clients and their families for more than a generation.  The Legal Aid Society, with its first-hand knowledge of the devastation caused by these laws, is in a unique position to advocate for a change of these laws.  “Drop the Rock,” a lobby day and rally scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 in Albany, is an opportunity for us to educate the Legislature about the urgent need to reform these laws.

“The Society has approved release time for Legal Aid employees who will support this lobbying effort by meeting with legislators to educate them about the need for reform of the state’s drug laws.  Staff who want to attend the rally but aren’t selected and trained to meet with legislators may take a personal, comp or vacation day.

“1199 will be providing buses for Legal Aid staff who are going to Albany on March 26th to lobby or attend the rally.  Buses will leave from 310 West 43rd Street, Manhattan.  Boarding will begin at 6:30 a.m.; the buses will depart at 7 a.m. sharp.  Buses for the trip home will leave Albany at approximately 4 p.m., and should return to the City at about 7 p.m.

“In order to insure that all offices have sufficient staff for case coverage and court assignments, it is important that all staff who want to participate in the March 26th event seek preliminary approval from their supervisor ASAP.  Case-handlers who have an institutional assignment or cases calendared on that day must make arrangements for coverage by a colleague.

“If you want to lobby, please send an e-mail to Bernette Carway-Spruiell once you have obtained preliminary approval of your release request from your supervisor.   Bernette will coordinate appointments with legislators for Society staff.  All staff who are scheduled to meet with legislators must participate in the Society’s Rockefeller drug-law lobby-day training, which will be provided before the lobbying day.

“Final approval of requests for vacation, comp or personal days will be made by Division Heads, and will be dependent on case and court coverage, and the total number of people in the Division who are seeking to go to Albany.  Approval of release requests for staff who wish to lobby will be determined by those factors, as well as the number of appointments with legislators that must be covered on that day. The Society will determine how many lobbyists are needed prior to the training that will be scheduled for lobbyists.  In the event that the number of people interested in lobbying exceeds the number of available slots, staff who are not selected for lobbying may elect to take a personal, vacation or comp day to participate in the rally, subject to the previously mentioned staffing concerns.

“ALAA has also been asked by the organizers of “Drop the Rock” to provide marshals and legal observers for the rally.  Legal Aid employees who volunteer to do this must request a vacation, comp or personal day.  ALAA will provide training for anyone who wants to do this.  If you are interested in acting as a legal observer/marshal, please notify William Gibney by e-mail.”

March 6, 2002

2002.03.06: 90 Church Street Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 12:31 pm
Tags:

[Original Format: Church Street Update

To: ALAA Members

From: Charlotte Hitchcock, Recording Secretary

Re: 90 Church Street Update

Date: March 6, 2002

________________________________________________________________________

Due to the important nature of various emails which have been sent to me over the past couple of weeks, I believe that the following information may be useful to all ALAA members. In consideration of the fact that our technical advisor at NYCOSH was out of town for a period of time, these answers were collected as quickly as possible.

RESPONSES TO FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS

Why can paper, which is porous, be cleaned while other porous items cannot be cleaned?

The cleaning protocol was specifically designed to remove contaminants from paper. Clearance testing confirms that paper was successfully cleaned. The procedure was not intended to be used for other items.

Why isn’t an independent environmental testing company sampling the “cleaned” papers?

Airtek is an independent environmental testing company. NYCOSH considers Airtek to be very reputable.

In the prescribed cleaning protocol, why weren’t the files preserved by a photocopying process?

NYCOSH advised us that this option should be a “last resort,” since it is difficult to prevent contamination of copiers and re-contamination of copies. Furthermore, the expense of this procedure would be prohibitive.

Who supervised the decontamination process to ensure that it was being properly done?

Airtek monitored every aspect of the cleaning process, and communicated every aspect of the specifications for cleaning to ALAA for review and comment. NYCOSH has supported this cleaning protocol.

What decontamination process is used to clean our files and papers?

Decontamination began with “gross cleaning” at the point of origin (e.g., in an office, on a desk). Gross cleaning included both HEPA vacuuming and chemical-free wet wiping. Materials were then transferred to a cleaning station for “fine cleaning,” which included an additional level of HEPA vacuuming and wet wiping, as deemed necessary through visual inspection and which was confirmed by clearance testing.

