Governor Brown has re-appointed Eric Banks to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). (Click here for the news release) The Governor has also appointed Mark Gregersen to fill the final seat on the five-member PERB. In addition, the Governor appointed Felix De La Torre as PERB’s new General Counsel. Here are the bios of the appointees from the Governor’s new release:
Eric Banks, 43, of San Diego, has been reappointed to the California Public Employment Relations Board, where he has served since 2013. Banks was a partner at Ten Page Memo LLC in 2013 and held several positions at the Service Employees International Union, Local 221 from 2001 to 2013, including advisor, president and director of government and community relations. Banks was policy associate for state government affairs at the New York AIDS Coalition from 2000 to 2001 and held several positions at the Southern Tier AIDS Program from 1993 to 2000, including director of client services, assistant director of client services and case manager. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $134,591. Banks is a Democrat.
Mark Gregersen, 61, of Auburn, has been appointed to the California Public Employment Relations Board. Gregersen has been principal consultant at Renne, Sloan, Holtzman, Sakai LLP since 2013, where he was senior consultant from 2009 to 2011. He served as director of labor and workforce strategy for the City of Sacramento from 2011 to 2012 and was director of human resources for Napa County from 2005 to 2009, for El Dorado County from 2004 to 2005 and for the City of Sunnyvale from 2001 to 2004. Gregersen was assistant county manager for Washoe County, Nevada from 1999 to 2001, director of human resources for the City of Vallejo from 1990 to 1999, director of personnel and labor relations for the City of Reno, Nevada from 1985 to 1990, director of personnel for the City of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin from 1979 to 1985 and personnel manager and personnel analyst for the State of Wisconsin from 1976 to 1979. Gregersen earned a Master of Business Administration degree in human resources/labor relations from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $134,591. Gregersen is a Democrat.
Felix De La Torre, 50, of Sacramento, has been appointed general counsel at the California Public Employment Relations Board. De La Torre has been chief counsel at the Service Employees International Union, Local 1000 since 2012, where he was an attorney from 2008 to 2012. He was a shareholder and partner at Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld from 2000 to 2008, director of the pesticide and worker safety program at the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation Inc. from 1999 to 2000, state policy analyst for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1994 to 1996 and a field representative for California State Assemblymember Rusty Areias from 1992 to 1994. De La Torre earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $144,144. De La Torre is a Democrat.
- Board Member Banks’ re-appointment was widely expected. Mr. Banks was appointed to PERB by Governor Brown in February 2013. The position he filled had less than two years remaining of the normal five-year term. So it was widely expected that Governor Brown would re-appoint Mr. Banks when his term expired.
- The Governor’s appointment of Mark Gregersen is also welcome as he will be the only member of PERB with a management-side background. (Full disclosure: Mark currently works at my firm so I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time). That said, I do expect that once he takes his oath of office, he will fulfill his duty to fairly administer the collective bargaining statutes under PERB’s jurisdiction. I don’t expect Board Member Gregersen to automatically take the “management” side in a case; just as those Board members with a labor background should not automatically take the “union” side in a case. Nevertheless, I think Board Member Gregersen’s appointment is important because he can provide a perspective that the current Board members may not have.
- Finally, I’m excited by the appointment of Felix De La Torre as PERB’s new General Counsel. I’ve known Felix for many years and can say that he is one of the best labor attorneys in California. He was always a fierce advocate for his clients, both when he was at the Weinberg firm and also at SEIU. But he was always approachable and easy to talk to – traits that will serve him well at PERB.