California Volume 8, Issue 3, May - June 2013
Publication of the California Special Districts Association
In this Issue Executive Directorâ€™s message  CSDA news  What CSDA is watching  Ask the experts  Interview with Brent Ives, BHI Management 16 Consulting
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Volume 8, Issue 3 May - June 2013
Assessing Organizational Efficiency: Interview with Brent Ives, BHI Management Consulting
Mesa Water District improves operational efficiency, productivity for effective performance
Printed on recycled paper.
CSDA News Special district officials engage state officials at Special Districts Legislative Days; Keynote speakers announced for Annual Conference & Exhibitor Showcase; GM Leadership Summit In Brief Fix a leak week; Fitness equipment along trail; Unique challenges for wastewater plant; Fishermen want wi-fi; Solar panels; Irrigation district contracts with resource conservation district; program to reduce return hospital trips California Special District – May-June 2013
Solutions & Innovations Staff sharing: Resource conservation districts share staff to provide efficient, quality services at a lower cost Community Connections All this and creek restoration too: Napa Sanitation District expands mission to include creek stewardship Legal Brief Compensatory Time Off: Potential Pitfalls for the Unwary
SDLF Fees waived for new District of Distinction applicants
Managing Risk Safety Claims/Education Day, Driver pull program and Legal update
Money Matters What is a “prudent reserve” for a district?
What’s So Special Grazing away mosquitos
California © 2013. California Special Districts Association. All rights reserved.
Officers Stanley Caldwell, President Mt. View Sanitary District Pete Kampa, Vice President Tuolumne Utilities District Noelle Mattock, Secretary El Dorado Hills Community Services District Ginger Root, Treasurer Country Club Sanitary District Jo MacKenzie, Past President Vista Irrigation District Neil McCormick CSDA Executive Directdor
Members of the Board Jim Acosta, Saticoy Sanitary District David Edwards, East Quincy Services District Steve Esselman, North of the River Municipal Water District Vince Ferrante, Moss Landing Harbor District Elaine Freeman, Rancho Simi Recreation & Park District William Nelson, Orange County Cemetery District Greg Orsini, McKinleyville Community Services District Steve Perez, Rosamond Community Services District Timothy Ruiz, P.E., East Niles Community Services District Phil Schoefer, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District Sherry Sterrett, Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District Elaine Sullivan, Leucadia Wastwater District Kathy Tiegs, Cucamonga Valley Water District
CSDA Staff Neil McCormick, Executive Director Megan Hemming, Professional Development Director Cathrine Lemaire, Member Services Director Kyle Packham, Advocacy & Public Affairs Director Todd Winslow, Publications Director Emily Cha, Receptionist George Cordero, Legislative Intern Nicole Dunn, Editor Sharon Foster, Professional Development Assistant Ralph Heim, Legislative Representative Dorothy Holzem, Legislative Representative Jess Lima, Staff Assistant Christina Lokke, Legislative Representative Charlotte Lowe, Executive Assistant Jimmy MacDonald, Legislative Analyst Miryam M. Barajas, Public Affairs Specialist James Wilfong, Senior Designer Travis Wills, Member Services Coordinator Rick Wood, Finance Manager For editorial inquiries, contact Nicole Dunn at 877.924.2732 or email@example.com. For advertising inquiries, contact Diana Granger, Granger Marketing Works, at (530) 642-0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 1112 I Street, Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95814 t: 916.442.7887 f: 916.442.7889 toll-free: 877.924.2732 www.csda.net
Executive Director’s message
Don’t let the dust settle – CSDA asks and listens
you’ve attended a CSDA event before, you have come to expect rich content that is focused to meet the needs of special district staff and elected/appointed officials. Those who have attended regularly have also come to expect something else at the end of each session - an evaluation! One of the ways we make sure to stay on target and constantly relevant to the changing needs and demands of CSDA members is to regularly ask them and listen to what they have to say. At times, we have probably flooded attendees, members, program participants, etc. with evaluations and surveys to get feedback, however these tools have proven to be one of the best ways to identify the path that we need to take to be an effective and strong organization to the ones who mean the most to us - our members! Regularly asking our members their thoughts on professional development programs has led to new program ideas and offerings that are extremely successful and have made us more efficient and effective as an organization. The feedback we receive on a regular basis truly helps to guide not only the content for our professional development activities that are offered, but the direction for the entire organization.
