CALL 503.248.1134

200 SW Market Street, Suite 1900
Portland, Oregon 97201

C. Akin Blitz CONTACT       Direct: 503.721.2602 Main: 503.248.1134 ablitz@bullardlaw.com VCard PDF Profile

Practice Areas

Education

Bar Admissions

Honors & Awards

Akin Blitz loves working with people and has fulfilled that passion by representing both private and public sector employers over the past 30 years. Akin is considered one of the region’s top labor lawyers. He attributes his success to years of experience, loyalty, dedication, a strong work ethic, and “24/7” availability.

Working for public sector employers fits Akin like a glove. Before practicing law, Akin served in a number of public service positions: as a police officer, a lawyer for and commanding officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, a legislative aide in two sessions of the Oregon Legislature, a prosecutor and an Assistant Attorney General. He is drawn to public interest and Constitutional considerations that often impact client decisions.

Akin’s practice emphasizes bargaining, labor contract administration, employee relations, discipline and discharge, representation before state and federal agencies, preventive law/risk management, and policy review and implementation. In his work with associations and risk pools, he provides pre-loss legal services and defense as well as legislative testimony and consultation on matters within his spheres of expertise. He serves as legal advisor to police agencies, fire departments, and associations of public safety executives.

Akin works directly at all levels of an organization to help employers improve operations and avoid legal missteps, and in so doing has mentored many mid-level to chief executive supervisors and managers. He frequently presents seminars and training on employment and public safety-related topics, leads in-house training sessions for clients, speaks to statewide associations, and lectures at the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Command College.

Outside of the office, Akin enjoys cycling, skiing, practicing at golf, and spending time with his family. Akin one day will train another therapy dog to follow in Annie’s footsteps -- his late bearded collie who provided comfort to patients at OHSU, Providence Medical Center and elsewhere and through the Washington County Sheriff’s Canine Crisis Response Program, and who was inducted into the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association Hall of Fame.

 

 

2012

  • Leadership in Law, page 10 – Daily Journal of Commerce DJC Magazine, March 2012
  • Public Employees and Oregon's Scope of Bargaining, Labor Education and Research Center, University of Oregon – LERC Monograph Series, March 2012

2009

  • Oregon State Police Budget, Oregon State Police Officers' Association – Trooper News, May 2009

2008

  • The Akin Heart: Akin Blitz and His Dog Annie Dispense A Special Brand of Medicine – Super Lawyers 2008, November 2008
  • Tactical Communication in Crisis Incidents – Interpersonal Crisis Intervention Skills When Dealing with People in Stressful Situations, July 2008
  • The Other End of the Leash – Oregon State Bar Bulletin Profiles in Law, October 2007
  • Introduction and chapter contributions – Portland State University/Portland Community College, July 2008

2007

  • Oregon Veterinary Medical Association's Top Dogs of 2007 – October 2007
  • Annie inducted into the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame – Spot Magazine, October 2007
  • Therapy Animals: These Dogs Wear Badge of Caring – The Oregonian, June 2007
  • Public Employees and Oregon's Scope of Bargaining, Labor Education and Research Center, University of Oregon – LERC Monograph Series No. 18, June 2007
  • Favors City & Local Labor Market, League of Oregon Cities – Roseburg Interest Arbitration, May 2007
  • Arbitrator Finds Public Employers Have Implied Right To Terminate For Valid Non-Disciplinary Reasons – Bullard Alert, March 2007

1975-2004

  • Labor & Employment Law: Police Use of Force – Harassment and Hostile Work Environment, Recurring for Public Safety Supervisors (2000-2012)
  • Bountiful McKenzie – The Story of Eugene Water and Electric board – Stone, 1986
  • Erosion of Differential Immunity of Personnel Supervisors in the Public Sector – Hastings Con Law Quarterly, Summer 1981
  • Authored police policies and procedures model template and during the late 1980s and early 1990s, assisted over 30 Oregon police agencies to modernize and update policies and procedures
  • Developed personnel and governing body of policies and procedures for the Special Districts Association of Oregon and presented at multiple training seminars
  • Developed Risk and best practices focused personnel and governing body policies and procedures service to and in cooperation with the Special Districts Association of Oregon and its insurance program covering critical areas of municipal and employment and presented at multiple training seminars

2013

  • Presentation Overview – Bullard Public Sector Symposium, April 2013

2012

  • Public Employees and Oregon's Scope of Bargaining – Public Employment Relations Conference, April 2012

2011

  • Employment Law 1: Personnel Management, Bargaining, and Unions in the Current Economy – Oregon City Attorneys Association, Annual CLE Program, April 2011

