The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 3, 2013
SEIU Local 1000 member demands more access to union records

Mariam Noujaim, the SEIU Local 1000 gadfly on a quest to publicize the union's staff expense records, says that her recent inspection of documents was so restricted that she is demanding another, longer look.

In a Dec. 28 letter to Paul Harris, Local 1000's chief counsel, Noujaim recounts the limits placed on her November examination of staff expense records:

During our recent audit attempt, you limited us to four (4) hours to inspect the records we were given. You also made certain that we had no skilled help to analyze what was given. We were not allowed to have a lawyer (much less a tax lawyer) or, an accountant, present (just SEIU members). Moreover, when we found something of interest, we could not make a copy or tell anyone what we found.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge signed off some limitations, such as how many people could review the records. Others conditions, however, were open to interpretation or left unspecified in court, such as the time allotted for the review.

It's not clear how Local 1000 will respond. A union spokesman cast Noujaim as a politically-conservative, anti-union self-promoter in this Nov. 26 story, but the local has since declined comment for subsequent reports.

The State Worker left a voice mail for union spokesman Jim O'Donnell Wednesday. He responded with an email asking for a copy of the letter. We sent it with three questions:

What is Local 1000's obligation to Noujaim's new requests for more details and time to examine records?

Has the local received similar requests from other members?

If so, how is the local handling those requests?

How does Local 1000 handle gadflies? What policies and procedures are in place to deal with internal criticism?

O'Donnell has not responded.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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