A proud California Special Districts Alliance partner
Recently, we sent out a brief survey to member and non-member districts. The purpose was two-fold. First, to gauge satisfaction levels with the current direction and services offered through CSDA. The results were encouraging and our membership continues to grow, which helps to reinforce member satisfaction with the organization. Second, and probably more importantly, we asked some specific, key questions about the delivery of our services and resources that will help to shape the future strategies, services, products and overall development of CSDA. What we received back was invaluable and will play an important role as CSDA’s Board of Directors and staff work together to develop the Strategic & Staffing Plan for the next three-plus years. Perhaps now would be a good time for your district to engage customers, constituents and other stakeholders in a survey or direct dialogue to see what they have to say and gain insights in how your district can shine even brighter. Don’t let the dust settle!
For complete program descriptions and information about registration and accommodations, visit the Education section of the CSDA website at www.csda.net or call CSDA at (877) 924-2732.
Professional Development Calendar
Family and Medical Care Leave Acts - WEBINAR
10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
General Manager Leadership Summit, Newport Beach
Legislative Roundup - WEBINAR
Is the Future in the Cloud? - WEBINAR
Special District Leadership Academy: Setting Direction/ Community Leadership, San Diego
Special District Leadership Academy: Board’s Role in Finance and Fiscal Accountability, San Diego
JulY S 7
10 11 12 13
Effective Media Relations, Sacramento
Understanding the Brown Act: Core Components and Updates - WEBINAR
28 29 30 31
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Understanding Board Member and District Liability Issues - WEBINAR
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Register online for CSDA classes and workshops by visiting www.csda.net and clicking on Education.
California Special District – May-June 2013
Special District Officials Engage State Officials at Special Districts Legislative Days The two-day conference, themed “Strength in Numbers: Adding Value to Communities,” provided Special Districts Legislative Days (SDLD) attendees with insights on proposals underway significantly impacting special district revenue sources, including property tax allocation, voter thresholds for special taxes, and new funding opportunities for “green” projects and programs. This annual event provides the opportunity to hear from and interact with statewide policy makers, participate in moderated panel discussions, and engage in issue specific roundtable dialogues.
and budget proposals impacting local government auditing and reporting requirements.
Three keynote speakers, State Controller John Chiang, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency John Laird, and Assembly Member Nancy Skinner responded to SDLD attendees’ questions about pressing issues impacting special districts.
A leader in environmental sustainability, Assembly Member Skinner’s keynote speech provided background information on AB 39—her proposal to implement Proposition 39 and allocate funds for clean energy projects. Proposition 39, enacted by voters in 2012, changed corporate tax requirements, which is expected to generate an additional $1 billion dollars each year. Through fiscal year 2017-18, Proposition 39 directs half of this new revenue to fund projects that create jobs, improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation. Assembly Member Skinner’s proposal would require a portion of these funds to be distributed as low or no interest loans for energy efficiency projects at public buildings.
State Controller Chiang, California’s Chief Fiscal Officer overseeing the State’s nearly $100 billion budget spoke about the future of California’s economy the day before Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revision of the State Budget. The Controller discussed California’s monthly revenue figures used throughout the year by fiscal experts and economists to forecast tax revenues, and touched on the audit requirements of special districts. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about California’s tax revenue figures and the latest legislative
Following Assembly Member Skinner, Secretary Laird shared the Natural Resources Agency’s work allocating Proposition 84 funds for local urban greening projects as well as its work with the Strategic Growth Council to assist local governments in meeting the State’s AB 32 goals. Secretary Laird discussed efforts to promote innovative community and urban revitalization, encourage environmentally-friendly transportation and identify efficient approaches to natural resource management and infrastructure investments. As a former legislator,
RECAP Secretary Laird shared the Natural Resources Agency’s current efforts.