2010

  • Social Media – Oregon Fire Chiefs Association Conference, May 2010
  • Compensation of Donning and Doffing Time for Peace Officers – Oregon Association Chiefs of Police/Oregon State Sheriffs' Association, April 2010

2007

  • PECBA Recent Arbitration Awards and Enforcement Thereof – Sheriffs at Oregon State Sheriffs' Association, December 2007
  • Police Corruption and Policing the Police – Portland State University Criminal Justice Classes of Adjunct Professor Ron Louie, November 2007
  • Emerging Employment and Labor Law Issues – Bullard Annual Labor and Employment Law Briefing, October 2007
  • Internal Investigations – Local Government Personnel Institute Conference, October 2007
  • Layoff Processes & Alternatives – Bullard Public Sector Symposium, April 2007

2006

  • Employment Law Enforcement Issues – Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Annual Conference, November 2006
  • Recruiting and Retaining Employees for the Public Sector Workforce of the Future; panel discussion – Bullard 6th Annual Public Sector Symposium, February 2006
  • The Employment Agreement for Public Executives – Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, Oregon City Managers Association and League of Cities of Oregon Cities Conference, January 2006

2005

  • Labor Relations and Civil Liability, Oregon State Sheriffs' Association – State Sheriffs' Command College, November 2005
  • Managing and Leading Employees of the Future – Bullard Annual Labor and Employment Law Briefing, October 2005
  • Opinions, Cases and Regulations – Oh My! - Bullard Law Summer Workshop, July 2005
  • Public Employee Healthcare Benefits – Bullard Law 5th Annual Public Sector Symposium, February 2005

