Issue 117 - November 2021
With gratitude for more than 17 years of service to the Authority and its members, Assistant Executive Officer Norm Lefmann has announced his retirement, effective December 31, 2021.
“I have been very fortunate to be able to work with the California JPIA,” said Lefmann. “What’s been most satisfying to me is the professional and personal relationships I’ve developed with our staff and our member organizations. It’s been tremendously rewarding for me to collaborate with people who have passion for achieving their absolute best.”
A well-respected presence both internally and externally, Lefmann also served as the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities’ vice president and chair of its legislative committee.
“As a leader of not only the California JPIA but also the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull, “Norm is a highly respected professional who has made a lasting impact on the risk pooling community with his sincere commitment to education, advocacy, and assistance.”
Lefmann, who joined the California JPIA in March 2004 as a senior risk manager, also served as member services director before his promotion as assistant executive officer in 2006. Overseeing member-facing programs, he has been responsible for the Authority’s claims management functions, risk management and training programs, technology initiatives, and social media presence. Under his leadership, the Authority expanded its member programs and services, including ADA assistance, sidewalk inspection and maintenance, and the Loss Control Action Plan (LossCAP) Program.
“In the nearly 18 years since I first started working for the Authority,” he said, “we have matured tremendously, not only in our coverage programs but also in our holistic approach to helping members. We have also invested in our culture, which has made our organizational fabric extremely strong.”
“Norm has been an essential element in crafting the culture of our organization and contributing to its success,” said Shull. “His institutional knowledge and industry experience have set us apart from our peers in the self-insurance pooling community, making our pool more effective, more efficient, and better able to provide excellent service to our members.”
An executive with over 20 years of experience visualizing, developing, and organizing effective organizational strategies, implementing innovative service delivery models, investing in relationships, and creating dynamic workplace cultures, Lefmann joined the Authority from the City of Burbank where he was an administrative officer. In Burbank, he initiated decentralized accountability for managing the police budget by pushing real-time information and redefining roles in expending authorized funding. At the same time, he served as an adjunct professor at California State University, Long Beach, teaching public budgeting to students in the Graduate Center for Public Policy & Administration.
Lefmann holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy, local government, and privatization from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he studied state and local finance, as well as public finance, organizational behavior, and economics.
Lefmann and his wife, Sheryl, former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Duarte Chamber of Commerce, have relocated to South Carolina.
“We certainly look forward to spending more time with family,” he said. “Being invested in their lives is a big priority for us.”
“Norm will be greatly missed for his intelligence and insight into risk management for our cities and the state,” said Executive Committee President and Duarte Councilmember Margaret Finlay. “Personally, I will miss Norm, as he and his wife, Sheryl, were residents of my city. Best of luck to the Lefmanns in their retirement.”
Thank you for your service to the Authority and its members, Norm, and best wishes on your retirement.Print Article
The California JPIA has announced that the 2022 training academies will return to an in-person format at a hotel setting. Registration for the academies will remain a request-based process with an email announcement to members indicating that registration requests can be submitted.
The Authority canceled most of its in-person academies in 2020 due to the pandemic. Academies were resumed in 2021, as the Authority worked with speakers and staff to create virtual/online academies. A total of 219 attendees attended the seven different academies. The Authority utilized a studio on its La Palma campus where these virtual academies were broadcast live.
Following is information on the 2022 academies.
The Risk Management Academy, geared toward an agency’s risk management contact, will be held January 18–20 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. Requests for registration have already begun and will close on December 3, 2021.
The Parks and Recreation Academy, geared toward managers and supervisors of an agency’s parks and recreation department, is scheduled for February 8–10 at the Hyatt Regency, Indian Wells.
Held biennially, the Leadership Academy is scheduled for March 15–17 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego. This academy is best attended by department heads, managers, and supervisors.
Specific to human resources professionals, the Human Resources Academy will be held at the Allegretto Resort in Paso Robles from April 19 to 21.
