Recently, AALA published the fact that the District had hired Dick Fisher, a retired attorney, for $250,000 for a six-month period to head negotiations with UTLA and AALA. It should be noted that Mr. Fisher capably served the District in years past.
AALA also just received information regarding another part-time employee hired by the District. It seems that the District has a contract with the legal firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker,LLP, for the services of attorney Eric Joss, at an hourly rate of $590, to represent the District in negotiations with AALA and classified unions. As of March 26, 2010, in a letter to Dr. Judith Perez, AALA President, from Kathleen E. Collins, LAUSD’s Associate General Counsel, Mr. Joss has worked 530 hours to date, which is equivalent to 13 ½ weeks of work for a sum total of $312,700.
· What are the 37 full-time attorneys employed by the District doing now that makes them unavailable to serve as negotiators for the District?
· Have any attorneys been reduced in force to help pay these two part-time employees?
· Is the need for outside legal help a compliment to AALA’s negotiators? Are they so "intimidating" that special assistance is needed to effectively negotiate with them?
The District needs to take a look at these "extra" expenditures during times of fiscal crisis and evaluate their worth. Or perhaps the District leadership believes they are assisting President Obama by increasing employment!