Issue 135 – May 2023
Registration is open for It’s Like, Totally Risk Management, the California JPIA’s 28th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum. The Forum will be held August 29–September 1, 2023, at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad.
This year’s keynote speaker, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, will share his experience of persevering even when obstacles’ shadows loom large as a figure skater, commentator, producer, cancer survivor, and activist.
Sessions cover cyber incident response, vendor-provided agreements, wildfire smoke exposure, and increasing team cohesion. Other educational opportunities include Michael Julian reviewing how to respond more effectively in an active shooter situation and other potentially deadly events; Candace D. Collins discussing how to create a culture of safety and strategies for leveraging your leadership role in the process; and David Dominguez and Mark Garcia providing an overview of MAGNUS OVEA, a new theory of human behavior that includes guidance on how to improve one’s well-being and ability to lead.
Registration is restricted to member agency officials and staff and the Authority’s business partners. There is no registration fee for California JPIA members.
Please note that your Forum registration does not include hotel accommodations. After you register, you will receive an email confirmation with a link to book your hotel rooms at the Omni La Costa Resort. The deadline for reservations at the group rate is June 20, 2023. Please reserve early, as the Forum room block tends to sell out and may not be available after this date.
Please join the California JPIA for the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at 7:00 p.m.
The Authority is governed by a Board of Directors and an elected nine-member Executive Committee. The Board of Directors consists of one elected official appointed by each member agency. Member cities, joint powers authorities, and special districts actively guide the organization, ensuring that the Authority makes value-based decisions that benefit the entire membership.
The Annual Meeting will include the election of the Authority’s President and three Executive Committee members, recognition of the 2023 Risk Management Award winners, and a presentation about the Authority’s strategic plan and operational overview.
The meeting will be held at the Authority’s La Palma campus. A buffet dinner will be served al fresco at 5:30 p.m., with the Board of Directors meeting immediately following. Voting delegates and up to one additional member representative are eligible to receive lodging and travel reimbursement for attending the meeting. A $100 stipend will be provided to each member agency’s voting delegate or alternate attending the meeting.Print Article
By Tim Karcz, Senior Risk Manager
California JPIA members are reminded to protect outdoor workers from heat illness as high temperatures are again expected throughout California this summer. Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites. The standard commonly applies to agency employees who work in public works, maintenance, parks and recreation, community services, code enforcement, and public safety. Heat illness is more likely to occur when workers are not acclimatized to working at full capacity in hot weather, so preparation is essential to stay safe.
Workers must be closely observed for any signs of heat illness when working in these hotter conditions for the first time. Supervisors and workers must be trained on the signs and symptoms of heat illness to know when to take steps to prevent a coworker from getting sick. Employers must also evaluate each worksite and ensure their workers know their procedures for contacting emergency medical services, including directing them to the worksite if needed.
To prevent heat illness, employers are required to provide outdoor workers with fresh and suitably cool water, access to shade, and when needed, cool-down rest breaks in addition to regular breaks. Employers must also maintain a written prevention plan with practical training for supervisors to recognize the common signs and symptoms of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
Members with outdoor workers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
- Plan: Implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan.
- Training: Train all employees and supervisors on preventing heat illness, including common signs and symptoms.
- Water: Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool, and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour and encourage workers to do so.
- Rest: Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
- Shade: Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees.
Members are encouraged to take advantage of the Authority’s training, including Cal/OSHA-compliant refresher training for employees and supervisors. Additionally, the Authority has developed a template Heat Illness Prevention Plan, available in the MyJPIA library on the California JPIA’s website.
Cal/OSHA offers the following resources:
- Heat Illness Prevention Website
- Heat Illness Prevention E-Tool
- Cal/OSHA Webinar on Heat Illness Prevention
For more information, please contact your regional risk manager.Print Article
By Alex Mellor, Senior Risk Manager
Summertime is just around the corner. This is an opportune time for members to begin thinking about managing risk associated with increased use of public facilities such as parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools.
Injuries at member-owned swimming pools and aquatic centers can be traumatic and costly. Members can manage this exposure in several ways:
- Ensure lifeguards are trained to follow specific operational and emergency procedures and possess current lifeguard and first aid/CPR certifications. In addition, regular in-service training provides lifeguards with simulated experiences of potential real-world incidents (victim retrieval, unruly patron intervention, etc.)
- Regularly inspect the pool, locker rooms, showers, and other facility areas to identify and correct hazards such as broken glass, bodily fluids, inappropriate behavior, etc.
- Ensure that rescue equipment such as backboards, rescue tubes, and throw ropes are readily accessible and that staff has been trained to use these devices effectively.
Larger crowds coupled with increased temperatures during the summer months make it more likely that agency staff will have to respond to an ill or injured resident. Members can improve the odds of a favorable outcome by ensuring that key staff members are formally trained in first aid, CPR, and AED use. The California JPIA offers American Heart Association (AHA) first aid, CPR, and AED training to members at no additional cost. The AHA requires re-training every two years, so if it has been a while since your employees received this training, it would be good to review your records and determine if certifications have expired.
Special Events Program
Summertime also increases the number of special events hosted by public agencies. Event organizers or the public wishing to use member-owned facilities may need help to obtain minimum liability insurance limits recommended by the California JPIA (typically $1 million per occurrence). The Authority’s Special Events Program can help with this issue since the program provides general liability insurance when member-owned premises are used for special events or short-term activities. Examples include weddings, art festivals, parades, yoga classes, and member-sponsored events such as fairs, carnivals, and swap meets. There is no deductible for this coverage, and members are automatically added as additional insured. For more information, visit the Special Events page of the California JPIA website.
