HISTORY OF THE DDAA
Edwin L. Miller, Jr.
District Attorney: 1971-1995
SAN DIEGO DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION
In 1970, San Diego County District Attorney James Don Keller retired after 24 years as District Attorney. Chief Deputy District Attorney Bob Thomas ran against United States Attorney Edwin L. Miller, Jr. in the November elction. Mr. Miller won the election, and was sworn in in January 1971. There was no formal deputy district attorney association of any sort at that time – “Hail and Farewell” get-togethers were arranged by DDA Frank Costa and possibly one or two other deputies. Salary negotiations were carried on by the San Diego County Employees Association (SDCEA), who represented all county employees at that time.
By the time Mr. Miller took office, the office had grown to over 90 lawyers. The DDA IV class had grown substantially from the two positions authorized, and the new DDA V class had been formed in August 1970 (with five original members). A number of deputies felt it was time for a more formal organization to be established. An election was held for the newly-formed Deputy District Attorneys Association, and DDA Charles Patrick was named as president; DDA Chuck Wickersham was elected vice-president; and DDA Ralph Fear as secretary-treasurer. An installation banquet was held around June of 1971 at the Hanalei Hotel in Mission Valley with Mr. Miller swearing in the officers of the DDAA. A successor slate of DDAA officers was elected in 1972: U.S. District Court Judge (former DDA) Thomas Whelan was elected president, DDA Frank Sexton as vice-president, and Judge (former DDA) Morgan Lester as secretary-treasurer.
By-laws of the DDAA were adopted in August 1971. Later, the bylaws were amended to create an expanded board, which included five at-large directors, a separate secretary and treasurer, and also the immediate past president. Another revision of the bylaws went into effect in March 1980.
By 1976, the deputy district attorneys were unhappy with representation by the SDCEA. For one, they had split up the DDAs – DDA’s I through IV were lumped into the “professional” unit with many other classifications who were obviously not professional, and the V’s had been placed in the “mid-management” unit (where they had little community of interest with other members). This created situations where different offers were being made to the different classes of deputies, both as to salaries and fringe benefits.
A two-step campaign took place to remedy this. First, in January 1976, the DDAA petitioned the SDCEA to move the V’s from the Mid-management Unit to the Professional Unit. The County Personnel Department countered with a petition to move the IV’s into mid-management. The Employee Relations Panel eventually granted our petition, and denied that of the Personnel Department.
In September 1978, the DDAA filed a petition to be allowed to form its own separate bargaining unit. Both SDCEA and the County Personnel Department opposed this. The Employee Relations Panel had ceased to function at this time, so the three parties jointly agreed on an arbitrator to hear and decide the case. Our then-president, DDA Robert Rounds did all the research, and Charles Patrick presented the case before the arbitrator, which was heard in March 1979. The DDAA won the case. An election then occurred, conducted by the State of California, to choose representation between the DDAA, SDCEA, or no representation. The DDAA prevailed.
1980 – 1990
1990 – 2000
Paul J. Pfingst
District Attorney: 1995-2003
2000 – 2010
Bonnie M. Dumanis
District Attorney: 2003-Present
2010 – 2020