Attendees took part in roundtable discussions on topics important to special districts.
Secretary Laird encouraged attendees to communicate frequently with legislators about special district projects aimed at revitalizing California. Participants also had the opportunity to interact directly with prominent legislative members responsible for considering legislation impacting local revenue and governance. The Local Government panel, consisting of Assembly Local Government Committee Chair, Katcho Achadjian, and Vice-Chair Marc Levine, as well as Senate Governance and Finance Committee ViceChair Stephen Knight, engaged in a lively conversation about local governance issues. The legislative members offered a candid view of the relationship between state and local government and shared their experience serving as local officials. In addition, a lively “Local Revenue” panel conveyed a wide-range of viewpoints, answering questions about the future of legislative proposals affecting redevelopment and addressing potential changes to Proposition 13 vote thresholds. Attendees also had the opportunity to advocate at the State Capitol on behalf California Special District – May-June 2013
State Controller Chiang spoke about the future of California’s economy.
of special districts. SDLD participants met with State senators and assembly members to share the perspective of special districts on proposed legislation that would significantly impact district revenue sources. This included commenting on bills dealing with property tax allocation, voter thresholds for special taxes and new funding opportunities for “green” projects and programs. The legislative visits allowed participants to emphasize and share the core services provided by special districts. To find more information regarding CSDA’s key legislative priorities, please visit the Grassroots Action Center at www.csda.net. Following an afternoon of legislative visits in the Capitol, SDLD attendees were joined by a number of state legislators and policy consultants at a networking reception held at Chops, a favorite restaurant amongst the Capitol community. The second day of the conference provided a wide variety of roundtable discussions with attendees participating in a range of topics important to special districts. Eight organizations joined CSDA to facilitate these in-depth industry specific roundtables:
• Association of California Healthcare Districts • Association of California Water Agencies • California Association of Public Cemeteries • California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions • Board of Forestry and Fire Protection • California Public Employees’ Retirement System • California State Association of County Auditors • Workers’ Compensation Action Network For more information regarding the topics covered during SDLD 2013, please visit www.csda.net and click on the Grassroots Action Center. CSDA appreciates all of the individuals who dedicated their time and traveled to Sacramento to learn from knowledgeable speakers and interact with their legislators. CSDA sincerely thanks all attendees, partners, sponsors and speakers who participated in SDLD 2013. SDLD is only possible because of the support we receive from our partners and sponsors. We specially recognize Special District Risk Management Authority (SDRMA) for sponsoring the legislative reception, and the other participating sponsors: California Special Districts Alliance, Meyers Nave, Nationwide Retirement Solutions, Enterprise Networking Solutions, Inc., California CAD Solutions, Inc., and the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF). continued on page 8
CSDA News [continued] Keynote Speakers Announced for Annual Conference & Exhibitor Showcase CSDA is pleased to announce an all-star lineup of keynote and super session speakers for the CSDA Annual Conference & Exhibitor Showcase, September 16 – 19 in Monterey. Captain Mike Abrashoff will kick off this year’s conference with “It’s Your Ship,” the story of how the USS Benfold was transformed into the best ship in the Navy. The account rekindles audiences with enthusiasm to make a difference at work. More than that, people will take away real tools they can put to use right away. Since the readiness of a ship is a matter of life and death in conflict situations, every crewmember’s contribution matters. Mike Abrashoff’s “It’s Your Ship” philosophy empowered his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of the way things were done – all in the interest of improving efficiency and readiness. As Mike Abrashoff talks about creating successful change within the confines of a military operation, you will begin to see the possibilities for transforming your own organization.
