Some believe change at the helm of the Alameda County District Attorney’s office could be coming in the next few years. And Alameda County prosecutors, the only group of public-sector attorneys not represented by a union, made a move Tuesday intended to dampen some of their potential job insecurity.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to recognize the unionization of the Alameda County Prosecutors’ Association on Tuesday.
Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Jill Nerone told the board the move to form a union was made, in part, to avoid job uncertainty that could arise from the future politicization of the district attorney’s seat.
Unlike other attorneys under union representation at the county-level, the district attorney’s office is the only one led by an elected official. “We serve at the whim of whoever earns that seat,” Nerone said.
The upstart campaign of Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price last year put a scare into incumbent Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. The campaign also initiated quite a bit of concern among county prosecutors over whether their potential new boss would retain their services. Price, a staunch progressive and police reformer, was clear that, if elected, she intended to clear the DA’s office of O’Malley loyalists.
Price’s candidacy was financially supported, through a political action committee, by billionaire progressive activist George Soros. The PAC opposed O’Malley’s re-election, along with several other DAs across the country last year. The effort was to replace incumbents with candidates they believed were more progressive.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley acknowledged Soros in his comments Tuesday morning. “I know George Soros is targeting DAs all over the country, in some cases, unwarranted and unnecessarily, as he did in this county. So I understand why you want to unionize,” he told Nerone.
In the end, Price’s campaign made a strong showing, but ultimately lost the November 2018 election by 20 percentage points.
Meanwhile, rumors have persisted for months that Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta is quietly laying the groundwork for a run at O’Malley’s seat in 2022. Bonta is termed out of the assembly in 2024.