Thus, files taken from a closed file cabinet or desk drawer were removed from the location and held closed to avoid exposing protected materials to contamination. Any dust on the surface was removed in the gross cleaning stage. The files were then placed in clean, labeled boxes, which were placed on new plastic, rather than the floor. Files were then transported in the closed boxes by dolly to the decontamination chamber for fine cleaning.

In the decontamination chamber, files were fanned to shake out dust. If dust was revealed, the file was cleaned, page by page. The “cleaned” files were then re-packed in the same inventory boxes which had been HEPA vacuumed. Boxes were then doubled-bagged at the cleaning site. In between the bagging process, clearance testing was conducted for the presence of all the contaminants found in our space. Wet wipe and air samples were taken to determine if the actual handing of the paper has produced air borne levels of contaminants. The cleaning station is fed filtered air to create positive pressure so that no contaminated air can leak into the decontamination chamber.

How many lots of boxes were cleaned more than once?

Materials were transported to the decontamination chamber in lots. A lot represents 100 boxes. To date, 199 lots have moved through the cleaning process. Out of 199 lots, 198 were successfully cleaned, 175 of them on the first attempt, 21 lots on the second attempt, and 2 lots after a third attempt. Only 1 lot, from the southwest and northwest side of the 15th floor, failed to pass clearance testing after the third attempt. Upon conferring with NYCOSH and Airtek, ALAA fully supports the decision to further re-clean this lot. NYCOSH has advised the Union that our cleaning protocol procedures are technically sound and that the lot in question can be successfully cleaned.

What percentage of the boxes in a lot was clearance tested?

NYCOSH and Airtek both agreed that the application of the 10% industry standard was appropriate in our situation. Thus, 10 boxes out of every lot (100 boxes) were randomly clearance tested. Clearance testing means that wet wipe samples were taken from the materials in the boxes and sent to a laboratory for testing. In addition to the 10% that were actually laboratory-tested, more than 10% of the boxes were “visually” inspected during and after the fine cleaning process. ALAA has been informed that statistically 10% is a high percentage and that some organizations have reduced the industry standard to as low as 5%.

The primary reason that several lots were re-cleaned was that our clearance testing methodology was very stringent. To date, the government has not promulgated any standards that can be specifically applied to the WTC disaster. For this very reason, the EPA is conducting hearings on the issue. The clearance testing which we used is based on OSHA standards. However, Airtek, with comments from NYCOSH, did not believe that OSHA standards were appropriate because they were created for workers who had a continual exposure to these contaminants. Thus, Airtek felt the standards were too liberal. As a result, we developed our clearance testing standard based upon 1/10 of the OSHA standard. In essence, it is more conservative by a factor of 10. Therefore, lots which failed our clearance testing, more than likely, would have passed under the unmodified OSHA standard.

It is also important to understand that when a lot failed, it did not mean that each box in that lot failed. Again based upon our strict methodology, a lot failed if there was any one failure, for any one contaminant, for any lot. Therefore, one box could fail an entire lot consisting of 100 boxes.

Based upon our inventory system, we can always identify the location from where a box came.

How safe are the 1400 boxes removed from 90 Church Street in October?

NYCOSH and Airtek both support the cleaning protocol which was applied to the decontamination of the first 1400 boxes. Since we know which metal contaminants are now present in our space, the natural question is: Does this information invalidate the decontamination process used in October?

NYCOSH has advised us that it does not. The protocol applied to the first 1400 boxes and to the remaining 30,000 boxes was an asbestos abatement cleaning. In October, NYCOSH advised that asbestos abatement cleaning would effectively remove any heavy metals. Except for the few boxes that did not effectively go through the decontamination chamber, successful clearance testing of the 1400 boxes demonstrated that the cleaning protocol was effective.

The next natural question is: What about the Mercury which was discovered in our workspace after October? Once the presence of Mercury was discovered, Airtek conducted extensive and very expensive sampling testing of mercury on paper. The results showed that the protocol used to clean the 1400 boxes was able to remove the mercury from the paper. In addition, ongoing testing has revealed that the mercury has evaporated in our space.

