The California Globe is in receipt of a letter stating it is from an Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms, recently sent to all members of the California State Assembly, as well as Assembly staffers, revealing alleged abuse and horrible work conditions in the legislature by the Assembly Chief Sergeant-at-Arms.
The complaint alleges that Assembly Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Alisa Buckley and Deputy Chief Sergeant Randy Arruda are abusive to the point of pushing Sergeants to retire early, leave for another job, or suffer demotion and schedule changes with little or no notice.
The writer says the policy violations were reported to the Workers Conduct Unit (WCU) and Assembly Human Resources, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Chair of Rules Committee Ken Cooley, and Chief Administrative Officer Debra Gravert, but nothing changed.
“At the State Capitol, those who create the laws that the governed are required to follow, do not follow such practices themselves,” the letter writer says.
In December 2019, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced Alisa Buckley, a member of the Sacramento Police Department for 22 years, as the Assembly’s new Acting Chief Sergeant-at-Arms. The election for the new Chief Sergeant was held the first week of session in January 2020, and she was approved for the job.
With the complaint now being public, it appears the Assembly Speaker needs to initiate a thorough investigation into the allegations, which includes interviewing all staff Sergeants-at-Arms.
The California Capitol has been plagued with hostile working conditions in recent years. In 2018 the Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response announced policy changes in response to widespread accusations of sexual harassment/assault and gross sexual misconduct by elected legislators and senior staff, I reported. Yet female employees still report harassment, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported.
The Globe contacted Assembly Speaker Rendon’s press secretary Saturday for a statement but we have not heard back. We will update the article when we do.
Here is the letter:
August 26, 2022
1315 10th St.
Sacramento, CA 95834
RE: Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Hostile Work Environment
Over the course of the last year, the Assembly’s Sergeant-at-Arms Department has become a hostile and demoralizing place of employment. In 2021, the department had around 50 total employees. Since then, the department has diminished to less than half that number due to the leadership of Chief Sergeant Alisa Buckley and Deputy Chief Sergeant Randy Arruda. Diminishing staff is due to those who have chosen to retire early, leave for another job opportunity, or were demoted. Those who left includes five of the eight in management. Several Assembly policies have been violated and were reported to the Workers Conduct Unit (WCU) and Assembly Human Resources. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Chair of Rules Committee Ken Cooley, and Chief Administrative Officer Debra Gravert had been informed of such matters and made the decision to protect the institution instead of protecting staff vital to the functioning of the Capitol.
Assembly policy states that training in Workplace Violence Prevention, Ethics, and Sexual Harassment be conducted each legislative term and that staff compliance is mandatory. The Ethics training course describes retaliation and purposeful misconduct by superiors. This has been occurring in the Sergeant’s Department for two years.
-Demoting the employees
-Encouraging staff to ostracize individual employees without cause or evidence
-Giving poor reviews or nit-picking
-Sudden changes in work schedules and/or work locations
-Poor references without cause or evidence
-Poor performance feedback without cause or evidence
Assembly staff communicated such occurrences to individual members in the hopes that help would come. Staff has been repeatedly reminded that they are at-will employees and could be let go at any time for any reason. The constant reminding has considered is a warning to any employees that discuss department matters to members will experience consequences. This is a violation of the ethic protocols in the Capitol. What is occurring in the department has reached the level of being discussed in a Democratic Caucus meeting.
As a public servant and a constituent of the state of California, expectations of those who represent the entire population of the Golden State should be at the highest level. This is 2022, the era of do as I say but not as I do should be in the past. Unfortunately, at 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 Retaliation)
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