Issue 106 - December 2020
End of Year MessageFrom Jonathan Shull, Chief Executive Officer
During this October’s Municipal Management Association of Southern California Virtual Annual Conference, I was honored to introduce keynote speaker Lawrence Greenspun, director of public sector engagement at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker Institute. Greenspun discussed planned abandonment—the practice of identifying and abandoning old and unrewarding practices, programs, and services—as a path to innovation.
Innovation is one of the Authority’s core values. Innovation has been at the forefront of the Authority’s activities this year as staff and members adapted together in real time with a resilient spirit to changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Authority’s commitment to serving members has grown even stronger as our regional Risk Managers have assisted members as they have shifted gears in managing their municipal operations, navigating executive orders, reimagining parks and recreation activities, and—above all—ensuring the health and safety of their staff and communities. In response to the ever-changing environment caused by the pandemic, Authority staff worked to monitor COVID-19 developments across a spectrum of issues related to members, including legal aspects, worker health and safety, employment concerns, coverage matters, emergency preparation and recovery, and legislative developments at the state and federal level.
Members also faced unprecedented revenue shortfalls due to the downturn in economic activity caused by stay-at-home orders and increases in unbudgeted expenses incurred responding to the pandemic while still trying to provide essential services. In response, the Executive Committee provided relief to members by approving a partial deferment of the annual contributions for the Liability and Workers’ Compensation programs.
I am deeply proud of the Authority’s “here to help” support to members and their communities in the wake of these emerging risk management issues.
This summer, Rossmoor Community Services District and the cities of Hemet, Lemon Grove, Pacific Grove, Stanton, Vista, and West Covina became the newest members of the California JPIA. They join a diverse membership of 123 municipal agencies including 98 cities, 18 joint powers authorities, and seven special districts who partnered with a team that proactively seeks to mitigate risk through training and implementation of best practices.
With the growth of the Authority’s membership, we expanded the regional risk manager regions from five to seven. In July, three outstanding professionals were added to the risk management team: Toni Consolo, Lucy Gonzalez, and Tony Leite. Joining the Authority in the height of the pandemic, Toni, Lucy, and Tony have been working with their respective members to address a magnitude of risk management issues.
The Authority also welcomed Sylvia Munoz Schnopp, mayor pro tem of the City of Port Hueneme, and Steve Tye, mayor of the City of Diamond Bar, who were appointed to the Executive Committee to fill the vacant seats of President Curtis Morris and Committee Member Daryl Hofmeyer, who retired this spring.
These new employees’ and Executive Committee members’ expertise will complement the institutional knowledge and industry experience of the Authority’s longtime staff, whose professional acumen has established the Authority as a leader in the pooling industry.
During my own 25th anniversary year, I would like to recognize other staff members celebrating milestone anniversaries: Training Manager Joe Eynon, 15 years; Management Analyst Abe Han, five years; and Administrative Assistant Lyndsie Buskirk, five years.
Signifying our continued standing as a pool operating at a high level of efficiency and effectiveness, with adherence to professional standards and industry best practices, the Authority achieved its second consecutive Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP) Advisory Standards Recognition this year.
Educating our members has always been the primary goal of the Authority’s Risk Management Educational Forum. This year, the 25th Risk Management Educational Forum, Resilient Together, transitioned from an in-person gathering to a fully virtual experience that connected attendees throughout California with knowledgeable experts on risk management and contemporary issues facing local government. This significant and progressive undertaking, which would not have been successful without support of our members and business partners, saw a 28 percent increase in total attendance and a 19 percent increase in first-time registrants.
The Forum was one of many events for local government professionals that shifted from in-person to virtual formats this fall. Authority staff, partners, and members presented programs detailing risk management best practices to elected officials and municipal staff at the California Contract Cities Association’s Virtual Fall Educational Summit, the League of California Cities’ Annual Conference & Expo, and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California’s Virtual Annual Conference. The Authority values all opportunities to provide educational resources for municipal managers and elected officials at all levels and to invest in the professional enrichment of decision-makers throughout the state.
The Authority, a Platinum Partner of the League of California Cities, also has maintained its longstanding tradition of supporting local government by affiliating with the League’s “Support Local Recovery: Vibrant Cities. Strong Economies” campaign coalition, joining forces with other representatives from local government, labor, and business to advocate for funding for cities to address COVID-19 impacts.
As always, the Authority is proud to support our member agencies. We look forward to gathering again in person. Warm thanks for your continued engagement with and support of the California JPIA, and best wishes for a very happy holiday season and New Year.< Back to Full Issue Print Article