Remembering Bill Holt
By Jonathan Shull, CEO
Bill Holt, former Executive Director of the California JPIA, passed away on June 13, just four days shy of his 72nd birthday. Bill died suddenly from a heart attack. He lived in a senior community home in Pasadena during his rehabilitation from a stroke he suffered in early February.
Bill’s influence on the California JPIA was immense, having served as its Executive Director from May 1994 to July 2002, when he retired from public service.
Today, many members consider Holt a stabilizing influence who fortified the relationship between the Authority and member cities. Fred Latham, retired City Manager of Santa Fe Springs and the previous chairman of the City Managers Committee, says Holt played a principal role in ushering in an era of improved communication and rapid structural growth. Bringing a unique perspective as the first City Manager to serve as General Manager, Holt was “the first strong manager of the Authority and the first manager who really worked to strengthen its staff and autonomy,” Latham says.
Bill and I would get together for lunch from time-to-time. He talked about his life as a public servant and his service to the Authority.
“The Authority’s more professionally managed in virtually every area, and that has been improved upon, I’m sure, since I left. The Authority has to strike a good balance between sticking to what has worked and transitioning to things that haven’t been done; and I think it has done an excellent job of that.”
“I have always been struck by how committed the Finance Officers and the Managers committees are to the success of the Authority, as well as the Executive Committee, when I was hired as Executive Director and since. The Executive Committee does a great job, I think, of putting politics aside and working the way the Authority was intended to work. I really think they do a fine job of thinking things through and trying to make the best decisions for the members.”
“It’s all the rage in management to come in with all of these great plans. I sort of don’t believe in that. Generally, you do that incrementally because one thing begets another. You try to predict them, but, as you improve things, more things need to be improved. My objective was to do things right.”
Bill began his public management career as an Administrative Assistant in the City of La Habra in 1966. In 1968, Bill joined the City of Santa Fe Springs management team as the Assistant to the City Manager, and in 1969 he was elevated to Assistant City Manager. Bill left California in 1971 to serve as an Environmental Program Officer for an Oklahoma Association of Governments. He returned to California in 1973 to take a Program Development Manager post in the City of Garden Grove, and later that same year he was appointed to the Garden Grove Controller position. Bill worked in the private sector in 1975, but returned to the public sector in 1977 when he was appointed Director of Finance in the City of Colton. In 1978, Bill took the Assistant City Administration job in the City of La Mirada, and in 1978 he was selected to serve as City Manager for the City of Paramount where he served for some fourteen years. In 1994, Bill was recruited to serve as Executive Director of the California JPIA where he served until his retirement in July 2002.
Bill’s wife, Sandie, passed away in 2011. He is survived by daughters Heather and Holli, son Zachary, and three grandchildren.
California JPIA Partners with Precision Concrete Cutting for Sidewalk Inspection and Repair Services
Recognizing the benefit to Authority members of mitigating slip and trip claims, the California JPIA’s Executive Committee has authorized the creation of a master services agreement, which allows members to take advantage of favorable pricing related to sidewalk inspection, repair and maintenance. Data has documented that Authority members continue to struggle with maintaining safe sidewalks, with over half lacking an inspection program, and this program is meant to assist members in their efforts to inspect and repair their sidewalks.
Sidewalk maintenance services will be provided by Precision Concrete Cutting and are designed, in part, to mitigate dangerous conditions present when sidewalk deviations have a displacement of 3/4″ or greater. All work utilizing the master services agreement must be arranged between the member and Precision, including any contract, insurance requirements, scope of work, and payment terms. Precision has six locations throughout California, and a list of these locations, along with contact information, can be found on the Master Service Agreement Pricing and Services document, which is located in the Resources and Documents library on cjpia.org. Members can contact the Precision office nearest to them to coordinate services.
Some members have expressed concern that utilizing Precision’s services would violate their agency’s competitive bidding requirements. While the California Public Contract Code for general law cities excludes maintenance work from bidding requirements related to public works projects, charter cities may opt out of the Code and create their own specific procurement requirements for competitively bidding public works projects. Also, members who have adopted the Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act (Public Contract Code §§ 22000-22045) may utilize competitive bidding procedures when contracting for maintenance work. Because of these differences between agencies, it is best that members consult with their agency’s attorney before proceeding. To see the relevant sections of the code, please click here.
For any questions related to the master services agreement, please contact your Regional Risk Manager.
Are You Prepared for July 1, 2015?
by Kelly A. Trainer, Burke Williams & Sorensen, LLP
On July 1, 2015, two laws go into effect in California. The first, an update to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), was addressed in the May 2015 The Authority newsletter. Information about the CFRA regulations issued by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing are available at http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/FEHCouncil.htm, and a copy of the final revised regulations are available here.
