Issue 131 – January 2023
Dust off your leg warmers and spandex, and get ready for a totally tubular event to close out the summer. Join us from August 30 to September 1 for the California JPIA’s 28th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum, It’s Like, Totally Risk Management, at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad.
Much like the saw bold fashion choices and significant technological advances, the Forum will showcase the latest in risk management concepts, allowing members to be bold and confident in their decision-making processes.
You will be sure to get your 1980s jam on while learning risk management best practices from some of the raddest speakers in the industry. Session topics include legal liability, workers’ compensation, employment law, public safety, organizational thinking, governance, and legislation. With this lineup, attendees can build their own “mix-tape” of risk solutions to take back to their agencies.
No one needs to miss this funky fresh event — registration is at no cost for all member representatives.
Keep your eyes peeled over the coming months for additional information about registration, sessions, and speakers. Visit our Risk Management Educational Forum website page for more details.
Save the date – it’s going to be totally epic!Print Article
The California JPIA is pleased to announce a partnership with the Code Enforcement Officer Safety Foundation. This partnership will provide comprehensive safety training to member code enforcement officers and others in non-sworn enforcement positions like building inspectors and officials, animal control officers, community service officers, and more. This training, called the “Code Official Safety Specialist (COSS)” program, provides a designation upon completion and earns International Code Council and state continuing education units (CEUs.) The COSS training program is fifteen hours of progressive virtual learning on five subjects. The program is the only international officer safety training for the code enforcement industry. Each class comes with a downloadable PDF workbook. The five courses include The Tactical Mindset, Fear Management, Verbal De-escalation, Three Phases of Contact, and Surviving a Violent Encounter.
This training is offered at no cost to members, and a link to register is found on the myJPIA training portal.
For further information about this training or how to register, please email Justin Edson, president of the Code Enforcement Officer Safety Foundation, or Ryan Thomas, California JPIA senior training specialist.Print Article
Member agencies and public officials increasingly use social media to engage with residents and share information. While social media platforms provide an efficient and economically prudent means to interact with the public, they can pose many challenges for officials and the agencies they represent. With that in mind, the California JPIA is pleased to announce a new training to help local agency officials better understand the risks of mishandled social media posts and the best practices that will lead to proper use of the platforms, particularly their own social media accounts.
Upon completion of the course, public officials will be able to identify the legal framework they can safely operate in as it relates to social media, understand recent legislation affecting their obligations under the Brown Act, identify due process considerations, and better understand the application of the First Amendment to public officials’ social media pages.
For further information about scheduling this or other trainings offered by the California JPIA, please email Administrative Assistant Denise Covell.Print Article
The California JPIA will host its next Workers’ Compensation Webinar on Thursday, February 16, at 10:00 a.m. Attendees will hear from several members of our new third-party administrator team at Athens Administrators and learn about their approach to claims handling and client service.
Kevin Fritzsche, who formerly managed the Authority’s program at Sedgwick, has joined Athens as a division claims manager and once again oversees our claims team. He will address topics including Athens’ history, philosophy, culture, and some of the benefits our members will enjoy as part of our move to Athens.
Leann Farlander, Athens’ associate vice president of cost containment, will discuss the company’s approach to managed care services such as bill review, utilization review, and nurse case management.
Manuel Berumen, an account manager with Athens, will discuss our members’ access to Athens’ claims system and the reports it can provide.
We look forward to having you join us next month, and for those that are unavailable to attend the live webinar, a recording will be available on the Authority’s website. For any questions, please contact Jeff Rush, workers’ compensation program manager.
One of the California JPIA’s core values is teamwork. We are committed to upholding relationships with our members and similarly-minded organizations supporting California municipal agencies. The Authority leverages these connections to forge partnerships, address priority issues, and discuss risk management best practices with Authority members, prospective members, and business partners that share the Authority’s genuine interest in local government.
“The California JPIA is composed of informed risk management professionals and local government advocates who have an authentic interest in collaborating with public agencies,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “The Authority’s commitment to supporting local government throughout California sets us apart from other risk management organizations.”
The Authority is sponsoring a number of organizations this year, including the Institute for Local Government, which empowers local government leaders and delivers real-world expertise to help them navigate complex issues; the California Contract Cities Association, which advances the benefits of the contracting model and strengthens local control and governance; the League of California Cities, which collaborates with city officials to enhance knowledge and combine resources to influence policy decisions; and the Municipal Management Associations of Northern and Southern California, supporting professional development for local government leaders. Additionally, the Authority sponsors CALPELRA, the California Public Employers Labor Relations Association, and PARMA, the Public Agency Risk Management Association.
