The California Globe received a letter stating that it is from a Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly, recently sent to all members of the California State Assembly, as well as staff members of the ‘Assembly, exposing alleged abuses and horrendous working conditions in the Legislature by the Chief Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly.
The complaint alleges that the Chief Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly Alisha Buckley and Deputy Master Sergeant Randy Arruda are abusive to the point of pushing sergeants to retire early, leave for other work, or face demotion and schedule changes with little or no notice.
The author says violations of the policy were reported to the Worker Conduct Unit (WCU) and Assembly Human Resources, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Rules Committee Chairman Ken Cooley and General Manager Debra Gravet, but nothing has changed.
“In the State Capitol, those who create the laws that the governed are bound to follow, do not themselves follow such practices,” the letter writer said.
In December 2019, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced Alisha Buckley, a member of the Sacramento Police Department for 22 years, as the new Acting Chief Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly. The election for the new Master Sergeant took place the first week of session in January 2020, and she was approved for the position.
With the complaint now public, it appears the Speaker of the Assembly should initiate a full investigation into the allegations, which includes interviews with all of the Staff Sergeants-at-Arms.
The California Capitol has been plagued by hostile working conditions in recent years. In 2018 the Joint Rules Committee Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Subcommittee announced policy changes in response to widespread accusations of sexual harassment/assault and serious sexual misconduct by elected legislators and senior executives, I have reported. Yet female employees still report the harassment, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported. reported.
The Globe contacted the Assembly Speaker’s press secretary Rendon on Saturday for a statement, but we have not heard back. We’ll update the article when we do.
Here is the letter:
August 26, 2022
All members of the Assembly
1315 10e St.
Sacramento, CA 95834
SUBJECT: Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Hostile Work Environment
Dear Members of the Assembly,
Over the past year, the service of the Sergeants-at-Arms of the Assembly has become a hostile and demoralizing place to work. In 2021, the department had about 50 employees in total. Since then, the department has shrunk to less than half that number due to the leadership of Master Sergeant Alisa Buckley and Deputy Master Sergeant Randy Arruda. The decrease in staff is due to those who chose to retire early, leave for another job opportunity or who were demoted. Those who left include five of the eight in management. Several Assembly policies have been violated and have been reported to the Worker Conduct Unit (WCU) and Assembly Human Resources. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Rules Committee Chairman Ken Cooley and Executive Director Debra Gravet had been made aware of the issues and made the decision to protect the institution instead of protecting personnel essential to the operation of the Capitol. .
Assembly policy states that training on workplace violence prevention, ethics and sexual harassment must be provided to each legislature and that staff compliance is mandatory. The ethics training course describes retaliation and willful misconduct by superiors. This has been happening in the sergeant’s department for two years.
– Demote employees
-Encourage staff to ostracize individual employees without cause or evidence
– Giving bad or fussy reviews
– Sudden changes in working hours and/or workplaces
-Bad references without cause or proof
– Poor performance feedback without cause or proof
Assembly staff communicated such occurrences to individual members in the hope that help would come. Staff have been repeatedly reminded that they are employees at will and can be terminated at any time for any reason. The constant reminder deemed a warning to all employees who discuss service issues with members will suffer the consequences. It’s a violation of Capitol ethical protocols. What’s happening in the department has risen to the level of being discussed at a Democratic caucus meeting.
As a public servant and voter in the State of California, the expectations of those who represent the entire population of the Golden State should be at the highest level. We are in 2022, the era of doing as I say but not as I do should be in the past. Unfortunately, in the State Capitol, those who create the laws that the governed are required to follow, do not follow such practices themselves. The time for change is now….
Anonymous (for fear of reprisals)