The newest Authority academy, the Governance Leadership Academy, which was held in 2021 for the first time, has been scheduled for May 2–4 at Hotel Paseo in Palm Desert. This academy was created for local agency officials who have been in office for more than two years.
Another academy for agency officials is the Newly Elected Officials Academy, geared towards local agency officials who have been in office for two years or less and first seated between September 2020 through April 2022. This academy will be held in June with the date and location to be determined.
The annual Public Works Academy is scheduled for June 21–23 at the Allegretto Resort, Paso Robles. All managers and supervisors in public works departments are welcome to request a registration once available.
The last academy of the year, the Management Academy, geared towards new managers and supervisors, will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells from September 20 to 22.
For more information on the Authority’s training academies, please contact Training Coordinator Michelle Aguayo by email or at (562) 467-8777.Print Article
This October at the 26th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum, six members received Risk Management Awards for demonstrating superior risk management practices.
“With these awards,” said Management Analyst Abe Han, “the Authority not only celebrates member successes but also highlights how individual agencies’ risk management efforts benefit the entirety of the pool.”
The Authority’s Risk Management Awards recognize members that have demonstrated the best overall performance in each of two programs: the Primary Liability Program and the Primary Workers’ Compensation Program.
The winners were:
Primary Liability Program
- City of Port Hueneme (Municipal Agencies with Police Exposure)
- City of Laguna Niguel (Municipal Agencies without Police Exposure)
- Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (Non-Municipal Agencies)
Primary Workers’ Compensation Program
- City of Pismo Beach (Municipal Agencies with Public Safety Exposure)
- City of Westlake Village (Municipal Agencies without Public Safety Exposure)
- Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Non-Municipal Agencies)
California JPIA staff evaluated both quantitative and qualitative factors related to member agencies’ risk management efforts, including average cost of claims as related to payroll, improvement in claims severity over designated coverage periods, progress toward completing Loss Control Action Plan items, Agency Exemplar ratings, and training and event participation.
“The selection process is rather technical in nature,” said Han. “In that regard, award winners are determined not by singular achievements and activities but by excellence and initiative in overall risk management.”
The awards were presented during the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors on October 7 in San Diego.Print Article
Carl Warren & Company has provided third-party liability claims administration since the inception of the Authority in 1978. To ensure a high level of service, the California JPIA conducts an independent audit of its third-party administrator (TPA) annually. For the past nine years, the Authority has engaged Independent Consulting and Risk Management Services (ICRMS) to evaluate the proficiency of the liability claims handlers and provide an evaluation of the liability program as a whole.
ICRMS President Mark Nestor has extensive experience with over 30 years in the development, daily management, and operation of liability and workers’ compensation programs. Mark has worked with six public entity pools with annual premiums of over $100 million.
While skilled ICRMS claims evaluators review liability claim files, Nestor meets with the TPA account manager, key TPA staff, and the Authority’s liability program manager to put his finger on the pulse of the program’s health and discern where areas of improvement exist. At the conclusion of the weeklong audit, ICRMS provides a detailed analysis of the TPA’s claims handling proficiency and recommendations for improvement to the program, which are tracked year to year.
As it relates to the claim file portion of the audit, a thorough analysis is done on coverage evaluation, investigation, damages evaluation, litigation management, resolution, documentation, supervision, reporting, and reserving. In addition, each file handler is scored, and their cumulative scores are then tracked on a yearly “roll up” to monitor their historical performance. The Authority is pleased to report that Carl Warren & Company posted an overall score of 96.6% for 2021. Carl Warren has consistently scored in the high 90s for the past decade. In addition, ICRMS continues to be very complimentary of the municipal claims handling proficiency exhibited by Carl Warren & Company.
