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Gascon faces lawsuit from deputy district attorney union

George Gascon, currently in search of an experienced person in trauma conflict resolution

The union representing Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys has filed a legal action to prevent what they maintain is the hiring of unqualified people—including some from the Public Defender’s Office—by District Attorney George Gascon to fill open positions for which veteran prosecutors are more qualified.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys(ADDA) brought the petition this week in Los Angeles Superior Court against Gascon and the District Attorney’s Office, asking a judge to order the defendants to refrain from hiring public defenders or other candidates deemed unqualified under Civil Service rules for the deputy district attorney grade positions of two through five.

The union also asks that Gascon and his office not take any actions to invalidate any candidate eligibility lists while the current petition is pending and while appeals are being heard to contest Gascon’s hiring earlier this year of former longtime Deputy Public Defenders Alisa Blair, Tiffiny Blacknell and Shelan Joseph.

Blacknell and Joseph were hired for grade four positions and Blair to a grade three slot although none took and passed competitive exams as required by Civil Service rules and the County Charter, the petition states.

“In hiring Blair, Blacknell and Joseph, Gascon violated numerous Civil Service rules which implement the County Charter’s mandate of merit system of employment, designed to create a productive, efficient, stable and representative county workforce that is free of political patronage, influence or reward,” the petition states.

The ADDA has filed about 11 appeals with the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission on behalf of its members who were on valid promotion eligibility lists and who were passed over for promotions for which they were qualified by Gascon’s “unlawful appointment of the unqualified Blair, Blacknell and Joseph to those positions,” the petition states.

The union believes that Gascon intends to appoint additional deputy public defenders and members of the Alternate Public Defender’s office to positions in the next few weeks and one of the deputy public defenders Gascon intends to name to a grade three position financially contributed to his election campaign, the petition states.