July 2013 - Issue 17

Annual Board of Directors Meeting

Celebrating Shared Success: 2013 Risk Management Awards

California JPIA 18th Annual Risk Management Forum: Scholarship and Capstone Award

Community Pitches in to Clean Up La Puente Park

Pico Rivera Intern Program Gives Students a Head Start

2013 California JPIA Liability Attorney Summit

Annual Workers’ Compensation Defense Symposium

Register Now for the Management Academy

Public Works Academy

EEOC Files Suit Against Two Employers for Use of Criminal Background Checks

Board of Directors

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Annual Board of Directors Meeting

The Annual Board of Directors meeting was held in La Palma on July 17, 2013 with a quorum of delegates in attendance, representing 72 member agencies.

Vice President Curt Morris welcomed the Board of Directors and member agency representatives. He spoke of past President Larry Van Nostran who passed away in November 2012 and his many contributions to the California JPIA.

In his speech to the Board, Morris spoke about the history of the California JPIA and the evolution of public entity risk pools and the emergence of the Authority as a leader in the pooling community. Morris talked about how the risk management goals established over thirty-five years ago continue to guide the Authority today. He also shared that the first member risk management field audits established in the late 1970s have evolved into the innovative LossCAP program in place today. The occasional training seminar of the past has now expanded to an unsurpassed training program that reached nearly 26,000 member employees last year. 

Morris shared statistics to the Directors, serving to illustrate the importance of the Authority’s continued partnership with its members:

  • Delivered training to a total of 25,971 member employees
  • Over 200 member employees attended six specialty training academies: Human Resources Academy, Leadership Academy, Management Academy, Newly Elected Officials Academy, Parks and Recreation Academy, and Public Works Academy
  • Conducted 19 risk management evaluations; delivered 28 LossCAP presentations and action plans
  • Risk Managers met and made presentations to members throughout the state pertaining to their risk management concerns including 15 city council presentations
  • Held the 17th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum in San Francisco, with 239 attendees representing 52 members including 37 elected officials and 24 executive managers

The Board of Directors unanimously elected Curtis Morris as President and John Rea as Vice President of the Executive Committee. Margaret Finlay, John Lyon, and Lori Donchak were elected as members of the Executive Committee, each serving a two-year term. 

Jonathan Shull, Chief Executive Officer, presented a review of the Authority’s strategic plan, operational overview, and current initiatives. Shull spoke about the success of the LossCAP program and the implementation of the new service delivery model for the risk management program. The service model apportioned the membership into five regions with a risk manager located in each region. Shull explained the risk manager will integrate with member staff, attend council and staff meetings, and act as a utility player that will address loss control, training, claims, and other services to members. 

He also recognized the accomplishments of the training program over the past year including the successful risk management educational forum in San Francisco. 

Shull talked about the financial integrity of the pool and the Authority’s new funding model. The funding model ensures adequate, prospective funding for losses, expenses, and reserves. 

Wrapping up his presentation, Shull shared claims trends in the liability and workers’ compensation programs.

The meeting was adjourned to July 16, 2014.

Front Row (l to r): Lori Donchak, San Clemente; Secretary Margaret Finlay, Duarte; Mary Ann Reiss, Pismo Beach;
Back Row (l to r): President Curtis Morris, San Dimas; John Addleman, Rolling Hills Estates; John Lyon, Artesia; Daryl Hofmeyer, Paramount; Vice President John Rea, Palos Verdes Estates; Dave Spence, La Canada Flintridge.

2013 Risk Management Awards

News: Worthy

Celebrating Shared Success: 2013 Risk Management Awards

This year the California JPIA recognized eight of its members for their achievements in risk management. The Authority’s Risk Management Awards program celebrates the members’ risk management successes while it highlights an important point: as a risk pooling organization, the success of each individual member’s risk management efforts benefits all members. The significant improvements in risk management that these members made came as a result of dedicated efforts, sometimes against opposition and under tight budgets. 

The winners of the 2013 Risk Management Awards for the General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Programs were recognized at the Annual Board of Directors meeting held on July 17, 2013. 

Members were divided into groups for which awards were presented. For the Liability Program the groups were Non-Municipal Members, Members without Police exposure, and Members with Police exposure. For the Workers’ Compensation Program the groups were Non-Municipal Members, Members without Public Safety exposure, and Members with Public Safety exposure. 

This award recognizes members that have demonstrated the best overall performance in each program. Authority staff evaluated both quantitative and qualitative factors that are reflective of a member’s risk management efforts. Factors included an agency’s five-year average cost of claims per $100 of payroll, its improvement in claims severity when comparing two, five-year coverage periods, and its progress toward completing LossCAP action items. 