Malcolm Kushner, “America’s Favorite Humor Consultant,” is an internationally acclaimed expert on humor and communication. Since 1982, he has trained thousands of managers, executives and professionals on how to gain a competitive edge with humor. Malcolm will present “Leading with Laughter: How U.S. Presidents Use Humor to Relate, Motivate and Communicate – And How You Can Too!” Special District Risk Management Authority (SDRMA) sponsored keynote presenter Charles Marshall is one of the most popular humorous motivational speakers speaking today and has over 20 years of experience speaking to audiences all over the United States. Charles will present “The Character Question – How Character Impacts Business and Community.” Having good character isn’t just a good idea; it is the skeleton upon which all your financial, emotional, physical, spiritual and relational success is built. In a conversational and colloquial manner, Charles manages to deliver difficult principles in a humorous fashion. Watch your mailbox for the full conference brochure. Room reservations are now available by calling the Monterey Marriott Hotel at 1-800-266-9432 and asking for the CSDA rate of $165 plus tax. continued on page 46
Giants fans line up to see the World Series Trophy at Livermore Area Recreation and Park District’s Community Center.
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California Special District – May-June 2013
What CSDA is watching May 31 is the house of origin deadline, the cut-off date for Assembly bills that have successfully passed out of policy and fiscal committees, to be voted on by the full Assembly and head to the Senate, and likewise, for Senate bills to cross over to the Assembly. CSDA is at the forefront of legislative proposals related to local revenue, employee relations, public works, environmental sustainability, transparency, elections, local governance and other matters that significantly impact all special districts. CSDA actively lobbies, testifies in committee hearings, participates in coalition advocacy, and provides members with important information and grassroots tools to ensure that special districts’ local perspective is heard during the legislative process in Sacramento. Below is a quick sample of key bills now pending before the State Legislature. To find a current comprehensive list of every bill CSDA tracks, download Legislative Committee documents, request a meeting with your legislators, and access many other resources, visit www.csda.net and login to the Legislative Access Services page, located under Legislative Resources. Assembly Bill 294 (Holden) Local Infrastructure Investment Program Establishes a pilot program whereby special districts and other local agencies may apply to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for approval to finance a local infrastructure project with revenues previously diverted away from the local agency via the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF). CSDA Position: Support Assembly Bill 416 (Gordon): Revenue for GHG Reduction Projects Creates the Local Emission Reduction Program to allocate monies to special districts and other local governments for grants and other financial assistance to develop and implement greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. CSDA Position: Support Assembly Bill 1080 (Alejo): Community Revitalization Investment Authorities Offers a new tool to special districts and other local agencies to invest property tax increment and other available funding to improve infrastructure in disadvantaged communities, and clearly prohibits the shifting of revenue from local agencies without their consent. CSDA Position: Support Assembly Bill 792 (Mullin): Brown Act Online Posting Requirement Sponsored by CSDA, clarifies current Brown Act open meeting law requirements related to online agenda posting, providing that a local government agency may continue conducting business in an open and transparent manner in the event they
are unable to post agenda online due to technological glitches beyond the agency’s control. CSDA Position: Sponsor Senate Bill 184 (Senate Governance and Finance Committee): Interagency Intercept Collections Among other provisions, gives special districts the same statutory authority that cities and counties have to request that the State Controller withhold state payments, such as income tax returns, to collect debts owed to special districts. Currently special districts may only participate to collect unpaid bridge and high occupancy vehicle lane tolls. CSDA Position: Support Senate Bill 731 (Steinberg): CEQA Reform Outlines intent language for a CEQA reform bill, including streaming infill and other projects, creating statewide thresholds of significance for specified environmental impacts, avoiding duplicative CEQA review and preventing data dumps. CSDA Position: Watch Senate Constitutional Amendment 11 (Hancock): 55% Local Revenue Threshold Places a question before the voters of California which, if passed, would empower communities to approve local special tax measures to fund core services provided by special districts and other local agencies. Under current law, special taxes require a two-thirds majority vote while general taxes–that can be used for any purpose–only require a 50 percent vote. CSDA Position: Support