DIPLOMAS AND PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Recognizing professional credentials have sentimental value and may be irreplaceable, I wanted to ensure that they were preserved with care. Dan Kessler agreed to my request that the Society absorb the cost of specially cleaning all professional degrees, contingent upon my taking personal responsibility for all of the diplomas.

As a result, about a month ago, I suited up and walked through every office in our space and created an inventory of these items (I did not discriminate between diplomas belonging to union or non-union staff) and pulled everyone’s degree that I could locate. The degrees were recently cleaned and, to the chagrin of my office mate, 8 large boxes were delivered to my temporary office. Obviously, I would like to confer your degree upon you as soon as possible, and will email everyone on my list to make arrangements for pick-up.

Warehouse-Document Retrieval Center

Prior to allowing any staff to retrieve property from the warehouse, I inspected the facility with Dan Kessler and Airtek to ensure that procedures at the location address ongoing health and safety concerns. Specifically, Management has reserved four rooms located in a suite-like area. Three of these rooms will be used to review boxes. The fourth will serve as a community workspace with copier, fax, laptop, and telephones available for your use. Each room is climate controlled and contains long tables and chairs. Management has also purchased a refrigerator and microwave, so you may want to bring lunch with you. The Society has also arranged for restrooms, toiletries and other supplies.

As a precautionary measure, Airtek will conduct ongoing testing of the offices and warehouse storage area. To date, no test results have presented any cause for alarm. Pursuant to directions given by Airtek, the Society has also hired a cleaning company to wipe down all of the tables and clean the office space at the end of the day.

When you arrive to the warehouse, your boxes will be waiting for you in an office. Dan Kessler will have a member of his staff present at all times. The move from 90 Church Street generated approximately 30,000 boxes. Out of that total, about 10,000 boxes have been sent to Iron Mountain. To see the rows and rows of boxes at the warehouse, as I have, it is quite surreal. It is an amazing wonder that the inventory system that we devised works at all.

Although the Society has monitored the process to not everything will be perfect. In the event that you open a box and discover dust or any other substance that makes you feel uncomfortable, simply close the box and report this at once to the LAS staff person on-site. The box will be properly removed and re-cleaned. According to NYCOSH and Airtek, cross-contamination between boxes is not likely at this point because any materials left on these files 5 months after the “Event” are stable and likely to remain where they are. Most unstable contaminants (e.g., mercury, volatile organic compounds, polynuclear aromatics, benzene, etc.) are most likely to have evaporated already.

Upon reviewing your boxes, you will be asked to: (1) Discard any items which you do not need; (2) Re-label any boxes containing material that you want delivered to you; and (3) Re-label boxes that contain archive material that should be sent to Iron Mountain. To the extent possible, you are encouraged to take your personal property home with you.

INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT

Personal items that could not be cleaned were inventoried and photographed and will be returned to staff as soon as possible. Hopefully, this information will assist anyone in preparing a homeowner insurance claim.

TRAINING

As previously reported, NYCOSH and ALAA are developing the following training seminars for ALAA members:

Training I: Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety

This session will focus on basic toxicology and the hierarchy of controls (the methods used in addressing hazards). NYCOSH will specifically discuss the contaminants known to exist in our workspace.

Training II: Regulatory Standards

This session will address regulatory standards and discuss how they may or may not apply to the WTC situation. NYCOSH will also provide an overview of the current environmental status in lower Manhattan.

Both seminars will be conducted in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx during lunchtime from 1:15-2:30 p.m. The dates were finalized by NYCOSH on March 4. The scheduled dates for Training I are March 19, March 26, March 28, and April 2. The dates for Training II are April 3, April 11, April 18, and April 25. As soon as conference room reservations have been completed in each borough, the locations will be posted. Of course, 1199 members will be invited to attend all the trainings.

OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTIVE PROCESS

From the very beginning, ALAA has been fully engaged, as an active participant, in the decision making of the ongoing health and safety concerns at 90 Church Street. Recently, I convened a meeting between ALAA, NYCOSH (the Union’s health and safety consultant), the Society and Airtek (the Society’s consultant), at which the Society requested NYCOSH’s recommendations. As a labor advocacy organization, NYCOSH was pleasantly surprised by such a request. The Society also asked NYCOSH to assist it in providing training to management staff.

At this meeting, the NYCOSH technical adviser, David Newman, commended both the collaborative relationship that the Union and management have forged in addressing our environmental issues, and the elaborate cleaning protocol that we have developed. Newman told me that he is unaware of any other organization in lower Manhattan that has embraced a joint union/management approach to the WTC worker health and safety concerns.

In an effort to learn how other unions are focusing on the same issues, I reached out to DC 37 and the Mail Handlers Union, which represent NYCHA and the USPS, respectively. These much larger unions do not appear to be as organized in dealing with the critical issues involving their space in 90 Church Street.

Newman also informed me that NYCOSH has publicly used our approach as a model other organizations and has referred groups and individuals to ALAA for advice about how to establish their own cleaning protocol. (Ironically, I recently spoke to one such group named “The Campaign for Clean Air.”)

NYCOSH has also arranged an interview of ALAA representatives with CBS Health and Safety Reporter Paul Moniz concerning worker concerns at Ground Zero. ALAA was also asked to attend a Saturday EPA hearing on WTC Environmental Issues convened by Congressman Jerrold Nadler and EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin. ALAA expects to testify at the second EPA hearing scheduled for March 11.

Overall, ALAA is on the right track in dealing with the anxiety provoking and sometimes overwhelming issues that have been presented to us at 90 Church Street. How do we know this to be true? Because we have been told it is true by the leading health and safety environmental organization in New York City – NYCOSH. The key to our success is that regardless of how much work or how difficult the issues become, we do not take shortcuts, but rather stay the course and work through each and every concern.

2002.03.06: Appeal For LAS Funding Lobbyists

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Political Action — nyclaw01 @ 11:55 am
Tags:

From: GAlbro@HQEAST.HQ [mailto:GAlbro@HQEAST.HQ]
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 5:44 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: APPEAL FOR LAS FUNDING LOBBYISTS
Importance: High

M E M O

TO: Everyone at the Legal Aid Society

FR: Bernette Carway-Spruiell(LAS)
Betty Hughley (SEIU/1199)
George Albro (UAW/ALAA)

RE: NYC Council Lobby Campaign

DA: March 6, 2002
————————————————————————————————————————-
As you probably have heard, the Mayor’s preliminary budget for Legal Aid’s criminal defense and civil work is basically the same as the former Administration’s budgets and, except for continued funding for one civil legal services program, the proposed budget even cuts the City Council add-ons from prior fiscal years.

If this budget is adopted as is, the Society, its employees and our clients will face a severe budget crisis with all its inevitable, negative consequences. Although we still intend to continue lobbying the Administration in the hope that the Mayor’s executive budget will increase Legal Aid funding, we must obviously plan a major lobbying campaign centered on the City Council.

This year our lobbying campaign will be extremely challenging. While we have been successful with such campaigns in the past, this year we must lobby in the shadow of a $4 billion City budget gap AND a related, multi-million dollar gap in the Society’s current year’s budget.

This is where you come in.

In order to have any hope of success, the campaign needs the support and participation of ALL Legal Aid employees. What needs to be done is the following:

1. VOLUNTEER TO VISIT YOUR COUNCILMEMBER We are putting together teams of constituents to make these visits. ALAA President Michael Letwin has already recruited close to 100 ALAA volunteers at a series of CDD/CAB union meetings in the last week. But we need more and a diversity of employees if we are to effectively and comprehensively lobby 51 councilmembers.

2. LET US WRITE YOUR COUNCILMEMBER ON YOUR BEHALF This was very effective in 1998, when we first won a $5 million council add-on to Legal Aid’s criminal defense budget. We will write a letter over your name urging your councilmember to support increased funding for Legal Aid.

