Monday, July 31, 2006

Who's in charge of the Bureau of Field Enforcement (BoFE), and why is it riddled with micromanagers who waste time?

I heard that BoFE has a new policy, but you won't find it in any of their official policies and procedures manual. If anything, some micromanager decided to draft a memorandum because that's how it's done in BoFE: nothing concrete and set in stone like a Procedures Manual, more temporary like a memo. This is the new law, probably issued by their gun-in-a-desk rotund Assistant Chief, but I could be wrong.
Is it true that all BoFE personnel must list all of the websites they visit on their Daily Activity Report (DAR)? If it's policy, then this is to ensure that someone, someday will be caught in a lie (website not listed on DAR), and they can initiate Employee Disposal Procedures. Certain BoFE personnel who are liked by Greg Rupp, Susan Nakagama, etc. will be given a free pass, because Greg Rupp protects those he likes. He dismisses (or attempts to dismiss) those he does not like. Believe me, they don't have the manpower or the wherewithal to evenly enforce such a policy, so why draft such a policy that has no hope of being evenly and fairly enforced?
That's right: so it can be selectively and unfairly enforced! It's not about the websites visited, it's about the process...the reporting of the websites visited! Greg Rupp is all about the process. A word like "results" has no place in BoFE, and certainly no place in Greg Rupp's dictionary. Look at all the money they have poured into that TIPP re-named EEEC; where are those results? I digress
If this poicy is true, then there will be two effects to this micromanagement: 1) BoFE staff must stop enforcement actions and cover their ass by wasting time & paper in complying with this (don't they have computer geeks that can do this kind of work if they really want to hang someone by visiting naughty websites?) and 2) Lazy BoFE micromanagers will give their own staff the rope to hang them. If someone who is targeted forgets a website, then the DLSE hammer will fall down hard and fast on the civil servant who couldn't jump through some bureaucrat's hoop. Instead of conducting Field Enforcement, they will be ensuring Ass Coverage.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

DLSE Attorney Disposal Trial: the Highlights

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bison playing favorites: who knew what & when

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Diana Chen, Susan Nakagama, and Greg Rupp: protecting themselves or protecting the people of California?

When Diana Chen hired a non-Spanish speaking employee for the Santa Ana DLSE office, I did some research on claims filed in Santa Ana. Here's what I found:
25,461 total cases listed on the Santa Ana database
3,104 requesting Spanish
71 requesting Vietnamese
58 requesting Korean
35 requesting Mandarin
34 requesting Cantonese
Over 10% requesting Spanish. Who could have predicted that Santa Ana needed Spanish-speaking employees. I thought I might have been higher than a kite when I just formed that Spanish-speaking need in Santa Ana theory; that's why I wanted to see if the numbers would show such a theory to be true. Since these lower, middle, and upper DLSE managers read this blog, maybe they can convert this info into proper service to Californians. Deputy Chief Lupe Almaraz might want to re-prioritize his censoring of a subordinate's off-duty free speech and actually spend such time fixing this broken division. The phrase is "establishing priorities."
But problems like these just don't stop with Diana Chen; there should have been a catch-net, some sort of a stopgap in the event that Diana went off the reservation and hired someone she should not have hired. Regional Manager Susan Nakagama, her immediate supervisor, should have identified & fixed the glitch. That's assuming that Susan has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to deal with something so seemingly easy to fix. Unfortunately, Susan Nakagama was not there to manage and provide any oversight to Diana Chen in the proper selection of staff needed to serve the realistic needs of the Santa Ana office.
Then there's Assistant Chief Greg Rupp: the immediate supervisor of Susan Nakagama. Assuming that Diana Chen's sound judgement collapsed, and assuming that Susan Nakagama failed to grasp the simple concept that Santa Ana needed a Spanish speaker, then surely a seasoned professional like Greg Rupp should have provided the ultimate safety net for the People of California.
It's not just Diana Chen; she should have people providing guidance, insight, and wise advice so Diana can make the best decisions affecting the People of California. Instead, the People of California got effed in the ay.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

California State Attorney Bar Numbers: what do they say?