Sponsorships also provide an opportunity to support the professional development of member agency staff.
“The California JPIA is proud to provide learning opportunities for municipal managers and elected officials at all levels,” said Deputy Executive Officer Alex Smith. “By supporting advocacy and professional organizations, the Authority invests in the education and enrichment of decision-makers, helping develop well-informed leaders who support a healthy risk management culture in their organization.”Print Article
Authority staff chose the Orangewood Foundation as the recipient of the annual California JPIA service project for 2022. Traditionally, staff uses the holiday season to celebrate the spirit of giving by coordinating food drives and helping local organizations.
“Working with the Orangewood Foundation reminds us of how important it is to give back, not only during the holiday season, but all year round,” said Administrative Services Director Nikki Salas. Salas coordinated the team’s effort in December, organizing a food drive for Orangewood, an organization supporting foster and community youth by preparing them for independent adulthood with groceries, hot meals, transitional housing, life skills workshops, and employment leads.
“This is my first year participating in the Authority’s winter service project. I’m excited to carry on the tradition of giving back to the community and helping those in need,” said Administrative Assistant Jennifer Torres.
Along with Salas and Torres, the food drive team, consisting of Training Coordinator Michelle Aguayo, Administrative Analyst Lyndsie Buskirk, Maintenance Worker Chris Yanonis, and Management Analyst Courtney Morrison, rallied Authority staff to donate personal health items and non-perishable groceries that were then delivered to Orangewood.
“It makes me proud to work for an organization whose core values are reflected in community service,” said Morrison.
Visit the Orangewood Foundation website to learn more about their services and how to help.Print Article
By Tim Karcz, Senior Risk Manager
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Cal/OSHA require employers to use Cal/OSHA Form 300 to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and to note the extent and severity of each case. The summary form, Cal/OSHA Form 300A, shows the totals for the year in each category. Cal/OSHA requires Form 300A to be posted between February 1 and April 30, 2023. Form 300A summarizes the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2022 and were logged on Cal/OSHA Form 300. The form must be posted where employee notices are usually found and must not be altered, defaced, or obscured during the posting period. A copy of Form 300A must also be made available to employees who do not regularly report to any fixed establishment. At the end of the three-month posting period, Form 300A should be kept on file for five years. If any newly discovered, recordable incidents or changes in classification are noted, the log should be updated.
Employers must record any new work-related injury or illness if it results in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, significant injury or illness as diagnosed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional, or death. Employers must record any incidents that aggravate a prior injury. Employers are also required to log COVID-19-related illnesses on the form. Cal/OSHA has published a Brief Guide to Recordkeeping Requirements.
OSHA has strict requirements for protecting the privacy of injured and ill employees. An employer shall not record the employee’s name on the OSHA 300 log for certain “privacy concern cases.” Instead, “Privacy Case” shall be entered in the space reserved for the employee’s name. OSHA defines a privacy concern case as an injury or illness to an intimate body part or the reproductive system; an injury or illness resulting from a sexual assault; mental illnesses; HIV infection, hepatitis, or tuberculosis; needle stick injuries and cuts from sharp objects that are contaminated with another person’s blood or other potentially infectious material; and other illnesses if the employee voluntarily requests that their name not be entered on the log. The Authority recommends that all cases reference “Privacy Case” in the employee’s name fields, not just in privacy concern cases defined by OSHA.
Members participating in the Authority’s workers’ compensation program will receive an email from Athens, including a partially completed Form 300A with instructions for completing and posting the form. Members should follow the instructions and post a copy of the completed form by February 1, 2023. Forms 300 and 300A can also be obtained from the Cal/OSHA website.
For more information, please contact your regional risk manager
The City of Atascadero supports local individuals facing homelessness with an innovative trash solution: the Orange Bag program.
Like many impactful initiatives, the City of Atascadero’s Orange Bag program began with a simple interaction between two people.
While participating in a community clean-up, City Manager Rachelle Rickard noticed a homeless person living on an island in the middle of Atascadero Creek. His encampment was littered with trash. When she offered to throw him a bag into which he could discard the debris, he responded, sure, that would be nice.
That engagement planted the seed for a continuing program that provides regular trash service for unhoused residents. Kiosks throughout the city, filled with orange garbage bags, invite homeless individuals to gather and throw away their trash. The bags, whose carrot-bright color provides an eye-catching signal that they contain waste to be discarded, are collected daily by Atascadero’s public works staff.