The Authority invites members to share their feedback regarding its liability claims administration efforts at any time by contacting Liability Program Manager Paul Zeglovitch.Print Article
Each year, the Authority measures the claims handling performance of its workers’ compensation third-party administrator, Sedgwick, against performance standards set by the Authority with the assistance of its auditor.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Authority contracted with Jim Bankson to conduct the annual audit of its workers’ compensation program. Bankson is the president and founder of Northern Claims Management LLC, based in Santa Rosa, California. He has worked extensively with public agency clients. He has a comprehensive understanding of California’s complex workers’ compensation environment.
Bankson conducted the audit of the Sedgwick team by reviewing a random selection of 150 claims, including indemnity, future medical, and medical-only claims. The audit focused on key performance indicators established by the Authority, compliance with California’s statutory requirements, and industry best practices.
Bankson presented his findings to the Authority’s Executive Committee at its meeting on October 27, 2021. Bankson reported Sedgwick’s score of 90.96%, an increase over last year’s 90.45% score. This score is even more impressive considering the significant influx of COVID-19 claims the Sedgwick team handled during the audit period.
Some of this year’s highlights include the following:
|Key Performance Indicator||Rating|
|Compensability Determination||100% up from 82%|
|Timely Notice of Delay||100% up from 80%|
|Permanent Disability Reserves||91% up from 78%|
|Excess Insurance||100% up from 60%|
This marks the twelfth consecutive year the Authority’s dedicated team at Sedgwick has scored 90% or higher on the annual audit. Members are invited to share their feedback regarding the Authority’s workers’ compensation claims administration efforts at any time by contacting Workers’ Compensation Program Manager Jeff Rush.Print Article
On October 5, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 654 (AB 654), which revises and clarifies employers’ COVID-19 workplace exposure notice and reporting requirements that AB 685 originally established last year. AB 654 is an urgency statute, so it takes effect immediately upon signing.
As previously reported, AB 685 established the COVID-19 notification framework employers have become familiar with, that is when an employer receives notice of a potential COVID-19 exposure, the employer must, within one business day, provide certain employees with written notice of three things: (1) the potential exposure, (2) information on COVID-19-related benefits, and (3) information on the disinfection and safety plans that the employer plans to implement.
You may recall that some inconsistencies were within AB 685, specifically the terminology used to describe to whom notices would be given. For example, when it came to providing notice of potential exposure, employers were required to give the notice to all employees and employers of subcontracted employees “who were on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infection period,” but, for the information on COVID-19-related benefits, the law required employers to provide notice to “all employees who may have been exposed.” For information on disinfection and safety, the law was even broader, requiring notice to “all employees and the employer of subcontracted workers.” These different phrases suggested employers had to potentially send different information to different groups of employees.
The newest measure, AB 654, cleans up this language and makes it more consistent. Specifically, regarding the obligations to provide information on COVID-19-related benefits and the disinfection and safety information, the language was revised to require employers to send notice to employees who were “on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infectious period.”
The new bill also revises the time frame in which employers must give notice of COVID-19 outbreaks to local public health agencies. The prior version required notice of outbreaks within 48 hours. AB 654 revises that to “within 48 hours or one business day, whichever is later.” It also specifically exempts certain health facilities from the requirement to report outbreaks to local health agencies because those facilities already report outbreaks under other legal requirements.
The new law revises certain terminology to better correspond to the terms of federal and other state COVID-19-related provisions.
Employers should review the new language and consult with their legal counsel about any changes they should make to their COVID-19 notice and reporting policies.Print Article
Originally published on October 18, 2021. Reprinted with permission from Beveridge & Diamond PC.
On September 27, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 606, significantly expanding the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) enforcement authority. SB 606 increases potential exposure for employers with multiple worksites in the state, requires Cal/OSHA to issue “egregious violations” in certain circumstances, increases the potential monetary fines associated with citations, and expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue subpoenas and seek injunctions and temporary restraining orders. The law becomes effective January 1, 2022, so employers should use the remaining months of 2021 to identify and close any compliance gaps to reduce the risk of receiving an enterprise-wide violation or an egregious violation.