The second, the full implementation of the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHF Act), was summarized in the November 2014 The Authority newsletter. The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (AB 1522) is available here. Following the November 2014 article, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) began issuing additional clarification and interpretation of the HWHF Act, and has provided a significant amount of guidance on its website. The DLSE is publishing Frequently Asked Questions on its website and has also posted a webinar it previously hosted on the topic.
Agencies should be sure they are in compliance with these laws by updating internal procedures to be legally compliant, by having updated policies in place, and by training employees on any changes the laws necessitate to the workplace. In order to assist member agencies with policy compliance for the HWHF Act, the Authority has issued a model policy on this topic. Members are encouraged to discuss concerns about the implementation of both the CFRA regulations and the HWHF Act with their designated Risk Managers and/or legal counsel.
In addition to being in compliance with these laws, employers should monitor the status of AB 304, which is urgency legislation currently pending in California to provide additional clarification to the HWHF Act. On June 22, 2015, the bill passed the Assembly, and it is currently pending in the Senate. As it is written as urgency legislation, the bill would take effect upon adoption, rather than on January 1, 2016.
If passed in its current state, AB 304 would clarify a few of the concerns that employers have expressed about the HWHF Act. Importantly for public agencies, if passed in its current state, AB 304 would exclude retired annuitants from the definition of employee. Among other things, the bill also clarifies how rate of pay is calculated for purposes of sick leave; that employers can use different methods of accrual of leave (as long as minimum standards are met); and how the HWHF Act impacts employees who received sick leave before the passage of the Act.
While AB 304 will not answer all of the questions that employers have about the implementation of the HWHF Act, it provides some clarification. It is possible that the legislature will pass this bill before the July 1, 2015 implementation date of the HWHF Act, and if so, employers need to be prepared to adjust any policies or procedures to comply with these clarifications.
Registration continues for the California JPIA’s 20th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum: Managing Risk Like a Champion
Critical Content Public Agencies Can Use
Wednesday’s opening session focuses on the power of employee documentation. This is the responsibility of the entire organization, not just the Human Resources Department. Learn how the multi-faceted world of employee documentation provides a strong foundation to mitigate employment practices claims.
Thursday’s keynote speaker and former Major League pitcher, Dave Dravecky, will share what he has learned about the meaning of success versus significance and how to find encouragement through adversity. Dave will describe how the power of your team can be an important asset in an age of austerity and fewer resources. Fifteen varied sessions round out Thursday’s agenda. Review the full agenda here.
The Forum closes Friday with a session titled: Moving from Conflict to Consensus. Conflict can permeate all levels of your public entity. Learn how to lead your team successfully when faced with the differing opinions and strategies of your fellow employees, governing body, and other stakeholders.
Registration is free to California JPIA members. Non-member registration fee is $450. Lodging is not included in your Forum registration. The Authority’s room block sells out early, so make your hotel reservations now.
For more information or to register for the Forum, click here.
21st Street for the 21st Century: City of Paso Robles
(Reprinted from Civil Engineering Magazine, May 2015)
Innovation is sometime born of necessity, and this was the case in Paso Robles, California where drought is a significant problem, as is it throughout that state. Situated in San Luis Obispo County, in the central part of the state, Paso Robles has been grappling with groundwater shortages—a problem that required a suresolution given the fact that the groundwater basin supplies approximately a third of the city’s drinking water.
In the process of making improvements to one of the city’s key roadways—21st Street—city officials seized upon the opportunity to develop an innovative approach to the roadway project that included bioretention, pervious pavers, landscaped open-channel drainage, and an infiltration trench to cleanse and capture runoff while also minimizing flooding during storms, which had caused problems for both vehicles and pedestrians along 21st Street.
To address the situation, the City of Paso Robles established a partnership with SvR Design Company, of Seattle, and the Central Coast Low Impact Development Initiative—the latter based in San Luis Obispo and established by the state’s Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to assist cities and counties within the region design low-impact development projects. Among the primary objectives of the 21st Street Improvement Project were reducing the severity and frequency of street flooding, increasing groundwater recharge, and improving the quality of storm-water runoff that reaches Salinas River nearby, as well as shading the street with trees, improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and reducing traffic speeds by introducing traffic-calming devices.
The project did more than transform one lone street from an impervious, vehicles-only swath of pavement to a multifunctional facility that is welcoming to pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, and commerce. It also spurred the development of “green street” standards that the initiative can now use to help other communities develop their own water-conserving, flood-alleviating streets. And such standards may be sorely needed as communities across California, and indeed throughout the desert Southwest, seek any and all means available to conserve and protect every drop of water they can in the face of a drought that experts say is unprecedented in both severity and longevity.