“For our unhoused residents who like to keep their areas really neat and tidy, that orange bag can be a lifeline,” said Rickard.
In addition to affording people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to live in a neater, cleaner space, the Orange Bag program aligns with the city’s responsibility to keep public spaces clean and free of dangerous conditions.
“While individuals who are unhoused or transient may inadvertently present potential hazards, such as needles or broken bottles, the Orange Bag program helps reduce those risks,” said Senior Risk Manager Tim Karcz. “The program exemplifies how the people who live and work in Atascadero take pride in keeping the city clean, safe, and beautiful.”
Founded in 1913 and incorporated in 1979, the City of Atascadero, a community of 30,000 residents located along U.S. Route 101 in San Luis Obispo County, fosters an outstanding quality of life for its residents by providing excellent public service, stewarding its environment, preserving its heritage, and promoting economic prosperity.
Bordered by the Salinas River and home to Atascadero Lake, Atascadero Creek, and Green Valley Creek—the Spanish word atascadero loosely translates to “wetland”—Atascadero’s ravines connect the mountains to the ocean.
While plentiful fresh water and award-winning parks accentuate the community’s charm, they also contribute to opportune conditions for unhoused individuals.
“Atascadero Creek has steep embankments and is heavily wooded; the Salinas River also features woods and sand dunes,” said City Manager Rachelle Rickard. “It is very easy for people to live on those lands undisturbed.”
“Atascadero’s City Hall is a famous historic building in front of a large park area,” added Karcz. “It can appear to be a haven for individuals in an unhoused state.”
Atascadero’s 2022 Point in Time Count showed 93 homeless individuals, 42 of whom were sheltered, and 51 of whom were unsheltered. The community’s resources include El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), headquartered in Atascadero, a two-facility, 120-bed homeless organization whose mission is to empower people in San Luis Obispo County to make positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services such as job and life-skill training.
“ECHO has a strong outreach component, with crisis assessment teams (CAT) that pair police officers with mental health specialists to connect with and offer support for specific individuals,” said Rickard.
For example, she continued, CAT representatives began bringing one homeless person coffee and medication every morning. Their regular visits and treatment helped manage the individual’s mental health crisis, which reduced his socially inappropriate and illegal behaviors. After three months, he was ready to engage with ECHO’s onsite programming.
“What works for one person may not work for another person,” said Rickard, who frequently speaks with homeless people who live near City Hall. “The more we can understand each individual’s needs, the more likely we are to help them get into a program that will eventually get them out of experiencing homelessness.”
Rickard, a 30-year resident of Atascadero, joined the city staff in February 1997 from the Santa Maria office of accounting firm Moss, Levy & Hartzheim, where she specialized in audits of governmental entities and non-profit agencies. Rickard led audit teams for 13 cities, 14 special districts, 21 school districts, and 26 non-profit agencies, preparing financial statements and presenting audits to governing boards. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
After beginning her career with the City of Atascadero as an accountant, Rickard was promoted as the youngest and the first female director of administrative services. Responsible for financial planning and reporting, accounting, and other financial matters—as well as risk management, litigation, workers’ compensation, personnel, negotiations, regulatory compliance, and contract review—she introduced a comprehensive financial plan that, over ten years, pivoted the city’s general fund from a deficit unreserved fund balance to an $11 million reserve.
Rickard also led the funding, planning, and construction of Atascadero’s $34 million Historic City Hall Project, securing $16 million in grant funds from CalEMA and FEMA and $2.2 million in California Cultural and Historical Endowment funds.
After several opportunities to serve as acting city manager, she was appointed city manager in June 2013.
“There’s no doubt that Rachelle is a stellar city manager who has been a consistent leadership force on the Central Coast for more than 20 years,” said Karcz.
Rickard cultivates a risk management culture among her staff by pausing to think about potential risks as part of every discussion. She recognizes the liability associated with serving the community and considers options to minimize risk without sacrificing service: she strives for a reasonable protection level, not a perfect one.
“You don’t want risk management to be paralyzing,” she said, “but you do want to take reasonable precautions to mitigate risk.”
Rickard credits the California JPIA as a resource for finding that balance, partnering with staff to assess situations, and minimizing exposure to the most practical extent.