California Special District â€“ May-June 2013
Ask theExperts When a quorum of directors attends a social event, is the Brown Act in play? The answer depends on what the quorum is discussing. The Brown Act is California’s open meeting law. It generally requires that all meetings of the legislative body of a local agency be open and public. Under the law, a “meeting” occurs when a majority of members of a legislative body (i.e. a quorum) gather to hear, discuss, or deliberate on any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of their board or agency.1 This means that even if no action is taken, a meeting occurs when a quorum exchanges information about public business. The Brown Act does create several narrow exceptions to the definition of a meeting. One of the exceptions permits a quorum to attend a purely social or ceremonial occasion, provided that the group does not discuss among themselves business within the subject matter jurisdiction of the local agency.2 This exception recognizes that public officials are engaged citizens and allows them to continue to participate in social events with other officials. The test to see if the exception applies is whether agency business is discussed. As a
Numb3rs Number of street lights installed in under-lit areas of Sacramento, thanks to the public-private partnership involving Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
result, a majority of directors can attend a wedding, baseball game, or any other social event without violating the Brown Act, as long as they don’t talk shop. While not every quorum of directors is a “meeting,” whenever a quorum gathers outside of a formal Brown Act meeting, there is always a risk that someone may suspect agency business is being discussed. While the directors may only be talking about last night’s episode of The Office, it may be difficult to prove and/ or convince the public that the group’s discussion was limited to non-agency topics. To balance these sometimes competing interests of being an engaged citizen and abiding by the Brown Act, officials subject to the law can take some relatively simple precautionary measures. If other directors are attending the same social event, consider sitting apart and avoiding extensive private conversations with one another. Doing so will minimize the risk that the public suspects a meeting occurred without following the Brown Act’s requirements. It will also help directors avoid the temptation to deliberate about agency matters with their fellow directors. To summarize, what matters under the Brown Act is whether you discuss agency business with your fellow directors at social gatherings, but what matters to the public is often the appearance of impropriety. A director can satisfy both interests by minimizing their interaction with fellow directors outside of formal meetings. Alexandra Barnhill is a partner in the Oakland office of Burke, Williams and Sorensen, LLP. She has acted as a trusted advisor and legal counselor to special districts, cities, and joint powers agencies since 2005. 1 Cal. Gov’t Code § 54952.2(a) 2 Cal. Gov’t Code § 54952.2(c)(5). See also, Sacramento Newspaper Guild v. Sacramento County Bd. of Suprs. (1968) 263 Cal.App.2d 41 (Noting that, “Requiring all discussion between members to be open and public would preclude normal living and working by officials.”); 43 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 36, 38 (1964).
MOVERS & SHAKERS
movers and shakers Does your district have an individual recently appointed as general manager or a top staff position? Have you recently elected a new board president? Have any district personnel been appointed to other community boards or positions? Email your district’s movers and shakers to Nicole Dunn, communication specialist, at Nicoled@csda.net and we will include them in our next issue!
Two new directors have been elected to the Santa Fe Irrigation District. Director Greg Gruzdowich was elected for Division 1 and Director Alan Smerican was elected for Division 2. The district also announces the election of Michael T. Hogan to his third term as Board President and the election of John S. Ingalls to Vice President of the Board.
James R. Fisler
Mesa Water District’s James R. Fisler has been elected President of its Board of Directors and Shawn Dewane has been elected to Vice President. East Bay Municipal Utility District announces the election of Andy Katz as President of the district’s Board of Directors and Katy Foulkes as Vice President. Sonoma County Water Agency received the Organizational Leadership Award, presented by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry at the Climate Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The Climate Leadership Awards program honors corporate, organizational and individual leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in internal operations and throughout the supply chain. San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District welcomes Paige Meyer as Fire Chief. Meyer fills the position vacated by Chief Richard Price, who retired.
