California Bar Journal
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Bar workforce slips below 200
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Fewer than 200 State Bar employees began to settle into a scaled-down routine last month as a bill to fund the bar remained stalled in Sacramento.

“There’s been no change at all in the status of things since the employees were laid off,” Adelman said.

With governance a key sticking point in the governor’s office, bar leaders wrestled last month with the issue of holding an election for a new board of governors.

Supporters cited a statutory obligation to hold an election and said they were willing to fight for what they see as the principle of self-governance.

Opponents questioned the wisdom of spending time and money on an election, given the political climate in Sacramento.

Although Adelman appealed for a postponement, the board approved holding the election. It secured outside funding for printing and mailing ballots, so no general fund money will be spent.

“I wanted to wait because this may affect our ability to get a fee bill,” Adelman said. “It’s not prudent to go forward.”

Despite the uncertainty of how a future board of governors will be chosen, 11 attorneys have signed on as candidates for five open seats.

In addition, four third-year board members are running for president: Sacramento city attorney Sam Jackson; Raymond Marshall, a partner with McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen in San Francisco; Jeffrey Tidus, who holds one of the two seats representing Los Angeles; and public member Dr. Dorothy Tucker.

A new president will be elected in September.

Meanwhile, about 30 more employees were laid off, bringing the total number of authorized positions to 202. However, 18 jobs are vacant.

The bar has terminated or renegotiated a number of contracts, including service contracts and lease agreements, and executive director Steve Nissen has voluntarily reduced his salary by 25 percent for two months.

It also is attempting to renegotiate the controversial $900,000 contract with lobbyist Mel Assagai.

The Fair Political Practices Commission accused the bar last month of violating state law by initially including in the contract an illegal $75,000 incentive clause in Janu-ary 1997. The bar will not oppose the FPPC action and will pay a $2,000 fine.