For employers with multiple worksites, SB 606 creates a rebuttable presumption that a violation is “enterprise-wide” when either of the following factors is met:
- A written policy or procedure violates a Cal/OSHA safety standard, rule, order, or regulation; or
- Evidence of a “pattern or practice” of the same violation committed by that employer at more than one of the employer’s worksites.
If the employer fails to rebut the presumption that a violation is “enterprise-wide,” then the division may issue an enterprise-wide citation requiring enterprise-wide abatement.
SB 606 also directs Cal/OSHA to issue an “egregious violation” if one or more of the following is true:
- The employer, intentionally, through conscious, voluntary action or inaction, made no reasonable effort to eliminate the known violation.
- The violations resulted in worker fatalities, a worksite catastrophe, or a large number of injuries or illnesses. For purposes of this paragraph, “catastrophe” means the inpatient hospitalization, regardless of duration, of three or more employees resulting from an injury, illness, or exposure caused by a workplace hazard or condition.
- The violations resulted in persistently high rates of worker injuries or illnesses.
- The employer has an extensive history of prior violations of this part.
- The employer has intentionally disregarded their health and safety responsibilities.
- The employer’s conduct, taken as a whole, amounts to clear bad faith in the performance of their duties under this part.
- The employer has committed a large number of violations so as to undermine significantly the effectiveness of any safety and health program that may be in place.
The conduct underlying a violation determined to be egregious must have occurred within the five years preceding an egregious violation citation. Once a violation is determined to be egregious, that determination remains in effect for five years. After that five-year period has elapsed, additional evidence is required to support any subsequent egregious violation.
If Cal/OSHA “believes that an employer has willfully and egregiously violated” a safety standard, then Cal/OSHA “shall issue a citation to that employer for each egregious violation[.]” Critically, “each instance” that an employee is exposed to the violation alleged to be an egregious violation “shall be considered a separate violation for purposes of the issuance of fines and penalties.” This means that if an employee is exposed to the same cited hazard each day at work, the employer could be cited with multiple violations, which could significantly increase the associated fines.
Subpoenas, Injunctions, and Temporary Restraining Orders
SB 606 authorizes Cal/OSHA to issue a subpoena if the employer fails to “promptly provide” requested information during an inspection, and may enforce the subpoena if the employer “fails to provide the requested information within a reasonable time.” These time limits are not defined.
The bill also expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to seek injunctions and temporary restraining orders. Specifically, if Cal/OSHA has “grounds to issue a citation” under section 6317, then Cal/OSHA may seek an injunction in superior court restraining the use or operation of equipment until the cited condition is corrected. Upon filing an affidavit showing that Cal/OSHA has grounds to issue a citation under section 6317, the court may issue a temporary restraining order.
Impact on Employers
These substantive amendments greatly increase the enforcement authority of Cal/OSHA. Employers with multiple worksites in the state will typically have one set of written procedures that are used at all worksites, such as written Injury Illness and Prevention Programs, Hazard Communication Programs, and Heat Illness Prevention Programs. A deficiency in these written programs now provides a basis for issuing an “enterprise-wide” citation and potentially requiring “enterprise-wide” abatement.
In addition, Cal/OSHA’s new authority to issue egregious violations is broad and not clearly defined. Cal/OSHA need only establish one of the seven bases for finding an employer’s conduct “egregious.” Many of the bases contain undefined terms, such as “large number” of injuries or illness, “large number” of violations “that undermine significantly the effectiveness of any safety and health program,” “extensive history” of prior violations, or “persistently high” injury rates. Furthermore, the bill states that Cal/OSHA “shall” issue an egregious violation if the criteria are established, meaning that Cal/OSHA is required to issue that citation. The use of the word “shall” in the bill could limit the ability of an employer to pursue a reclassification of these violations through settlement.