The Authority provides numerous training programs ideal for assisting staff in handling the unique risk associated with summer activities. These training opportunities include:
- Aquatics Center Operations
- Code of Quality Service
- CPR/AED/First Aid Safety
- CPR/AED/Pediatric First Aid
- Dealing Successfully with Customers
- Hearing Conservation
- Heat Illness Prevention
- Library Service, Safety and Security
- Mandated Reporter
- Playground Safety
- Part-Time, Seasonal, and Temporary Employees and Volunteers
To sign up for training, contact your agency’s training registrar.
If you have questions or want more information, please contact your regional risk manager.Print Article
Cities across the United States celebrated National Public Works Week, May 21–27, 2023. The theme for the week, Connecting the World Through Public Works, illustrates how public works connects us all through infrastructure and service, enhancing the quality of life in our communities.
Public Works Week is an opportune time to recognize and celebrate the crucial role that public infrastructure projects play in shaping our communities. One project that stands as a testament to the power of public works is the El Centro Library. Designed by Ferguson, Pape, and Baldwin Architects, this innovative facility transformed an aging shopping center in the City of El Centro into a hub of knowledge, inspiration, and community engagement. The City of El Centro recently received a Project of the Year Award for the new library from the American Public Works Association San Diego / Imperial County Chapter.
“With this new library, the city continues its path to deliver outstanding projects that enhance the quality of life of our community for generations to come,” said Public Works Director / City Engineer Abraham Campos.
The library project was envisioned to provide the community with a modern and dynamic space for learning and discovery. The state-of-the-art library boasts several innovative features that enable digital access to many resources, including e-books, online databases, and multimedia collections. The facility includes dedicated spaces for collaboration, group study, and community events, encouraging interaction, knowledge sharing, and networking among residents.
The building serves as a community hub, offering a range of programs and activities that cater to the diverse interests and needs of the residents. The library fosters lifelong learning and brings people together, from children’s story hours to adult literacy programs, from art exhibits to workshops on various subjects.
“The new El Centro Library has been a wonderful addition to our city, and we are already seeing the positive impact it has had on the quality of life in our community,” said El Centro Mayor Martha Cardenas-Singh. “It is one of our most valued assets for community members to learn, grow, and discover.”
The impact of the El Centro Library extends beyond education and community development. Its presence in the heart of El Centro has revitalized the surrounding area by attracting visitors and stimulating local businesses.
California JPIA Senior Risk Manager, Alex Mellor, assisted the city with selecting appropriate types and limits of insurance for the project. “El Centro’s new library is a wonderful addition to the community,” said Mellor, “The city council and staff are to be commended for the vision and hard work needed to take the project from concept to completion. By taking the time to analyze and manage the risk involved, the City ensured taxpayers were protected in the event of an unexpected loss.”
The California JPIA also provided course of construction coverage for the library project. This program offers coverage for physical damage to member facilities while under construction.
We commend the El Centro Library project and the staff that made it possible. It stands as a shining example of the transformative power of public works and is a reminder of the vital role that public works plays in our daily lives.
The California JPIA congratulates the City of El Centro on this impressive new library!Print Article
This month, Senior Accountant Grazyna Buchowiecki commemorates 20 years of maintaining accounting data in the general ledger and providing accounting support to the California JPIA’s finance director.
Buchowiecki, who joined the Authority as a junior accountant in May 2003, was promoted to accounting specialist in July 2006 and to senior accountant in July 2013. She credits her career advancement to her willingness to learn and her supervisors’ recognition and encouragement.
“One of the things I admire most about Grazyna is the high standard that she sets for herself,” said Deputy Executive Director Alex Smith. “Grazyna inspires and motivates the whole team with her dedication, work ethic, and passion for excellence. We are incredibly grateful to Grazyna for her many contributions to the finance work of the Authority, and for providing superb accounting support to staff, members, and business partners.”
Buchowiecki discovered the California JPIA while looking to reenter the workforce after spending time as, she said, “a stay-at-home mom.” Previously unfamiliar with the role of joint powers authorities, she researched the risk management pooling industry and found it interesting: “It amazed me that the California JPIA, with such a small staff, was able to help so many agencies.”
Working at the California JPIA has allowed Buchowiecki to develop professionally while providing excellent service to the Authority’s member agencies and learning with a great team.
“My role and knowledge have evolved while working at the Authority,” she said. “The Authority’s employees are experts in their fields. I have the opportunity to work with and learn from them.”
Buchowiecki embraces opportunities to represent the Authority at professional conferences and learn from other local government leaders. In March, she joined California JPIA Communications Director Olga Berdial and Administrative Analyst Lyndsie Buskirk at the 2023 Municipal Management Association of Southern California’s Winter Forum.
“Grazyna is a tremendous asset to the Authority,” said Administrative Services Director Nikki Salas. “Her commitment to high-quality work and kind-hearted nature have had a significant impact on the Authority’s success over the past 20 years.”
Buchowiecki, who holds a degree in economics from the University of Economics in Katowice, Poland, has contributed to the Authority’s success by providing excellent and timely service to members and staff.
“Grazyna’s conscientious work ethic has made her an integral part of the Authority family,” said Salas. “Her contributions are highly valued, and we appreciate her so much.”
The Authority congratulates Grazyna on her 20-year anniversary.Print Article