Vanessa Holton's Bar Number is 111613; she's Chief Counsel.
Steve McGinty's Bar Number is 170606; he's Assistant Chief Counsel.
Richard Munoz's Bar Number is 187141; he's only Staff Counsel.
Anthony Mischel's Bar Number is 83834; he's Senior Staff Counsel.
Tony Mischel has the lowest Bar Number of the four and he's only a Senior Staff Counsel? Wassup wit dat? He's been employed by the Office of the Director since (damn near) dinosaurs roamed the planet! He's done everything asked of him; he helped fire a DLSE attorney, he's tried to get rid of a Deputy Labor Commissioner thru the Dept. of Personnel Administration, and he's working very hard in censoring what a DLSE employee writes while not on the state payroll.
Speaking of trying to censor a state employee while typing in the off hours, the DLSE had a fantastic opportunity to settle that matter, under strict confidentiality clauses, and for a very small amount of trade (versus what the employee would resign as a permanent civil servant whose wages are needed to pay for incidentals like food and a roof over one's head). Instead of settling, they acquire (even) more attorneys to squash this little bug. This is the agency of mediators and the bosses never mediate. "Do as I say and not as I do!" How is this not a complete waste of taxpayer money? You know what some of these attorneys are doing now? Spending massive amounts of taxpayer money (judges, attorneys, witnesses, exhibits, etc.) arguing in Sacramento while they try and justify the termination of a former career DLSE attorney. Some of these DLSE employees had to be flown up from Los Angeles, lodged in a hotel, and flown back afterwards.
The travel, lodging, and per diem expenses alone would be enough to send any accountant into cardiac arrest. But once again, Victoria Bradshaw is allowing this train wreck to lurch forward at the expense of the taxpayer.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Smear Campaign has started: let's put the victim on trial.

So the judge's directive is simple and concise: submit a brief, no more than ten pages. Argue two issues by such and such date.
What does the DLSE do? First, they fight the injunction by attempting to remove the judge and having another judge hear the matter. They filed paperwork about an inch and a half thick trying to justify this motion. That was just Part One in their attempt to give the judge information unrelated to the issue at hand.
Part Two: submit the brief, keeping it to ten pages. DLSE submits their brief, and then adds about another 100+ pages as supplementals. Nice. Exactly what the judge asked for; keep the brief to ten pages and add an infinite amount of 'supplementals.' Way to obey the court's directive!
When a judge asks for a 'brief,' isn't it required to be 'brief,' or is the word 'brief' another word for 'encyclopedia?' If one submits a huge 'brief,' is that a sign of disrespect, given the court directive?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

There are some great civil servants, and then there's Anthony Mischel, John Rea, and Vicky Bradshaw

There's this attorney with whom I'm familiar; let's call him Popeye. He's a District Attorney, an ex-Marine, and a real go-getter. Popeye puts bad people away, and he's really good at what he does. He loves his job, and he does a great service to the people of California by imprisoning those who wish others harm. Not only that, but he's also physically fit, funny, incredibly smart, and "gets it." I would absolutely love to work for Popeye because the bigger picture is the greater good. Popeye stays focused on the results, which is prison time for the bad guy. Popeye earns respect by his actions and is an incredible leader.
There are always two sides to every civil-servant coin.
Then there's this other attorney. Let's call him Wimpy; he's also an attorney, but he works for guess-which-agency. Wimpy is certainly not an ex-Marine. Wimpy is rotund, and I wouldn't be surprised if such gluttony oozed into his work ethic. Wimpy is not a go-getter, and I highly doubt that anyone (who didn't work directly under him) would label him as smart or intelligent. Wimpy is focused on the process, and we all know what that means when dealing with state bureaucracy.
I would gladly trade tens Wimpies for only one Popeye. Oh, and another thing: Wimpy will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger you will give him today. Just don't tell Bluto and Olive Oyl.

Friday, July 21, 2006

No less than four (4) Dept. of Retaliation, Office of the Director-Legal attorneys, attempting to remove this Blogger

Does Victoria Bradshaw have anyone left to accomplish actual work for the Dept. of Industrial Relations, or is their remaining time spent trying to retaliate and intimidate other DLSE employees? How much money is being spent on their paychecks and legal expenses to justify these work products? You see, when you have an unlimited pot of gold, like California taxpayers paying the bill, a phrase like "fiduciary responsibility" can be confusing for this agency.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Office of the Director-Legal Unit: qualifications to get into this club or will they accept just anyone from off the street?

