EL CENTRO -- The Imperial County Deputy District Attorneys Association gave the county notice on Thursday morning that it intends to strike Tuesday.

The notice came in the form of a letter addressed to the county Human Resources Department and was prompted by what the association perceives to be the county's bad faith bargaining in contract negotiations, which recently reached an impasse.

In its letter, the association characterizes the the county of Imperial's current offer of a 2.2 percent salary increase to all of its employees' bargaining units, without exception, as untenable. 

"The ICDAA believes that this pattern bargaining is an unfair negotiating tactic, because each unit does not face the same challenges," the letter stated.

On multiple occasions, association members have advised both elected and appointed county officials of its challenges recruiting and retaining experienced prosecutors.

The reported staffing shortage in turn has resulted in increased caseloads for prosecutors, and increases the likelihood of mistakes that could potentially expose local deputy DAs to State Bar discipline, the letter stated.  

On Tuesday, two association members went before the county Board of Supervisors to express disappointment with the current impasse, and reminded county officials that at present 15 prosecutors are doing the work of 21.

On Feb. 26, the county was forced to scramble to identify qualified county personnel who could be deputized to assist with the prosecution of misdemeanor and felony cases when more than a dozen deputy DAs missed work.

The county had characterized that action as a possible unlawful strike, and vowed to take any appropriate action if prosecutors failed to return to work the following day. No such action was reportedly taken after the prosecutors showed up for work on Feb. 27.

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