3. TELL US IF YOU KNOW ANY COUNCILMEMBERS OR THEIR STAFF

4. ATTEND ONE OF THE LOBBY TRAINING SESSIONS So far, we have scheduled the following training sessions in prep for council visits. If you cannot make any of those listed, we will make special arrangements.

Monday, 3/18, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.: Manh., 49 Thomas,1st Floor

Tuesday 3/19, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.: Queens, 120-46 Qns Blvd., 4th Floor

Wednesday, 3/20, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.: Bklyn, 111 Livingston, 7th Floor

Friday, 3/22, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.: Bronx, 1020 Grand Conc., Library

To VOLUNTEER for any or all of the above, please send by reply email your name, home address, phone numbers, and which of the events you agree to participate in.

Thanks!!!!

2002.03.06: 90 Church Street Update

Filed under: 9/11,Health and Safety,Written Report — nyclaw01 @ 12:00 am

90 CHURCH UPDATE

MEMO

To: ALAA Members

From: Charlotte Hitchcock, Recording Secretary

Re: 90 Church Street Update

Date: March 6, 2002

_________________________________________________


OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTIVE PROCESS

From the very beginning, ALAA has been fully engaged, as an active participant, in the decision making of the ongoing health and safety concerns at 90 Church Street. Recently, I convened a meeting between ALAA, NYCOSH, the Society and Airtek, at which the Society openly requested the direct exchange of ideas and information from NYCOSH. As a labor advocacy organization, NYCOSH was pleasantly surprised by such a request. The Society also asked NYCOSH to assist it in providing training to management staff.

At this meeting, NYCOSH commended, not only, the collective and cooperative relationship that the Union and management have forged in addressing our environmental issues, but also the elaborate cleaning protocol that we have developed.  Our technical advisor, David Newman, told me that he is unaware of any other organization in lower Manhattan that has embraced a joint union/management approach to the WTC worker health and safety concerns.

In an effort to learn how other unions are focusing on the same issues, I reached out to DC 37 and the Mail Handlers Union which represents NYCHA and the USPS, respectively. While their unions are much larger than ours, they are not at all organized in dealing with the critical issues involving their space in 90 Church Street.

As our technical advisor, Newman also informed me that, because of the ALAA’s collective action with management, our organization is much farther ahead of other groups grappling with how to proceed. Consequently, NYCOSH has publicly used our approach as a model in advising other organizations. NYCOSH has actually referred groups and individuals to ALAA to discuss with us how to establish their cleaning protocol. Ironically, one such referral group that I recently spoke to was named “The Campaign for Clean Air”.

In addition, NYCOSH has also referred the press to us. Recently, ALAA was interviewed by the CBS Health and Safety Reporter, Paul Moniz, for a report on worker concerns at Ground Zero. Furthermore, ALAA was asked to attended a Saturday EPA hearing on the WTC Environmental Issues convened by Congressman Jerrold Nadler and EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin. I signed up to testify, but was unable to stay after waiting over five hours. ALAA expects to testify at the second EPA hearing scheduled for March 11th.

Overall, ALAA is on the right track in dealing with the anxiety provoking and sometimes overwhelming issues that have been presented to us at 90 Church Street. How do we know this to be true? Because we have been told it is true by the leading health and safety environmental organization in New York City – NYCOSH. The key to our success is that regardless of how much work or how difficult the issues become, we do not take shortcuts, but rather stay the course and work through each and every concern.

RESPONSES TO FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS

Why can paper, which is porous, be cleaned and other porous items cannot be cleaned?

The cleaning protocol was specifically designed to remove contaminants from paper. Our clearance testing confirms that we can, in fact, successfully “clean” paper.  The procedure was not intended to be used for other items.

Why isn’t an independent environmental testing company sampling the “cleaned” papers?

Airtek is an independent environmental testing company. NYCOSH considers Airtek to be very reputable.

Why weren’t the files preserved by a photocopying process in which the copies were protected from contamination by the originals?

The use of this methodology was discussed and considered to be a “last resort” option. While it may sound very reasonable and straight-forward, it is embroidered with complexity. Overall, NYCOSH did not support this method beyond a final contingent. Namely, the key problem was in how to ensure that the Xerox machines did not become contaminated. In addition, the possibility of  re-contamination of a copy being in contact with the original was great. Furthermore, the expense of this procedure would be tremendous.