Employers should carefully review written programs to ensure compliance with all applicable requirements, including ensuring that required trainings are scheduled and a system is in place to document that those trainings occur. Reviewing these policies and procedures could reduce the likelihood of receiving an enterprise-wide violation or an egregious violation.
Should an employer receive a citation, the employer should promptly respond to information requests and communicate when documents will be produced to minimize the likelihood of receiving a subpoena.
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317(b)(1).
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317(b)(2).
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317.8(b).
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317.8(c).
-  Id.
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317.8(a) (emphasis supplied).
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317.8(a).
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6317.9.
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6323.
-  Cal. Labor Code § 6324.
Even if you have not been following the news closely, you are likely aware that Governor Newsom signed eight law enforcement bills at the end of this year’s legislative session. Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) was the most significant and expansive bill within this broad legislative reform. You would be forgiven for assuming that each of the eight pieces of legislation covered a single, distinct topic, but a review of SB 2 shows that this legislation covers multiple, unrelated topics, whose only common thread is a connection to law enforcement.
This two-part series sets out to provide you with an overview of what is covered in this sprawling legislation. In this month’s article, we will discuss the peace officer decertification process and the newly-added factors that disqualify someone from serving as a peace officer. In next month’s article, we will discuss the important amendments to Civil Code § 52.1 and Penal Code § 832.7 that were contained within SB 2.
Let us first step back and look at the big picture to examine what SB 2 addresses:
- STATE OVERSIGHT AND DECERTIFICATION OF OFFICERS. First, the legislation creates a state-administered commission to oversee peace officer certification and decertification, to establish criteria for decertifying officers, and to obtain reports from local agencies and issue statewide reports. Sections 6, 7, 8, and 10 of the legislation create a Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division within POST. Sections 12 and 14 of the legislation create a system for decertifying peace officers within California. Section 15 imposes a series of reporting requirements on local agencies, and section 16 identifies the reports that will be issued by the newly-created Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division.
- ADDS FACTORS THAT DISQUALIFY PEACE OFFICERS. Second, section 4 of the legislation amends Government Code § 1029 to expand the criteria for disqualifying someone from serving as a peace officer.
- CIVIL CODE § 52.1 AMENDMENTS. Third, section 3 of the legislation amends Civil Code § 52.1 to preclude peace officers, custodial officers, and public entities who employ them from asserting the immunities of Government Code §§ 821.6, 844.6, and 845.6 in response to claims pursued under Civil Code § 52.1. The amendment to Civil Code § 52.1 also closes a seldom-used loophole by requiring public entities to indemnify all current or former public employees for Civil Code § 52.1 claims.
- “SB 1421” REFORM. Finally, in conjunction with the passage of Senate Bill 16, section 5.5 of the legislation amends Penal Code § 832.7 to add four additional categories to the list of law enforcement documents that were previously-made disclosable by Senate Bill 1421. The legislation also makes numerous other revisions to the language of Penal Code § 832.7 and imposes a strict timeline on when agencies must complete their production of responsive documents following a Public Records Act request.
State Oversight and Decertification of Officers
SB 2 creates far-reaching state oversight over the certification and decertification of peace officers in the state. Sections 6, 7, 8, and 10 of the legislation create a Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division within POST. Pursuant to Penal Code § 13509.5, “The primary responsibilities of the division shall be to review investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies or any other investigative authority and to conduct additional investigations, as necessary, into serious misconduct that may provide grounds for suspension or revocation of a peace officer’s certification, present findings and recommendations to the board and commission, and bring proceedings seeking the suspension or revocation of certification of peace officers as directed by the board and commission pursuant to this chapter.”