For the Liability program, the Best Overall Performance Award winners were:

For non-municipal agencies:

  • Area B Disaster Management,
  • Black Gold Cooperative Library System,
  • West Cities Police Communications Center

For municipal agencies without police exposure:

  • City of Bellflower

For municipal agencies with police exposure:

  • City of Guadalupe

For the Workers’ Compensation program, the Best Overall Performance Award winners were:

For non-municipal agencies:

  • Southern California Association of Governments

For municipal agencies without public safety exposure:

  • City of Westlake Village

For municipal agencies with public safety exposure:

  • City of Belvedere

Sonny Santa Ines, Bellflower; President Curtis Morris; Basil Panas, SCAG

There's an app for that risk

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California JPIA 18th Annual Risk Management Forum: Scholarship and Capstone Award

Registration is open for the California JPIA's 18th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum: There’s an app for that risk, held October 8 – 11, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells. 

California JPIA Capstone Award
For the first time, the Authority is seeking to recognize an individual that best exemplifies the practice of risk management. Although this person might work at any level of a member’s organization, he or she would be someone who thinks through the implications of risk in carrying out local government programs and services. Ideally, this person:

  • Works to support traditional or enterprise risk management efforts for a member agency
  • Develops, implements, and administers loss prevention and loss control programs to mitigate agency risk exposures
  • Coordinates support systems that serve a member agency's risk management goals and needs
  • Mentors others in developing quality risk management programs

Nominees deemed most worthy of recognition will be invited to attend the Authority's Risk Management Educational Forum in October, where each finalist will be distinguished in front of his or her peers. This will be followed by awarding the California JPIA Capstone Award to the one professional who most demonstrates outstanding risk management efforts. The top nominees will receive complimentary lodging and travel reimbursement in order to attend the Forum.

If you or someone you know is similar in characteristics, please click here to complete the nominating survey. Completed surveys must be received by Thursday, July 25.

Educational Forum Scholarship Opportunity
While there is no cost for member registration for the Risk Management Educational Forum, the California JPIA is awarding a limited number of scholarships for the Educational Forum toward accommodation costs at the Hyatt Regency.

The purpose of the scholarship is to assist members who are unable to attend the Forum due to financial constraints at their agencies, with the Executive Committee authorizing them in the amount of $450 each. 

This is a competitive process, where those receiving scholarships will be deemed to be most deserving based on their stated desire to attend and their otherwise inability to attend. To be eligible to receive a scholarship, applicants must also:

  • Be an employee of a member agency of the California JPIA
  • Have supervisor or management approval to attend the Forum
  • Attend the Forum in its entirety
  • Be able to pay for any other travel related costs

Candidates are required to complete and submit the online Forum Scholarship Application. Completed online scholarship applications must be received by August 15, 2013. Chosen recipients will be notified by email on or before August 22, 2013.

La Puente Park

Re: Members

Community Pitches in to Clean Up La Puente Park

(Reprinted from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, July 20, 2013)

Residents and community members were all smiles as they spent a sunny Saturday morning at La Puente Park.

A couple of dozen people were happy to be volunteering their time in the Relay Gives Back Community Work Day to spruce up the park.

"I thought it was good to help out, and this is a cool park," said 14-year-old Brittney Wright of La Puente, who said she comes to the park regularly.

The event was a partnership with the Relay for Life of La Puente committee and event sponsor Sam's Club as a way to thank the city for the support.

"We wanted to do something to contribute to the city," said Relay for Life Chairman Jeff Lewis, and Mayor Pro Tem Violeta Lewis' husband. "We're going to try to do it annually, at least."

The volunteers consisting of relay participants, members of Sam's Club, La Puente Industry Kiwanis Club, the Sheriff's Youth Activities League and four council members helped paint faded park benches and red and blue curbs in the parking lot. They also picked up trash and some helped take down the old roof from the snack shack by the baseball fields.

A number of City Council members chose to give up their travel expenses and allocated those funds to replace the shack's roof."We wanted to keep the cost down, so we thought we would have volunteers take it down and get it ready for a (paid) contractor to re-roof it," said Mayor Charlie Klinakis. 

"It worked out perfectly with the community work day." 

The council members said they would like to plan more similar projects throughout the city to "clean the face of the city" as Councilman Vince House said, and bring the community together.

"This is the largest park in the city," said Councilman Dan Holloway. "It's the center of the community." 