California Special District – May-June 2013
Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District received the 2012 Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, presented by the Government Finance Officers Association. This is the third year in a row the district has received the achievement, which was presented for its comprehensive annual report for Fiscal Year 2011. Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District’s longestserving board member has retired after 35 years of service. Paul Rockenstein was involved in countless park projects over the course of his service and now plans to spend his time with his wife and children. Kensington Fire Protection District announces the promotion of Captain Laurence Carr to Battalion Chief. Mid-Peninsula Water District has hired Tammy Rudock as general manager. Rudock fills the position previously held by Paul Regan, who retired. Napa Sanitation District received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. The award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting. In addition, this year the district received a special recognition for its Capital Improvement Budget. That budget was rated “Outstanding,” the highest category, for its description of expenditures for capital improvements and the impact of those expenditures on the operating budget.
Water Agency Designates Fix A Leak Week In March, Fix a Leak Week officially kicked off in Sonoma County and across the nation. The Sonoma County Water Agency’s (SCWA) Board of Directors declared March 18 through 24 as Fix a Leak Week in Sonoma County. The annual water awareness campaign is sponsored nationally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Program. Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from homes each year. In California, it is estimated that 14 percent of homes have or have recently had a leak, representing up to 18 percent of household water use. “We all share the responsibility in making sure that our water resources are used in the most efficient and effective way possible and fixing those leaks is a simple and logical thing to do,” said SCWA Board Chairman David Rabbitt. “Wasting water due to a leak also wastes energy and money. With our recent dry weather, it is even more important than ever to put checking for leaks on top of the to-do list.” This year, in honor of Fix a Leak Week, SCWA partnered with the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership with a photo contest to give away five high-efficiency prize packs that included showerheads, kitchen and bath faucet aerators, a garden hose nozzle and more. To enter, participants in the contest needed to upload a photo of their water meter or toilet tank while performing a dye tab test.
District Explores Installing Fitness Equipment along Trail
Bears and Ravens Unique Challenges for Wastewater Plant
Wanting to make a popular trail even more useful to those using it, Estes Valley Recreation and Park District is exploring the addition of fitness stations around the trail. Through a survey, the district is asking the public directly whether the installation of fitness stations is something they would use. The district is seeking funding for the stations from Great Outdoors Colorado, which would give grant funding to purchase the equipment. If the grant were approved, the equipment would be purchased should the public say they are interested. The proposed stations would provide a training circuit around the Lake Estes Trail and would be suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The stations would be equipped with instructions that take the users through stretches, resistance training and balance and cardiovascular exercises.
Rob Motley, plant maintenance supervisor for the Mammoth Community Water District, faced a unique challenge until recently: bears and ravens were getting into the wastewater tanks, making messes and causing some destruction. Due to the location of the plant, at the edge of a pine forest and sagebrush scrub, the smells and steady supply of fats and grease in the wastewater tanks were attracting bears and ravens. “Bears are basically 500 pound raccoons with powerful and dexterous hands bent on destruction driven by appetite,” says Motley. Ravens were also attracted to the smell and would land in droves on the tanks to scrounge for food. The district has, after much thought and approach, discovered effective ways of protecting the plant from unwanted visitors and costly damage. An electric fence was installed around the perimeter of the tanks to keep the bears away. The bears sense the electricity and don’t have to touch the fence to retreat. In addition, netting was placed over the wastewater tanks to keep the ravens out. The success of these methods has helped Mammoth Community Water District increase efficiency and decrease staff time used to repair damage and clean up after the local wildlife.
Sources: Big Bear Grizzly, Half Moon Bay Review, Mammoth Times, Paradise Post, Sonoma County Water Agency, The Estes Park News, Thousand Oaks Acorn, Ventura County Star, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District
California Special District wants to hear about newsworthy people, projects, events and accomplishments in your district. To submit a news item for In Brief, contact Nicole Dunn at email@example.com or (877) 924-2732.