Office of Director-Legal Unit. Sounds important. Sounds righteous. Sounds like actual work is being done. Do they have a website highlighting their work on behalf of the People of California, or is their work top-secret and does a disservice to the taxpayers of California? Transparency is the best policy, pretards.
It's funny: the DLSE requires their subordinates to complete Daily Activity Reports. The DLSE wants to know what their employees are doing. In private practice, law firms require their attorneys to adhere to strict billing requirements. But what activity reporting requirements are a matter of policy at the Department of Retaliation's Office of Director-Legal Unit?
Is there a way to determine how many work hours Anthony Mischel used on the People's dime to keep Miles Locker unemployed and away from state service? If there are reporting activity requirements, then I'd like to know how Anthony Mischel best serves the People of California and how efficiently he uses those hours for which he is paid by the state. What about Robert Muñoz and his time on the People's dime? Which OD-Legal attorneys are designed DLSE employee disposal lawyers, and which OD-Legal attorneys are doing actual work for the Dept. of Industrial Retaliation? Informally, are the employee-disposal lawyers lower on the food chain or higher on the food chain? Is getting rid of DLSE employees the fast-track to promotions?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Was that Anthony Mischel whispering in Richard Muñoz's ear on July 11th?

A caucasion male, mid-50s, corpulent, balding, and sporting a barber-shop mustache was observed whispering into DLSE attorney Richard Muñoz's ear in a Santa Ana courtroom. Why all the cloak-n-dagger? I thought Richard could be trusted to represent the DLSE on his own? What's with the hand-holding?
Why is the DLSE using two full-time Office of the Director attorneys to justify their demand to see private and personal diaries of a DLSE employee? Is that an efficient use of taxpayer-paid state time, resources, and equipment?
It seems to be such a waste of time for such novice hand-holding. If it was Anthony Mischel, then he should have just left Richard Muñoz in Los Angeles and not wasted his day by driving to Santa Ana (unless he needed him for the carpool lane).
It's not surprising to hear that Anthony Mischel was present. After all, as the DLSE's informal employee disposal manager, it's important for him to know which tack to take. I'm surprised he's not spending every single, waking minute preparing for his upcoming legal beat-down in Sacramento on the 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. He's going to need all those minutes, and even that may not help.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"We're not going to cause injury to ourselves in an investigation...there is a practice of protecting your own."

When I read this quote in a newspaper, it would have been easy for me to think that it came from the DLSE.
It came from an anonymous LAPD officer who worked on the Rampart Task Force.
But then I thought that if the DLSE had initiated certain in-house investigations, then that quotation would explain why things don't happen and just don't get off the ground. More on that later.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Prevailing Wage (Public Works): Republican versus Democratic administrations-it's all in the debarment statistics

This afternoon, I talked to a friend and a former construction contractor. We discussed how Prevailing Wage debarments are (pretty much) non-existent in a Republican DLSE administration, and how the pendulum swings completely the other way in a Democratic DLSE administration. He then asked me my thoughts on Prevailing Wage enforcement. Mind you this quote was as a private person, not in any official capacity* (*-Barrister's luncheon disclaimer!).
If someone breaks the law, then hold the law-breaker accountable. It shouldn’t matter what political party is in office at the time of labor law enforcement.” Ideally, that’s the way it should be.
Political affiliation should play no part in enforcing the law; otherwise, Victoria Bradshaw should streamline the buracracy and just demand that her field enforcement agents inquire about the labor law violator’s political affiliation. This way, her minions can "vigorously enforce the law" upon anyone who’s not a Republican and simultaneously turn a blind eye to anyone who votes in a similar fashion that she, Jose Millan, John Rea, Vanessa Holton, Robert Jones, and Arnold Schwarzenegger vote. Her agency’s mission statement would not only be realistic, but also less obtuse. I don't think this could be a legal policy, so I don't think it should be considered. On the other hand, I don't see any real distinction between this hypothetical policy and the lack of obtaining statistically equal amounts of debarments in Republican/Democratic administrations. Maybe someone could explain "standard deviation" to the DLSE leaders and how it applies to statistics, assuming someone cared enough in the administration.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Victoria Bradshaw: Fraud, Waste, Abuse, or Just A Resume?

If Vicky Bradshaw, the Labor Workforce Development Agency Secretary, has her big-brain attorneys working on terminating DLSE employees, then what does that say about her use of the position appointed to her? How does this best serve the people of California? Let's re-cap some stuff that's happened on her watch (that means while she was in her official capacity as a state civil servant):
Yup, that's quite the resume of public service.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Labor Standards? What are those? Where are they?

This Division, owned by the larger Dept. of Industrial Relations, may have painted themselves into a corner by firing former DLSE attorney Miles Locker. If “Office of the Director” attorneys Tony Mischel or Bob Jones had to look inside a crystal ball and peer into the future, then they might see themselves on the dark side of a wrongful termination lawsuit. If their actions against Miles Locker could be construed as personal (thus outside their scope of their official position), then couldn't that make their houses, cars and other possessions up for grabs (quick put everything into the wife’s name, just in case)? Where will the testimony of Bob Jones start (as the Labor Commissioner) and when will it stop (citing attorney-client privilege as the DLSE Chief Counsel)? Important questions indeed. Hopefully some of these questions will be explored on July 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th in Sacramento. That’s how many days the DLSE has reserved with the State Personnel Board to justify their termination of one of the best attorneys working for the people of California.