Daniel Spriggs, 15 of La Puente was part of the family team called Team Emma and Jose Concar at the relay.

"It was good giving back to the community," he said.

April Hernandez added: "It's our home. We need to beautify it." 
The 40-year-old longtime La Puente resident volunteered along with 7-year-old Anna Hernandez.
Violeta Lewis said the day "went fantastic." 

"There was a good energy," she said.

Klinakis added, "You could see everyone working hard, but they were having a good time." 

Stephanie Medina, left, and her daughter Jolissa, 13, help City of La Puente Mayor Pro Tem, Violeta Lewis, right

Pico Rivera Intern Program

Re: Members

Pico Rivera Intern Program Gives Students a Head Start

(Reprinted from the Whittier Daily News, July 18, 2013)

They are some of the City's best and brightest.

And some time in the future, they may be Pico Rivera's shining stars.

But this summer, they are working on the bottom rung of the career ladder as city interns, walking around the city in bright yellow traffic vests and working on chores such as inspecting bus stop shelters, taking pictures of trash receptacles, counting and mapping newsstands.

"It's my first job, so it's a good way to learn ... whether it's painting addresses on curbs or inspecting bus shelters," said Monserrat Marquez, 17, who just graduated from El Rancho High School and will be attending Yale University in the fall.

Marquez and her partner on the inspection, Robert Sanchez, were equipped with a clipboard of papers that listed all the bus stops and the history of the inspections, which they updated.

For instance, if a previous inspection showed that there was no graffiti on the shelter, but Marquez and Sanchez found graffiti, Marquez recorded the new information on the inspection history, and Sanchez took a picture of it with a city-supplied camera.
Later, they would put the information and picture in a computer spreadsheet.

Pico Rivera's internship plan is called The Career Preparation and Opportunities Program. The interns started their jobs on July 8 and will work through Aug. 29.

Three other students also were selected as interns:

Jaquelyn Escobar who will be attending UCLA; 

Paloma Martinez who also will be attending UCLA; and

Javier Garcia who will be attending Cal State Fullerton. All are El Rancho graduates. 

"It's a very impressive group of students," said Mayor Gustavo V. Camacho.

The number of students chosen for the program varies from year to year depending on what the city can afford, he said. This year, 45 students applied for the program.
"I wish we could hire them all," Camacho said of this year's applicants.

The program emphasizes public sector work, pre-employment and college preparation workshops and mentoring, according to the city's job description.
"It's a great opportunity to learn different things such as business work such as typing up spreadsheets and just getting to know the surrounding area," Sanchez said.

"There's lots of things I didn't know we have in the city," he said.

The city's meat packing plant is at the top of his list.

Sanchez just graduated from La Serna High School and plans to major in political science at Cal State Fullerton in the fall.

Camacho said the city is attempting to expand the program to include paid and nonpaid interns.

"Interning at our local government for any student who is going to college really exposes them to a whole different world before they get into college."

Interns Monserrat Marquez, right , a former El Rancho graduate along with Robert Sanchez, a La Serna graduate, after inspecting a bus stop at the corner of Passons Blvd. and Jackson Street as part of the Pico Rivera college prep program on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 in Pico Rivera

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2013 California JPIA Liability Attorney Summit

by Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager

Once a year the Authority holds a one-day summit in which members of the Authority’s defense counsel panel for the liability program and the claims team from Carl Warren and Company meet to network and talk about recent case law affecting public entities. This year’s Liability Attorney Summit will be held on August 13, 2013, at the Authority campus.

The Summit provides an opportunity for the defense counsel panel to share individual experiences and discuss legal trends and liability claim strategies with other panel attorneys. In doing so, the defense counsel panel is able to provide the Members with the most informed defenses on liability cases. 

This year’s Summit will address critical issues including: the current status of Medicare set asides in settlements, computation of damages, employment liability, and the use of public relations firms in high-profile litigation. 

The Summit will serve to bolster the knowledge and commitment of the defense counsel panel to the California JPIA and your agencies. 

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Annual Workers’ Compensation Defense Symposium

by Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager

The California JPIA is pleased to announce that its fifth annual Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney Symposium will be taking place on Thursday, August 22 at the Authority campus in La Palma. The day will provide an opportunity for Members to meet with the Authority’s panel attorneys, learn of planned new services offered by the Authority, ways that social media is affecting claim investigations, and hear a panel discussion on how recent workers' compensation reform is impacting the system. 

Opioid misuse and abuse is a huge problem in the workers’ compensation field, contributing to an increase in deaths and medical costs. Mark Pew, senior vice president of business development for PRIUM (a medical cost management company), will open the Symposium with a presentation on the issues associated with opioid medications. 