“The California JPIA’s regional risk manager program is a huge benefit,” said Rickard. “I—or anyone on my staff—can call Tim and ask a question any time. Having that perspective helps a ton.”Print Article
THE COURT REPORT
Cities’ Enforcement Options are Further Limited with Decriminalization of California Retail Food Code
Originally printed on December 28, 2022. Reprinted with permission from Best Best & Krieger.
Senate Bill 972, which takes effect January 1, 2023, completely decriminalizes sidewalk food vending, creating a new regulatory framework that may frustrate cities who are trying to limit this activity. Previously, criminal enforcement of sidewalk food vending was a valuable tool in combatting what cities perceive as a public health nuisance. Now, violations are no longer misdemeanor or infraction offenses and are only subject to administrative citations.
Senate Bill 946, passed in 2018, was the first step in decriminalizing sidewalk vending. However, it left cities the ability to enforce county health codes adopted by reference through the California Retail Food Code. This allowed cities to criminally cite sidewalk food vendors for failing to have the required county health permits for vending food. Now, SB 972 closes that gap by decriminalizing the California Retail Food Code. Cities can still conduct routine inspections of carts and preparation kitchens – though they are only able to issue administrative citations for violations.
The law creates a new category, a “compact mobile food operation,” which is defined as a mobile food facility that operates from an individual or from a pushcart, stand, display, pedal-driven cart, wagon, showcase, rack or other nonmotorized conveyance. However, such an operation would still be restricted to limited food preparation. Limited food preparation is generally limited to heating, frying, baking, roasting, shaving of ice, blending, steaming of hot dogs or assembly of non-prepackaged food. It also includes the holding, portioning and dispensing foods that are prepared at a catering operation. Potentially hazardous foods would be considered raw meats, milk or items that normally require refrigeration. It is possible that limited food preparation includes the preparation of raw meats, but such an operation would have to meet further sanitary guidelines, such as having a three-compartment sink with an adequate potable water supply. Preparing potentially hazardous foods on a compact mobile food operation that does not meet specific sanitary requirements for potentially hazardous foods would be a violation and subject to an administrative citation.
SB 972 also affects existing regulation of cottage food operations and microenterprise home kitchens. A cottage food operation can sell home-cooked foods directly to the public and a microenterprise home kitchen allows an individual to operate a restaurant in their private residence. With SB 972, a cottage food operation or microenterprise home kitchen can now be used as a commissary or mobile support unit for up to two compact mobile food operations. However, they would still be subject to public health enforcement to ensure protection from contamination and adequate cooling and storage.
SB 972 attempts to facilitate greater access for food vendors to get the required county and city approvals for food vending permits. The bill provides that counties may approve a food cart design which meets safety requirements, in lieu of approving individually manufactured carts. The legislature’s hope is that by easing the process to come into compliance with the law, it will incentivize greater compliance than currently exists.
Cities still retain their authority to criminally enforce against food vendors operating on private property and not in the public right of way.
Cities are encouraged to make sure their enforcement is consistent with this new legislation. For more information, contact our Code Enforcement team.
Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts, facts specific to your situation or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information herein.Print Article
By Sally Trung Nguyen, Partner, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP
Originally printed on January 17, 2023. Reprinted with permission from Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP.
On September 27, 2022, California Senate Bill (“SB”) 1162 was signed into law. SB 1162, effective January 1, 2023, imposes new requirements on public and private employers pertaining to pay transparency. The California Labor Commissioner’s office recently released its long-awaited Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding the new requirements. The FAQs are available here.
Below are some key takeaways:
- Public and private employers with 15 or more employees must include a pay scale in all job postings.
- If the public or private employer engages a 3rd party to announce, post, publish or otherwise make known of the job posting, the employer must provide the pay scale to the 3rd party and that 3rd party must include the pay scale in the job posting.
- If the job posting is for a remote position that may ever be filled in California, either remotely or in-person, the pay scale must be included.
- The pay scale must actually be provided in the job posting itself. It is not sufficient to include a link to the salary range, etc.
- All public and private employers (regardless of size) must (i) provide an employee the pay scale for the position in which the employee is currently employed upon request; and (ii) provide an applicant with the pay scale for a position applying for employment upon request.
- “Pay Scale” is defined as the salary or hourly wage range that the public or private employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.
- If a public or private employer intends to pay a set hourly rate or a set piece rate, and not a pay range, then the posting may include that set hourly rate or a set piece rate.
- However, if the employee’s hourly or salary wages is based on a piece rate or commission, then the piece rate or commission range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position must be included when disclosing the pay scale.