Who supervised the decontamination process to ensure that it was being properly done?

Airtek monitored every aspect of the cleaning process, and communicated every aspect of the specifications for cleaning to ALAA for review and comment. NYCOSH has supported the decision that Airtek oversee the implementation of the cleaning protocol.

What is the decontamination process utilized for cleaning our files and papers?

Generally, decontamination consisted of two basic cleaning operations. First, “Gross Cleaning” at the point of origin of the materials (i.e., in an office, on a desk) was conducted. Gross cleaning included both HEPA vacuuming and wet wiping.  HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuuming is an industry term referring to a specific type of filter that filters down to 5 microns. Wet wiping does not consist of any chemicals. Materials were then transferred to a cleaning station for “Fine Cleaning”. Fine cleaning also included both HEPA vacuuming and wet wiping. The level of cleaning required was determined by visual inspection and confirmed by clearance testing.

Specifically, if a file was taken from a closed file cabinet or a desk drawer, it was removed from the location and held closed to avoid exposing protected materials to contamination. Any dust on the surface was removed in the gross cleaning stage. The file was then placed in a labeled clean box that was placed on new plastic, not on the floor. The file was then transported in the closed box by dolly to the decontamination chamber for fine cleaning.

In the decontamination chamber the file is now opened in the clean space. The file is fanned to shake out dust. If dust is revealed, the file is cleaned page by page. The “cleaned” file is now re-boxed in the same inventory box which has been HEPA vacuumed. The box is then doubled bagged at the cleaning site. Clearance testing is done in between the bagging process. The clearance testing is conducted for the presence of all the contaminants in our space. Wet wipe and air samples are taken. The air samples let us know if the actual handing of the paper is producing air borne levels of contaminants. The cleaning station is fed filtered air to create positive pressure so that no contaminant air can leak into the decontamination chamber.

How many lots of boxes were cleaned more than once?

Materials were transported to the decontamination chamber in lots. A lot represents 100 boxes. To date, 199 lots have moved through the cleaning process. Out of 199 lots, 198 were successfully cleaned. Out of the 198 successfully cleaned lots, 175 lots were successfully cleaned on the first attempt, 21 lots were successfully cleaned on the second attempt, and 2 lots were successfully cleaned after a third attempt. Only 1 lot, from the southwest and northwest side of the 15th floor, failed to pass clearance testing after the third attempt. Upon conferring with NYCOSH and Airtek, ALAA fully supports the decision to further re-clean this lot. NYCOSH has advised the Union that our cleaning protocol procedures are technically sound and the lot in question can be successfully cleaned.

What percentage of the boxes in a lot were clearance tested?

NYCOSH and Airtek both agreed that the application of the 10% industry standard was appropriate in our situation. Thus, 10 boxes out of every lot (100 boxes) were randomly clearance tested. Specifically, clearance testing means that wet wipe samples were taken from the materials in the boxes and sent to a laboratory for testing. In addition to the 10% that were actually laboratory tested, more than 10% of the boxes were “visually” inspected during and after the fine cleaning process. ALAA has been informed that statistically 10% is a high percentage. ALAA also learned that some organizations have reduced the industry standard to as low as 5%.

Primarily, the reason that we re-cleaned several lots was because our clearance testing methodology was very stringent. To date, the government has not promulgated any standards that can be specifically applied to the WTC disaster. For this very reason, the EPA is conducting hearings on the issue. The clearance testing which we used is based on OSHA standards. However, Airtek, with comments from NYCOSH, did not believe that OSHA standards were appropriate because they were created for workers who had a continual exposure to these contaminants. Thus, Airtek felt the standards were too liberal. As a result, we developed our clearance testing standard based upon 1/10 of the OSHA standard. In essence, it is more conservative by a factor of 10. Therefore, lots which failed our clearance testing, more than likely, would have passed under the unmodified OSHA standard.