James Brady of Ringler Associates will be joined by Jessica Smythe of Crowe Paradis in presenting a discussion on best practices for controlling costs through structured settlements. The group will then hear from Jason Schmelzer, one of the state’s foremost workers’ compensation lobbyists, with an update on new legislative and regulatory changes to the workers’ compensation system

Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager with the California JPIA, will provide an update on the Authority’s Root Cause Program. Bob Nagel from RJN Investigations will share some insights on the impact of social media on workers’ compensation investigations. 

The Symposium wraps-up with a panel of workers’ compensation defense attorneys featuring Elizabeth Gonia, Catherine Casper, and Todd Sheehan. The panelists will provide their thoughts on how the system is changing with the implementation of last year’s landmark workers’ compensation reform, SB 863.

The Symposium will begin at 10:00 a.m. and concludes at 2:00 p.m. Lunch will be served. Registration is available via the Authority's Resource Center by clicking here. The deadline to register for this training will be August 8. Note the access to the Authority's Resource Center requires a username and password.

If you have questions about the Symposium, please contact Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager at jrush@cjpia.org or (562) 467-8707.

We hope to see you on August 22!

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Register Now for the Management Academy

by Catherine Sloan, Senior Training Specialist

Motivated, hard-working employees endeavor to take on more responsibility and leadership as they advance in their careers, but how ready are most people for a management role? 

According to a 2011 survey of employers and workers by CareerBuilder, many employees are not adequately prepared. Approximately one-fourth of managers surveyed said they were not ready to become a leader at the time they started managing employees, and over half said they did not undergo any kind of management training. The California JPIA’s Management Academy addresses these deficiencies by providing tools and resources that are most relevant to the changing needs of public sector management and the opportunity to develop a comprehensive set of competencies to be a successful manager.

First presented in 2002, the Management Academy provides entry-level managers and supervisors with unique approaches to help improve their performance, motivation, and commitment in an ever more complex and regulated employment environment. Participants assess their role as a manager or supervisor; analyze decision-making processes appropriate for public sector manager; discuss techniques to provide orientation, training, and delegation; and survey elements of effective performance appraisals. 

Attendees will explore their role as a supervisor and begin to understand how values and ethics impact decisions. Using the Job-Person-Environment Assessment™ tool, attendees will have the opportunity to explore their perceptions about the behavioral requirements of their jobs. Job-Person-Environment Assessment™ tool measures the fit between the person, the job they perform, and the environment in which they work. 

As a first-time attendee at last year’s Academy, Paul Christman, Building Official with the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, said “This should be provided to all government employees.” Tony Brandyberry, Public Works Superintendent with the City of Los Alamitos, raved “The Job Person Environment Assessment™ was very informative—it was interesting to learn about my management style,” 

This three-day Academy will be held September 9 - 11, 2013 at The Saguaro hotel in Palm Springs. Space is limited to 30 participants. Sensitive to budget constraints, the Authority’s Executive Committee has underwritten a significant portion of the registration costs of the Academy. Registration is available via the Authority's Resource Center by clicking here. Note the access to the Authority's Resource Center requires a username and password.
Click here for the Academy agenda. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Catherine Sloan, Senior Training Specialist, at (562) 467-8725 or csloan@cjpia.org.

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Public Works Academy

by Catherine Sloan, Senior Training Specialist

The California JPIA’s Public Works Academy: Navigating the Road Ahead was held June 11 - 13, 2013 in Huntington Beach. Geared for newly promoted public works supervisors and managers as well as those interested in rising through the public works ranks in the future, the Academy emphasized both effective supervision and risk management skills. Sixty-eight participants representing twenty-six agencies attended the specialized academy.

The first track of the Public Works Academy, Contracts Administration, was presented by Bob May, Risk Management Program Manager with the California JPIA. Bob reviewed the Authority’s recently revised Contracts Manual with the group. Additionally, participants learned how to identify exposures, require proper insurance limits, and adequately enforce contracts. 

The second track So Now You’re A Supervisor, was facilitated by Dr. Steven Albrecht. Steve’s interactive session focused on hands-on role playing scenarios relating to personality problems, issues in the workplace, and the role of a public works supervisor.

Attorney Scott Grossberg concluded the Academy with his presentation: Liability, Litigation and Risk Management. In his session Scott talked about the importance of documentation and record retention, and litigation defenses—how to keep them and how to lose them.

Click here for interviews and comments from some of the Academy participants. 