Pursuant to Penal Code § 13509.6, the Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division shall be established by January 1, 2023 and shall consist of nine members (hereinafter “the Board”):
- One peace officer with command rank experience, who is appointed by the Governor;
- One peace officer with management rank experience in internal investigations, who is appointed by the Governor;
- Two members of the public with experience at academic or nonprofit institutions with experience on police accountability issues – one to be appointed by the Governor and the second to be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly;
- Two members of the public with experience at “community-based organizations on issues related to police accountability” – one to be appointed by the Governor and the second to be appointed by the Senate Rules Committee;
- Two members of the public “with strong consideration given to individuals who have been subject to wrongful use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily injury by a peace officer, or who are surviving family members of a person killed by the wrongful use of deadly force by a peace officer, appointed by the Governor”; and
- One attorney with significant experience in the oversight of peace officers, appointed by the Governor.
As a practical matter, the composition of the nine-member Board will not be favorable to the law enforcement community. At best, it is difficult to see how more than three of the nine spots on the Board will be occupied by members who are not outright critics of law enforcement. The composition of the Board will have a significant impact on the decertification rules and process, as the Board will be tasked with developing a regulatory definition of “serious misconduct” that will be used as part of the decertification process (Penal Code § 13510.8(a)(2)(B)).
Section 14 creates a detailed process for the Board to decertify police officers in the state (Penal Code § 13510.85). Section 15 of SB 2 imposes a series of reporting requirements on local agencies (Penal Code § 13510.9), and section 16 of SB 2 identifies the reports that will be issued by the newly-created Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division (Penal Code § 13512(b)).
Additional Factors That Disqualify Officers
Government Code § 1029 identifies a series of a criteria that render someone ineligible from serving as a peace officer in California. SB 2 amends that language to add additional convictions or findings that would disqualify someone from serving as a peace officer. The new criteria include:
- Discharge from the military following a tribunal finding, if the underlying crime would have been a felony in California (Government Code § 1029 (a)(3));
- Convictions for “wobblers” (i.e. misdemeanors that could have been charged as felonies) or convictions that were expunged or vacated (Government Code §§ 1029(a)(4)(B-C));
- Findings by certain administrative, civil, or military tribunals by clear and convincing evidence (Government Code § 1029(a)(9));
- Revocation of the peace officer certification issued by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, as well as a voluntary surrender of the certification or a denial of one’s application for the certification (Government Code § 1029(a)(10)); and
- Listing in a federal database, such as the National Decertification Index of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, for engaging in “in serious misconduct that would have resulted in their certification being revoked by the commission if employed as a peace officer in this state” (Government Code § 1029(a)(11)).
Due to the complexity and wide-ranging topics of SB 2, I encourage you to consult with your agency’s counsel to discuss the immediate requirements imposed by SB 2, as well as the likely long-term impacts on your agency. In next month’s article, we will discuss the important amendments to Civil Code § 52.1 and Penal Code § 832.7 that were contained within SB 2.Print Article
The California JPIA congratulates the City of Pismo Beach on its 75th anniversary of serving its community with excellence and integrity.
Officially established on April 25, 1946, Pismo Beach—the “Clam Capital of the World”—is an exemplary California beach town, boasting classic charm and an iconic pier, as well as miles of scenic shoreline and a robust schedule of community programming.
“Pismo Beach is a small but mighty city that prides itself on its world-class amenities, economic strength, regional partnerships, ‘Classic California’ character, and five-times-accredited Police Department, all of which contribute to the quality of life for its residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Assistant City Manager Jorge Garcia. “The City of Pismo Beach remains committed to providing a vibrant, safe community.”
Pismo Beach’s year of celebration featured a series of signature events, beginning with a drive-through hosted by the mayor and city council at City Hall on April 23. A “75 Years of Pismo” photo contest invited community members to share pictorial memories, while the city’s annual July 4 celebration and classic car show provided accessible entertainment for families. The 75th Anniversary Gala, held at Pismo Beach Plaza on October 15, served as a springboard to the community’s Clam Festival, October 16–17. The special event included a gourmet dinner, show, historical presentation, fireworks display, and dancing. The Clam Festival featured a chowder cookoff, parade, and live entertainment.