Fishermen Want Wi-Fi from Harbor District While technological devices and saltwater may not seem to mix well together, the fishermen working out of Pillar Point Harbor are saying a wireless internet connection is a must in order for them to do business. Pillar Point Harbor is overseen by the San Mateo County Harbor District. The district is currently putting together a cost comparison on what expanding internet service would mean financially. Fishermen use internet services to check global-positioning maps, send emails related to their business, and are even promoting themselves and their catches using social media. “In order to run their business, [the fishermen] need to be on their iPad or computers to sell their fish,” says Commissioner Sabrina Brennan. “Any active commercial fisherman, I think, would be using it.” Once the costs of providing a wi-fi connection to fisherman are assessed, the district will then determine how those costs should be funded.
Solar Panels in the Works for District’s Parks Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) is ready to power some of its parks with solar energy. The district’s Board of Directors approved a plan to install solar canopies in the parking lots of four of its most power-consuming parks. Those parks, conveniently, also have the largest parking lots, with room to install the panels. All four installations together are expected to generate about 680,000 kilowatts of electricity a year for 25 years and are projected to save the district about $3.4 million in energy costs over that period of time. CRPD struck a deal with SolarWorld USA that would help to make the project financially feasible to the district. As part of the deal, the district agrees to purchase the electricity produced by the panels for 25 years at a rate that would still save the district money on their electric bills. Before the solar installations can be constructed, the city’s Community Development Department must approve of the project. If approved and built, the solar installations will be the first of their kind in the city.
California Special District – May-June 2013
Program Launched to Reduce Return Hospital Trips
Irrigation District May Contract with Resource Conservation District The Boards of Directors for two special districts are considering a possible contract in which one would help the other with the health of its forest land. Paradise Irrigation District (PID) needs help improving the forest health of land around its Magalia Reservoir and has expressed interest in contracting with Butte County Resource Conservation District (RCD) for the work. PID, through a grant project, was able to clear about 60 acres of brush around the reservoir and now needs assistance from a professional forester to maintain that acreage. The district believes the local RCD has the experience to fulfill this and contracting the work to the RCD would give the public confidence that experts who are concerned about conservation are doing the work. PID is currently working on an approved contract to take to the RCD for negotiation.
A federally funded program began in May that aims to reduce the number of seniors readmitted to the hospital within one month of discharge. The $4.1 million program is funded by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services and will last over two years. The Camarillo Health Care District is working with the program in Ventura County, and hired coaches who will work with patients in and out of the hospital. These coaches will go over patients’ medications, make sure they are informed on how to care for themselves and help ensure transportation is available for their appointments. Camarillo Health Care District previously launched a pilot program, which used the coach system with high-risk seniors at several area hospitals. Over one year, 72 percent of the seniors avoided readmission within a month. That rate is over three times the federal government’s goal with the program.
Dogs Get A New Park Thanks to Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, dogs now have a new place to play. Owners who live in the district can take full advantage of the brand new dog park, owned and operated by the district. The fenced-in area is open from sunrise to dusk and broken into two sections: one section for dogs under 25 pounds and one section for larger dogs. continued on page 58
Assessing Organizational Efficiency
Interview with Brent Ives, BHI Management Consulting Is your district running as efficiently as possible? How can you tell? When was the last time your district assessed its organizational efficiency? Exactly how can a district assess its efficiency? These are all questions vital to ensuring a special district is able to carry out its mission and its service to the public at the most optimum level. Every organization should assess itself from top to bottom periodically, to ensure critical components such as communication, adequate staffing and governance practices are at the best possible level. Brent Ives, with BHI Consulting, has helped special districts for years in conducting organizational assessments. After decades of experience in management, training and consulting, Ives formed BHI Management Consulting in order to best share his knowledge of management and organizational behavior. California Special District asked Ives to explain what an organizational assessment entails, why it is important and what an agency should do once an assessment has been performed.
Explain what an organizational assessment for a special district is.