It is also important to understand that when a lot failed, it did not mean that each box in that lot failed. Again based upon our strict methodology, a lot failed if there was any one failure, for any one contaminant, for any lot. Therefore, one box could fail an entire lot consisting of 100 boxes.

Based upon our inventory system we can always identify the location from where a box came.

How safe are the 1400 boxes removed from 90 Church street in October?

NYCOSH and Airtek both support the cleaning protocol which was applied to the decontamination of the first 1400. The main distinction that exists now is that we know which metals were contaminants in our space. So the natural question is, Does this information compromise the integrity of the decontamination process used in October?  The answer is no. The cleaning protocol applied on the first 1400 boxes and the cleaning protocol applied on the remaining 30,000 boxes was an asbestos abatement cleaning. Thus, NYCOSH advised ALAA in October, as it sat at the meeting with ALAA discussing the development of the protocol, that the asbestos abatement cleaning would also effectively remove any heavy metals. Excluding the few boxes that did not effectively go through the decontamination chamber, the successful clearance testing on the 1400 boxes demonstrated that the cleaning protocol was effective. The next natural question is, What about the Mercury which was discovered in our workspace after October?  As we have all learned, Mercury is not a heavy metal. However, once discovered the presence of Mercury, we conducted extensive and very expensive sampling testing of Mercury on paper. The results showed that under the cleaning protocol implemented on the 1400 boxes, we were able to remove the Mercury from the paper. For the sake of argument, assume for the moment that Mercury was on a sheet of paper, our ongoing testing has revealed that the Mercury has evaporated in our space.

DIPLOMAS AND PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

Recognizing how sentimental and in some instances irreplaceable academic degrees and professional credentials are, I wanted to ensure that they were preserved with care. Thus, upon request, Dan Kessler, agreed to absorb the cost of having all professional degrees specially cleaned together. This arrangement was contingent upon me, personally, taking responsibility for all of the diplomas.

As a result, about a month ago, I suited up and walked through every office in our space and created my own inventory of such items. I did not discriminate between diplomas belonging to union or non-union staff. I pulled everyone’s degree that I could locate. The degrees were recently cleaned and, to the chagrin of my officemate, eight large boxes were delivered to my temporary office. Obviously, I would like to confer your degree upon you as soon as possible. I will email everyone on my list to make arrangements for pick-up.

WAREHOUSE- Document Retrieval Center

Prior to any staff being allowed to retrieve property, I inspected the warehouse with Dan Kessler and Airtek. The set-up agreed upon by management and the Union addresses the ongoing health and safety concerns. Specifically, four rooms located in a suite-like area have been reserved by the Society. Three of the rooms will be used to review boxes. The fourth room will serve as a community workspace. A copier, fax, laptop, and telephones will be available for your use. Each room is climate controlled and contains long tables and chairs. For convenience, also management purchased a refrigerator and microwave. Therefore, you may want to bring lunch with you. Restrooms are located within the space. The Society also shipped supplies, including toiletries, to the warehouse. As a precautionary measure, Airtek will conduct ongoing testing of the office area as well as the warehouse storage area. To date, no test results have presented any cause for alarm. As a further precautionary measure, the Society has hired a cleaning company to wipe down, pursuant to directions given by Airtek, all of the tables and to clean the office space at the end of the day.

When you arrive to the warehouse, your boxes will be waiting for you in an office. Dan Kessler will have a member of his staff present at all times. The move from 90 Church Street generated approximately 30,000 boxes. Out of that total, about 10,000 boxes have been sent to Iron Mountain. To see the rows and rows of boxes at the warehouse, as I have, it is quite surreal. It is an amazing wonder that the inventory system that we devised works at all. Although the Society has monitored the process to the best of its ability, ALAA knows that everything will not be perfect. In the event, that you open a box and discover dust, or any other substance that makes you feel uncomfortable, simply close the box and report this at once to the LAS staff person on sight. The box will be properly removed and re-cleaned. According to NYCOSH and Airtek, cross-contamination between boxes is not likely at this point because any materials left on these files 5 months after the “Event” are stable and likely to remain where they are. Most unstable contaminants (e.g., Mercury, Volatile Organic Compounds, Polynuclear Aromatics, Benzene, etc.) are most likely to have evaporated already.