More information about the academies and training workshops offered by the California JPIA can be found at the Resource Center.

Legal Matters

EEOC Files Suit Against Two Employers for Use of Criminal Background Checks

(Reprinted from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, June 11, 2013)

BMW Fired and Denied Hire to Class of Employees Who Worked Successfully for Years; Dollar General Disproportionately Excluded African Americans From Hire

A BMW manufacturing facility in South Carolina, and the largest small-box discount retailer in the United States violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by implementing and utilizing a criminal background policy that resulted in employees being fired and others being screened out for employment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged in two lawsuits filed today. 

The EEOC's Charlotte district office filed suit in U.S. District Court of South Carolina, Spartanburg Division against BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC, and a separate suit was filed in Chicago against Dolgencorp, doing business as Dollar General. 

In the suit against BMW, the EEOC alleges that BMW disproportionately screened out African Americans from jobs, and that the policy is not job related and consistent with business necessity. The claimants were employees of UTi Integrated Logistics, Inc. ("UTi"), which provided logistic services to BMW at the South Carolina facility. The logistics services included warehouse and distribution assistance, transportation services and manufacturing support. 

Since 1994, BMW has had a criminal conviction policy that denies facility access to BMW employees and employees of contractors with certain criminal convictions. However, when UTi assigned the claimants to work at the BMW facility, UTi screened the employees according to UTi's criminal conviction policy. UTi's criminal background check limited review to convictions within the prior seven years. BMW's policy has no time limit with regard to convictions. The policy is a blanket exclusion without any individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of the crimes, the ages of the convictions, or the nature of the claimants' respective positions. 

In 2008, UTi ended its contract with BMW. During a transitional period, UTi employees were informed of the need to re-apply with the new contractor to retain their positions in the BMW warehouse. As part of the application process, BMW directed the new contractor to perform new criminal background checks on every current UTi employee applying for transition of employment. The new contractor subsequently discovered that several UTi employees had criminal convictions in violation of BMW's criminal conviction policy. As a result, those employees were told that they no longer met the criteria for working at the BMW facility and were subsequently terminated and denied rehire as employees of the new contractor, despite the fact that many of the employees had worked at the BMW facility for years. 

In Illinois, the Chicago office of the EEOC filed a nationwide lawsuit based on discrimination charges filed by two rejected black applicants. That lawsuit charges that Dollar General conditions all of its job offers on criminal background checks, which results in a disparate impact against blacks. Dollar General operates 10,000 stores in 40 states, plus 11 distribution centers. Ninety percent of all Dollar General employees are store clerks who are both stockers and cashiers at the stores. 

According to the EEOC, one of the applicants who had filed a charge with EEOC was given a conditional employment offer, although she had disclosed a six-year-old conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Her application also showed that she had previously worked for another discount retailer as a cashier-stocker for four years. Nevertheless, her job offer was allegedly revoked because Dollar General's practice was to use her type of conviction as a disqualification factor for 10 years.

The other applicant who filed an EEOC charge was fired by Dollar General although, according to the EEOC, the conviction records check report about her was wrong - she did not have the felony conviction attributed to her. The EEOC said that although she advised the Dollar General store manager of the mistake in the report, the company did not reverse its decision and her firing stood.

"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees on account of their race," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. "Since issuing its first written policy guidance in the 1980s regarding the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions, the EEOC has advised employers that under certain circumstances, their use of that information to deny employment opportunities could be at odds with Title VII."

"The Commission is committed to using public education and informal resolution to address discriminatory hiring practices," said David Lopez, EEOC General Counsel. "When these methods are unsuccessful, the Commission will, if necessary, seek redress from the federal courts and ensure equal opportunity for all. This is the latest in a series of systemic cases the Commission has filed to challenge unlawful hiring practices."

Both lawsuits were brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and national origin as well as retaliation. The EEOC will assert claims of disparate impact, in both cases, against African Americans. The EEOC filed suit in each instance after attempting to resolve the matter through settlement. In all, the Commission will seek back pay, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination of employees and applicants. 

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP)

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC issued updated enforcement guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records. The EEOC is a member of the federal interagency Reentry Council, a Cabinet-level interagency group convened to examine all aspects of reentry of individuals with criminal records. Among other issues, the Reentry Council is working to reduce barriers to employment, so that people with past criminal involvement - after they have been held accountable and paid their dues - can compete for appropriate work opportunities in order to support themselves and their families, pay their taxes, and contribute to the economy. 

The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC is available on its website, www.eeoc.gov.