In short, the 21st Street Improvement Project is a model for other communities faced with similar problems. Not only did it solve the persistent flooding problem along a busy thoroughfare; it also provided a mechanism for cleansing storm water and helping it infiltrate into the ground to supplement the local groundwater supply.
Shared Services Agreements
by Roy Angel, Senior Risk Manager
The shifting economic paradigms in the country and California have caused public entities to rethink how they do business. Budgets have been slashed; services have been cut; staff has been reduced. In order to provide the essential services that allow government to maintain a civil society, public services are being shared. It makes sense for smaller cities to contract with larger cities/counties for services such as regional dispatch (911), plan checking, or HAZMAT response. What doesn’t make sense is for members to assume all risk or liability when entering into these shared service agreements (doing so may constitute a Protected Contract). Moreover, members should not rely on the courts to assign liability when a dispute arises between contracted entities.
Inter-agency service agreements can be tricky and problematic for members if not worded properly. Section 895.2 of the California Government Code explains that when it comes to agreements between two public entities, liability is “joint and several,” i.e. if a claim or suit is filed against one party of the agreement, all parties share liability based on the level of exposure (determined in the courts). Additionally, Proposition 51 requires any agency with money left in their pockets to cover all non-economic penalties if the other party(ies) are unable to do so, even if the agency is only 1% liable. Should your agency enter into an agreement with another public agency, a non-profit organization, or a private party, and your agency is contractually obligated to “hold harmless, indemnify, and defend” the other party(ies), you are exposing your agency to substantial risk.
One oft-used remedy for the above-referenced problem is using a Mutual Hold Harmless agreement between two public entities: each agency will hold the other agency harmless should a claim arise, and each will take care of its own liability. But what if there is a dispute over liability? Mutual hold-harmless agreements should not be used unless the terms of assigning liability are clearly spelled out within the agreement. If not, you may be headed toward expensive litigation costs. Here are some things to look for:
- Identify all agreements that include any form of mutual hold-harmless language
- Ensure that the indemnity/hold-harmless provisions in the agreements are enforceable
- Review the language in the agreements and evaluate the liability exposure to your agency
- Ask the question: Is the liability accepted by your agency in the agreement clearly identified?
- Is the liability of the other contracting agency clearly identified in the agreement?
- Is there a process established within the agreement to resolve any liability questions that may arise out of the course and scope of the agreement?
- Are the insurance limits appropriate for the type of activity being performed?
- Have you received all insurance information from the other agency, and is your agency listed as an Additional Insured and/or Additional Covered Party?
- Has the agreement been reviewed by legal counsel and Regional Risk Manager?
Making certain that the language in a Shared Services Agreement is satisfactory is a collaborative effort. The California JPIA is your strategic partner in this effort, and your designated Risk Manager is there to help safeguard your interest. Involve the Authority early on in the process before agreements are signed.
Property Insurance Program – Earthquake Coverage
by Jim Thyden, Insurance Programs Manager
The Authority has offered property insurance to members for over 30 years at extremely competitive rates. The property insurance program has five components, each of which is considered separately based on the risk of loss they represent, and as a package of coverage that our members need. The components are:
- “All Risk” Coverage for real and personal property (excludes earthquake and flood)
- Vehicle Physical Damage
- Protection for Fire and Ambulance Vehicles
- Protection for other than Fire and Ambulance Vehicles
- Mechanical Breakdown (formerly Boiler & Machinery)
- Earthquake & Flood – Coverage for real and personal property against these perils.
Each of these components are optional for members based on their evaluation of their need for such coverage. Coverage for buildings and personal property is provided on a “replacement cost” basis which means that if there is a loss, the item is insured to the cost to replace it to the state it was in prior to the loss. Additionally, coverage is provided for necessary improvements required due to building code changes.
The maximum limit for any one occurrence is $500,000,000 with a sublimit for the peril of earthquake of $150,000,000. These limits are shared by all members, with the limit for earthquake also being the most to be paid in any one year. The “all risk” deductible is $5,000, and the earthquake deductible is 5% of the value of each separate building or structure, subject to a minimum deductible of $100,000. So if a building is worth $10,000,000 and is demolished by an earthquake, the member would have a $500,000 deductible and recover $9,500,000.
Members are able to add, delete, and modify property insured through the Oasys portal on the Alliant website at https://oasysnet.alliantinsurance.com/oasys/active/signon.asp.
For more information about earthquake and flood coverage, including how to report a claim, visit the Authority’s property insurance program page at http://www.cjpia.org/protection/coverage-programs/property-insurance-program.