Upon reviewing your boxes, you will be asked to do the following three things: (1) Discard any items which you do not need; (2) Re-label any boxes containing material that you want delivered to you; and (3) Re-label boxes that contain archive material that should be sent to Iron Mountain. To the extent possible, you are encouraged to take with you your personal property.

INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT

Personal items that were unable to be cleaned were inventoried and photographed. The inventory and photograph(s) will be returned to staff as soon as possible. Hopefully, this information will assist anyone in preparing a homeowners insurance claim.

TRAINING

As previously reported, NYCOSH and ALAA were developing the following training seminars for ALAA members:

Training I:   Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety

This session will focus on basic toxicology and the hierarchy of controls (the methods used in addressing hazards). NYCOSH will specifically discuss the contaminants known to exist in our workspace.

Training II: Regulatory Standards

This session will address regulatory standards and discuss how they may or may not apply to the WTC situation. NYCOSH will also provide an overview of the current environmental status in lower Manhattan.

Each of the above two seminars will be conducted in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx during lunchtime. The seminars will be held from 1:15-2:30 pm. The dates were finalized by NYCOSH on March 4th.  The scheduled dates for Training I are March 19, March 26, March 28, and April 2. The dates for Training II are April 3, April 11, April 18, and April 25.  As soon as conference room reservations have been completed in each borough, the locations will be posted. Of course, 1199 members will be invited to attend all the trainings.

March 5, 2002

2002.03.05: RULING IN VOLPE RAISES QUESTION (NY Law Journal, March 5, 2002)

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism,Sentencing,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 4:53 pm
Tags:

New York Law Journal
Volume 227, Number 42
Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Letter To The Editor

RULING IN VOLPE RAISES QUESTION

We are a coalition of lawyers, advocates and communities concerned about police brutality. Last week’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Volpe raises serious questions about the relationship between the Police Benevolent Association, the New York Police Department and the City, and the fairness of our system of justice.

Notably, a multimillion-dollar attorney was deemed “insufficient” at a time when thousands of New York citizens are served by over-worked legal aid attorneys and $25 an-hour attorneys through the under-funded 18B system.

An irony of this case is that many poor and disadvantaged people convicted of crimes raise the issue of ineffectiveness of trial counsel on appeal, and it is rarely a success. We hope that this decision is not another example of the special treatment of police defendants in criminal actions special treatment that the Abner Louima assault case un-earthed.

The blue wall of silence has protected these officers yet again. The PBA lawyers participated in the blue wall of silence, and ironically, the officers’ convictions were reversed based on that fact.

The PBA prevents criminal investigations into police officers for 48 hours after an incident a privilege to which no other suspect is entitled. PBA agents and lawyers may be actively involved during that 48 hours in constructing a story of the incident. In this instance, the PBA hired lawyers to defend the police officers, but the PBA made it clear the these lawyers’ future business relationship with the PBA depended on their ability to shield not only the police officers but also the PBA from criminal and civil liability.

The PBA’s contractual arrangement with the firm of Stephen Worth, who represented Officer Charles Schwartz, guaranteed an ethical violation and caused reversal on appeal.

This decision is a wake-up call to the community and New York City that it is the city’s responsibility to force the PBA to change its policies.

When the city renegotiates contracts with the PBA, it must (1) refuse to grant police officers special privileges, such as the 48-hour rule, in criminal investigations, and (2) insist that the PBA institute an independent process of retaining counsel for police officers charged with crimes to prevent the conflict of interest that the recent decision condemns.

We can only hope that this decision does not become yet another instance of special treatment for police officers charged with crimes, and that the principles behind the decision are now applied equally to all defendants.

Frank Serpico, Amanda Masters, Michael Letwin, Michael Hardy, Craig Acorn, McGregor Smyth, Nick Lundgren, Margaret Baker, Steve Wasserman, Barbara Olshansky, Roberta Mueller, Vincent Serpico, Karen Dippold, Jonathan Moore, David Lansner, Christopher Weddle, Carolyn Kubitschek, Carmen Giordano, Richard Altman

New York, N.Y

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