It will be important to paint this agency as the agency that sets the standards for labor and employment law in the state of California. After all, this Division is called the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. If any employer in California should set the example for others to follow, should it not be this Division? Once the DLSE’s actions against Miles Locker are a matter of public record (who did what to whom and when), where will those “labor standards” be posted for all to see? Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anthony Mischel, Office of the Director: he lost this one with the Dept. of Personnel Administration

I couldn't fathom as to how much was spent (state time, state resources, etc.) to try and beat this thing, but I'm fairly certain that it also involved DLSE Regional Manager Abigael Calva, DLSE Supervisor Victor Jurado, Jeanne Lee and a few others. Tony Mischel tried so hard to win this one, but it could not be won. Had the DLSE sat down and tried to resolve it, it would not have been necessary for the state's own Dept. of Personnel Administration to make a decision. Typical in DLSE, they push towards a court date. I guess for the DLSE, it's better to fight and lose rather than resolve and settle. This helps the people of California, how?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Investigatory Meeting for July 12th and 13th cancelled

The attorney who represents the DLSE employee that was directed by the DLSE to attend the investigatory meeting scheduled for July 12th and 13th successfully argued for a temporary restraining order (injunction?), and the date to hear those arguments is set for August 3rd.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

WANTED: newspaper reporter for July 12th in Los Angeles

Would you like to report about a state agency and its possible trampling of the 1st Ammendment?
Have you ever wondered about the DLSE (potential) disciplinary process?
Would you like to see the DLSE explain why they want the personal/private diaries of one of their employees?
Did you know that the DLSE ordered this employee to ONLY redact financial and medical information in these personal diaries?
This meeting is set for July 12th and 13th in Los Angeles; 320 West 4th Street-5th Floor #5B. While this employee has been ordered to keep the contents of the investigation confidential, there has been no such requirement on the memo informing the employee of this Investigative Meeting set for July 12th & 13th.
The DLSE has intentionally kept this July 12th date, knowing that the employee's lawyer has a same-time court appearance and cannot attend this investigative meeting. Rather than extend the professional courtesies among attorneys in re-scheduling, the DLSE intends to hold this meeting without employee's counsel present (sound like a Due Process violation?).
Sound like a witch-hunt? This is not a Defcon 4 situation; the DLSE wants access to private diaries AND wants the meeting held without the employee's lawyer. I'm sure any investigative journalist would love to hear the DLSE explain why this could not have been re-scheduled and why the DLSE is demanding access to private diaries with only medical and financial information redacted.

Friday, July 07, 2006

You think that Victoria Bradshaw likes the working Californian?

Livadas v. Bradshaw: Vicky Bradshaw suffered quite the legal beat-down when the US Supreme Court handed her (and her agency) their legal posterior in a 9-0 ruling regarding some union worker trying to recover wages. Nice. How can anyone associated with this (even) try to say with a straight face that they're working to protect Californians, much less the future of California's workers? Arnold appointed her to the highest position in the Labor Workforce Development Agency, and now she's in charge of the agencies that protect California's workers until she either resigns or is removed. Wasn't it also on Victoria Bradshaw's shift that her agency wanted to do away with those pesky little things called meal and rest periods? "Let them eat cake!"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

DLSE should not be abusive in its power

State government, specifically the DLSE, shouldn't be about putting Miles Locker on paid administrative leave so they can drum up a case against him and subsequently terminate him. How chickensh*t is that? Boy, do I hope that Miles Locker will bring this huge billboard of a timeline chart where he can show the times & dates of who did what to whom. I hope he's able to establish, in his upcoming State Personnel Board appeal, what a vindictive joke this agency is.
When I say joke, I mean that the DLSE should be spending their time, resources and personnel on serving the People of California instead of wasting such time, resources, and personnel on ex-communicating employees they dislike. That, more than anything, sounds like a Fraud, Waste, and Abuse complaint that might ultimately be filed with the Bureau of State Audits. The DLSE is not a playground for vendettas. In their typical pattern of delay, delay, delay, the DLSE has already lost employees Donna Dell and Jose Millan, two figures potentially critical to Mr. Lockers' appeal. I wonder how many other DLSE staff will be gone by the time the dust settles?
What's typical in this agency is that timeliness is a foreign word to DLSE leaders unless it suits them. If it doesn't suit their interest, then they give new meaning to the phrase "foot-dragging," and then they leave the problem(s) for someone else to fix.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lose a US Supreme Court case as Labor Commissioner, get promoted to Labor Workforce Development Agency Secretary

Ya gotta envy Vicky Bradshaw and her style of climbing the State of California career ladder! She's great! Where else but state civil service can you lose a US Supreme Court case as a low-ranking California Labor Commissioner and become elevated to the Number One position as Secretary for Labor Workforce Development Agency!