1998 - 2004

  • A Panel on Perspectives: Traffic Stops, Civil Rights and You – Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Section: NE Portland Community Presentations, May 2004
  • Employer's Guide to Background Investigations – Oregon Background Investigators' Association, 2004
  • Presenting "Hiring and Retaining Good People Not Prone to Violence and School Violence as a precursor to Workplace Violence" - Bullard Workplace Violence Symposium in conjunction with FBI National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime (2002)
  • A Hidden Cost of Volunteers – Issues Related to Volunteer Liability – RIMS Annual Conference, 1998
  • Hillsboro and Hillsboro Police Employees  Association on ERB Case concerning sergeants as supervisors properly excluded from union bargaining unit.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Case (USDC Utah) consent decree requiring civil rights policy implementation, legal review and employee training designating "Akin Blitz... to review Anti-Discrimination Policy to provide whatever additional input he determines in his own judgment to provide... Blitz, or anther attorney at Bullard Law designated by Blitz shall perform the training called for by this decree."
  • Tatum v. Oregon Department of State Police (employment discrimination).
  • Conley v. City of Lincoln City (USDC OR 2004) City motion for summary judgment granted in its entirety, following an investigation and third-party report by Akin Blitz with the court relying on and quoting the Blitz report stating that "a City Manager could reasonably conclude that cause exists to terminate the employment of Chief Conley because of the disruption and dysfunctionality of the Police Department, and substantial evidence in the record which reflects the chief's behavior and lack of interpersonal skills is the root cause of that dysfunction."
  • Stomps v. City of Gresham (officer involved shooting and justification for use of force).
  • State of Oregon v. City of Junction City (pursuit tactics and vehicular liability).
  • Mark Haas v. Port of Portland (arrest and use of force).
  • Cuff v. Washington County (amicus brief for OSSA and OACP re-enforceability of arbitration award).
  • Washington County Peace Officers Assn. and Washington County (amicus contentions argued for OSSA adopted by ERB in seminal Weingarten decision and affirmed on reconsideration).
  • Dennis Beyer trilogy of grievances against Baker City Police Department (two cases of police misconduct and eventual officer dismissal).
  • Kalbasky v. City of Gresham (summary judgment granted by U.S. Dist. Ct. Judge Jones in favor of the City defeating federal civil rights claims associated with dismissal of police lieutenant).
  • Skourtes v. Jesuit High School (summary judgment , student dismissal)
  • Mather v. Jesuit High School (summary judgment in teacher dismissal case for school First Amendment religion and church/state and court jurisdiction concepts vested in the school discretion and authority not  reviewable by the judiciary.
  • Columbia County jail prisoner federal civil rights class action (innovative motion to dismiss challenging class certification granted by U.S. Dist. Ct. Judge Burns, breaking Roy Haber line of successful prisoner actions ending in consent decrees against Oregon counties).
  • Armentrout v. St. Helens Fire District (fire chief misconduct job separation; U.S. Dist. Ct. summary judgment).
  • Washington v. Eugene Water and Electric Board (employment discrimination – race, sex, age, injured worker, union activist claims defeated in federal court trial).
  • Guard Publishing Co. v. Sheriff David Burks (public records obtained for newspaper).
  • Willamette Week v. Washington Savings and Loan (public records litigation & appeal).
  • New Era Publishing v. City of Sweet Home (successful resolution of public records disclosure requests involving competing disclosure exemptions on behalf of the City).
  • Penk v. Oregon State Board of Higher Education (employment discrimination class action State Department of Justice defense team).
  • Groundbreaking interest arbitrations and seminal awards favoring local  governments involving City of Springfield (inability to pay/police); City of Eugene police and City of Walla Walla firefighters (comparability and local labor market established, invalidating Aitchison All West Coast cities approach which had prevailed in many analytically flawed rulings adverse to cities and counties based on University of Washington Professor Zerbe erroneous labor economics analysis); Winston Dillard Fire District (super seniority for paramedics critical to fire-ambulance service); City of Roseburg (comparator validity excludes large fire district employer which serves constituent cities comparable in size to Roseburg).
  • Litigated first successful interest arbitrations in Oregon compelling reductions in insurance benefit plan design and employee contributions to costs, involving City of Coos Bay and its firefighters union (1993) and Clatsop County (1995).
  • Successful outcomes in federal Fair Labor Standards Act litigation concerning police canine handlers in Klamath County, 9-1-1 dispatchers in Klamath County, corrections deputies in Klamath County, police officers in Sweet Home, employees at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and other public and private employers.
  • Creative strategy advice to clients in 1991 concerning prospective litigation and likely outcomes of the Ballot Measure 8 initiative concerning PERS contributions, the effect of which was to avoid union and employee claims and conflicts as well as ultimate retroactive liability for retirement contributions withheld in compliance with the Ballot Measure when several years after passage Ballot Measure 8 was invalidated by the Oregon Supreme Court.
  • Litigated numerous interest arbitrations involving economic and operational issues affecting public safety employers throughout Oregon and Washington.
  • Successfully mediated outcome disposing of claims in Steven Bauer v. Boy Scouts of America related to his disqualification as a Boy Scout leader and his misconduct involving youth in violation of national and local youth protection standards and rules.
  • Directed investigation and audits and contributed to successful resolutions and in many cases full restitution of hundreds of thousands of dollars in employment related embezzlement cases in situations involving a municipal court clerk, emergency physician medical group bookkeeper, travel agent, union officials, fire district finance official, and veterinary technician related results included imprisonment and government receipt of CPA liability insurance payment of policy limits.
  • Testified before the Oregon Legislature, consulted with Tri-Met and its lobbyists and assisted in meetings with numerous legislators in order to successfully resist ATU efforts to become strike prohibited and gain the rights of interest arbitration under General Manager Cowan. Advised and trained Oregon Transit Association board members and General Managers related to interest arbitration, preparation and negotiation strategies during 1990s and following the ATU subsequent success in gaining interest arbitration in 2007.
  • Advised Tri-Met concerning abolishing the Tri-Met Transit Police as an independent law enforcement unit, leading to the transition of the function to professional tri-county law enforcement agencies. Drafted West-side multi-agency transit policing agreement.
  • Developed and negotiated labor contract language preserving to the elected District Attorney unreviewable discretion in the "at will" employment of professional staff and complete discretion in the operation of the Office and delegation of work without regard to the bargaining unit. (Clallam County, Washington, and Clatsop, Umatilla, Klamath and other Oregon counties).
  • Developed model form of public executive employment agreement to effectively protect the interests of the key public sector executive, the public entity, and the public. Taught concerning its proper use to League of Oregon Cities, Special Districts Association, Oregon Fire Chiefs Assn., Oregon Assn. Chiefs of Police and others. Negotiated numerous such agreements, and litigated cases arising from inadequacies in public chief executive employment arrangements and related circumstances involving, among others, St Helens, Fire District, City of Keizer, Silver Falls Library District and Oak Lodge Sanitary District.
  • Developed high risk management consciousness among client decision-makers, forging interactive client advice calculated to insure that winning strategies are pursued and proper procedures are followed in situations likely to lead to appeal, grievance or litigation.
  • Innovation of "speed bargaining" for Hillsboro Police Department with its police Association (concept of time focused limited duration bargaining and inability to advance other than wage and insurance issues to mediation or arbitration)