- Other compensation or tangible benefits that are provided in addition to salary/hourly wage (e.g., bonuses, tips) need not be included when disclosing the pay scale.
- Retention of Pay Data Records (job titles/classification, wage rate histories, other terms and conditions of employment) must be for the duration of an employee’s employment plus 3 years after the employee’s employment termination.
- Civil penalties for failure to comply with these requirements may range from $100 to $10,000 per violation.
- Retaliation against an employee for engaging in action to invoke/assist with the enforcement of these requirements is prohibited.
Tim Karcz joined the California JPIA as a risk manager in January 2018 with more than 20 years of experience in risk management as a regional safety manager at Bank of America and director of risk control at Poms & Associates. He began working with the California JPIA as a consultant in 2006, conducting approximately 150 risk management evaluations and several trainings and academies for the Authority. Before his risk management work, Karcz served in the United States Air Force as a crew chief. He is a certified safety professional with a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautics and a Master’s degree in public administration.
“Working with private and public sector organizations has given me a breadth of experience to draw upon when interacting with our members,” said Karcz.
Throughout his tenure with the Authority, Karcz has successfully managed and helped member agencies assess risk, analyze contracts, and create action plans for members in North Ventura County, the Central Coast, Monterey County, and Marin County. Karcz believes he has helped Authority members manage risk through consistency. He also attributes much of his success as a risk manager to his close relationships with his member agencies and the help and guidance he receives from his fellow risk managers.
“I learned long ago that what makes a job great is the work you do and the people you do it with. That’s what the Authority is all about,” said Karcz. “Our staff is the best at what they do, and they make me better.”
Alongside his risk manager duties, Karcz has led several popular trainings for Authority members. He notes that he loves being a part of a team that makes personal and impactful events, like the Authority’s academies and trainings.
“Tim is not only an excellent risk manager, but he regularly takes it upon himself to fulfill the training needs of his members,” said Senior Training Specialist Ryan Thomas. “He has performed several safety trainings that typically only our contract instructors perform, including forklift operator safety, fall protection, heat illness, bloodborne pathogens training, and contractual risk transfer training.”
“Tim’s experience and risk management knowledge has made him a leader in the field,” said Deputy Executive Officer Alex Smith. “He understands the challenges that face our member agencies and the complexities of integrating risk management into the fabric of a public agency. We are thankful to have his expertise – and dry wit – on our team.”
Congratulations, Tim, on your 5th anniversary!Print Article
The California JPIA congratulates five staff members who celebrated milestone anniversaries in 2022: Administrative Analyst Edith Aviña, with 20 years of service; Maintenance Worker Chris Yanonis and Insurance Programs Manager Jim Thyden, both with 15 years of service; and Senior Risk Manager Alex Mellor and Workers’ Compensation Program Manager Jeff Rush, both with ten years of service.
“At the Authority, we pride ourselves on having a culture that makes staff feel valued and appreciated. We know and actively celebrate our colleagues’ efforts that make a difference for our members,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “It’s a testament to this culture that we have five staff members celebrating more than ten years of service to the Authority.”
Aviña supports member services, assists the executive management team, and manages independent projects across the organization. Yanonis’ responsibilities include building and grounds maintenance, facilities operations, and campus security. He also supports the planning and execution of campus events. Thyden manages the Authority’s property and commercial insurance programs and services, placement of excess and reinsurance, and evidence of coverage documents. Mellor’s responsibilities involve assisting California JPIA public agency members with risk management efforts in public safety, contractual risk transfer, regulatory compliance, and employment practices liability. Rush manages the Authority’s workers’ compensation program, including the third-party administrator and defense panel attorneys, and cost containment programs, such as the medical provider network.
“Edith, Chris, Jim, Alex Mellor, and Jeff are incredibly hard-working and dedicated. Their efforts shine when working with our members,” said Deputy Executive Officer Alex Smith. “We are proud to have them on the team, representing the Authority and helping our members succeed.”
The California JPIA’s Executive Committee recognized Aviña, Yanonis, Thyden, Mellor, and Rush with special service awards during its meeting on December 14, 2022.
“The Executive Committee and Board of Directors are grateful for the dedication and commitment of our employees,” said Executive Committee President Margaret Finlay. “The California JPIA is a leader among insurance pools, due in large part to the efforts of its loyal staff. Congratulations to all of them for a job well done.”
Congratulations, Edith, Chris, Jim, Alex, and Jeff and thank you for your continued hard work!Print Article