Pismo Beach Councilmember Mary Ann Reiss, currently serving as vice president of the California JPIA’s Executive Committee, which she joined in 2009, ensures that risk management is a council priority. The Authority first celebrated the city’s culture of risk awareness and mitigation with a 2019 Risk Management Award for Best Overall Performance for its primary workers’ compensation program in the category of municipal agencies with public safety exposure. The recognition was repeated in 2021.
“The California JPIA is proud to partner with the City of Pismo Beach,” said Senior Risk Manager Tim Karcz. “It is clear that they understand the importance of risk management and how it relates to the great services they provide to the community.”
Significant accomplishments have marked the city’s anniversary year. In addition to the Authority’s Risk Management Award, Pismo Beach has received seven other awards for excellence in government management, project development, and capital improvement projects: the League of California Cities’ Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Intergovernmental Collaboration for Central Coast Blue, a regional recycled water project in San Luis Obispo County; Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for its comprehensive annual financial report and achievement of highest standards in government accounting and financial reporting; California Association of Environmental Professionals’ Merit Award for Environmental Analysis Document for the Central Coast Blue Environmental Impact Report; California Chapter of the American Planning Association Excellence in Urban Design Award for the Pismo Pier Plaza Revitalization; American Public Works Association Project of the Year, Structures $5-15 Million for the Pier Plaza; American Society of Civil Engineers San Luis Obispo Chapter: Roadway and Highways Project of the Year AND Outstanding Bikeways and Trails Project of the Year for the Shell Beach Streetscape; and American Society of Civil Engineers Los Angeles Section Outstanding Bikeways and Trails Project of the Year for the Shell Beach Streetscape.
“We are proud of the excellent work that our staff has put into receiving these awards on behalf of the community,” said Mayor Ed Waage. “The awards serve as a symbol to the residents, businesses, and visitors of Pismo Beach that this city council prioritizes excellence in governance and project delivery.”Print Article
Members who have consulted the Authority’s help desk likely have a special appreciation for Office Assistant Maria Daniels, who commemorates five years of providing administrative support to training operations for the Authority this month.
“Maria leverages her incredible customer service skills to collaborate with our members and resolve issues,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “By listening with authentic empathy—and, when appropriate, exercising her silly sense of humor—she builds strong, lasting relationships with both her colleagues and our members.”
Daniels joined the Authority in 2016 from Iron Mountain, a storage and information management service provider, where she supported the company’s in-house sales, transportation, and operations departments. She was tasked with preserving confidential records, resolving issues, fulfilling requests, and educating customers on policies and procedures. She earned accolades for her exceptional service, including recognition in a nationwide customer service survey and employee-of-the-quarter honors. In addition, she was tapped to participate in an internal mentoring and leadership program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art and art studies from California State University, Long Beach.
At the California JPIA, where she staffs the training department’s help desk, Daniels provides exceptional service while resolving technological issues such as access with usernames and passwords. She approaches each call as an opportunity to share as much information as possible, anticipating the next steps and future needs before hanging up.
“I want our members to know that I am here for them,” said Daniels. “I want them to walk away from our conversation knowing that I listened with all of my attention and addressed their issue with compassion.”
The Authority’s Annual Risk Management Educational Forum allows Daniels to flex her customer-service skills and her artistic background as part of the Marketing & Media Committee. That committee is responsible for developing a consistent graphic identity and theme for the event, both online and in print.
Daniels also supports data entry and scheduling for training. After trainings are completed, she manages the closeout process: reviewing and confirming attendance, awarding credit, and generating and sending certificates of completion. Her role is critical to maintaining an accurate history of members’ elected officials, supervisors, and staff who have completed state and federally mandated training on workplace harassment and other important topics.
“What I like most about working in the training department,” said Daniels, “is using my background in in-house sales support, as well as my customer-centric skills and abilities, being a resource for not only my coworkers but also, most importantly, our members.”
The Authority congratulates Maria on her five-year anniversary.Print Article