If this is the kind of quality control she had as Labor Commissioner, then what fun stuff can we expect with her as the LWDA Secretary?
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant" - US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, refers to the benefits of openess and transparency. A high level of openess is an identifying characteristic of democracy. It would be nice if one of her minions could ensure that she reads this quote.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

In an agency of 200+ mediators, why can't LWDA-DIR managers mediate?

This is the joke, or rather the irony of this agency. The DLSE is directed to mediate disputes arising between employee and employer, but do you think that Victoria Bradshaw gives a rat's ass about her peeps mediating disputes between her side (management) and everyone else? Hello, Livadas? Hello, Miles Locker? Hello, Cuadra? Don't worry, Arnold: she's doing your bidding to the best of her ability.

Because they, Vicky's agency lawyers, appear to have an unlimited amount of funds (taxpayer-paid) to fight, it seems that they go out of their way to spend $400,000 on legal fees when they could have settled for $50,000. And to lose any case after spending a substantial amount of money would be a huge loss of face. If I was in charge of that, then I would want someone's ass in a sling, but then again, I balance my own checkbook. Fight and win or don't fight; but when a person is placed in a position to draft rules that violate law & policy, then (I guess) you have your lawyers argue it to death so it delays the (predicted) end result. Thus, one no longers cares about justice or winning because that's not the goal; the goal is to delay. Nice. Professional. Ethical.

Since it's not their money to fight such legal battles, why should Vicky or any of them worry about a little word like "accountability?" Where's Arnold, making sure that the People's taxes are nowhere-near associated with FRAUD, WASTE, or ABUSE? Can you imagine if Arnold told Vicky, "Look here: if you fight the termination of DLSE attorney Miles Locker and you lose, then you're fired." How seriously would she consider resolving it? Why should the Dept. of Industrial Retaliation resolve their own issues? As a general fund agency, why should they strive to save the taxpayers money? How can DLSE vomit all of Miles Locker with one side of their mouth, and tell their DLSE employees to enforce state labor standards with the other side of their mouth?
Run, Forrest, run!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Victoria Bradshaw; what a prize she is for the People of California

Before she was LWDA-Labor Workforce Development Agency Secretary (the Governor's #1 spot for LWDA), she was the California Labor Commissioner in the 90's.

Back then, she took this case all they way to the US Supreme Court. She lost in a unamimous decision, 9-0. Not one Sumpreme Court Justice agreed with her argument. 9-0. LIVADAS V. BRADSHAW. Ouch, that's gotta hurt.

That was her as Labor Commissioner; now she is way, way, way higher in the Public Service Food Chain; she's the Secretary for the Labor Workforce Development Agency. She's the one that brought back her faithful servant Jose Millan. You remember him: the illegal propaganda video. Sometimes the two are interchangeable: Livadas v. Bradshaw, Cuadra v. Millan. Sometimes it's quite confusing as to where one begins and the other ends. Unfortunately for Vicky, Jose Millan had to go bye-bye and leave us.

But I digress. There's a reason why our Governor put Vicky Bradshaw at the top of the LWDA foodchain. When someone has a US Supreme Court decision like that on their resume, it's gotta be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker. Knowing her position on unions (Livadas) and her position on statute of limitations (Cuadra), it's easy to understand why the Governor appointed her as LWDA #1. In keeping with her track record of cases won/lost, it's confusing as to why she didn't appeal the illegal propaganda video that was made. I thought she liked taking cases to the Supreme Court, only to lose them. After all, it's not like she's paying for it with her money. Who's money is she using to fight these legal battles?
In several of today's city newspapers, Governor Schwarzenegger says "We were driven by one overwhelming desire: to do what is best for the people of California." Is there any reason why Vicky Bradshaw cannot sing this same song? How was losing Livadas best for the people of California? How was firing Miles Locker best for the people of California? How was bringing back Jose Millan into state service best for the people of California? Vicky, as LWDA Secretary, are there any of your command decisions that have been what's best for the people of California?
There's this old saying, "Fish stink from the head." How true.