Brent Ives BHI Management Consulting
An organizational assessment looks at the entire organization, top to bottom. It involves looking at how the board functions, how the board and staff interact, how the general manager/executive functions as well as how the general manager or executive functions with staff. All of those organizational areas need to be assessed from time to time. We have never done an assessment where there weren’t some really valuable findings and enhancements that made things better, and more importantly, proactively, where the problem hadn’t grown into a “situation.”
We have never done an assessment where there weren’t some really valuable findings and enhancements that made things better, and more importantly, proactively, where the problem hadn’t grown into a “situation.”
Why should a district do an assessment? What are the indicators a district might need to do one? I’m an organizational consultant. So I generally get called in when there’s an organizational issue. An organization is an organism in and of itself. It can grow, it can shrink, it can become stale, and it can develop bad habits, and it can get so close to itself that it can no longer see emerging issues. There can be insidious problems within it over time that can emerge for inspection with a look at some of the areas that can commonly be problematic. The whole idea of an organizational assessment is assessing organizational efficiency and trying to optimize that efficiency. In order to do that at times you need to take a hard look, then mitigate any issues that may be found.
What are the benefits of an assessment? The benefits aid you in avoiding pitfalls - key word “avoid.” This is a deliberate effort to optimize the overall efficiency of a public agency. An assessment helps you to proactively identify or mitigate upcoming issues. If there is any kind of dysfunctional culture in any part of the organization – I’m talking about the board, about management staff at the executive level or the workforce itself - all of those areas must work, within their separate roles, yet in construct with one another, to optimize the efficiency of the organization. Note on the graphic I have called the Public Agency Operational Model: it shows the public, the owners, at the top, then the five
California Special District – May-June 2013
Our Public The Owners Elected or Appointed Board The Representatives
Public Agency Operational Model
General Manager/CEO The Executive
Staff/Employees The Professionals Services, Programs and Products
board members, the representatives (could be more depending on the organization). They communicate straight down to the focal point of the hourglass, which is the executive or the general manager. Then that general manager/executive implements through the resources called human resources, or employees to be able to get projects or initiatives - the mission - accomplished. That organizational model needs to be respected for optimal efficiency. There are a number of places in that organizational model where things can come apart: the public to the board, the board to each other, the board to the executive, the executive to the board, the executive down to staff and so forth. If, for some reason, there are areas within the organizational structure where it begins to come apart, or begins to look like something different than this, then the public agency/organization doesn’t work as well and becomes less efficient.
Does it matter what size/budget level a district is when considering doing an organizational health assessment? I don’t think so. I think a small district can do an organizational self-assessment for very little dollar and time investment. We have developed an Organizational Health Assessment and Planner for Special Districts tool (available through the CSDA Bookstore) and for only about $300 a manager or a board of a CSDA member district can procure it. Our
intent for that planner is to be a self-assessment. So, for a small investment and some serious applied time, an agency can really look closely and comprehensively at those critical areas that are most relevant to you. Some of those areas may not be particularly relevant to the very small agencies but for the most part, will be for the bulk of districts in California and elsewhere. The assessment tool is designed to lead agencies through the process and then offer actions and tips for mitigation of those issues identified. For a relatively modest investment in terms of dollars and time, agencies have a tool. There are numerous options to be able to involve a third party opinion of your assessment, all the way to having the results be integrated in staff meetings or board workshops, or be able to develop an implementation plan with a continued on page 20
Brent Ives interview [continued] consultant that gets implemented into a strategic plan. Of course agencies should decide early what end of the cost spectrum they wish to apply to this effort.
of the best things a district can do is to be able to put a clear plan together that involves everyone. So board activities, management efficiency and working together on planning are the three areas.
You divide your organizational assessment into six key areas. What
That being said, it is simply best are those key areas and why are they important to the operational practice for special districts to do an efficiency of a special district? organizational self-assessment on occasion. The six areas that we identify in the assessment are leadership, governance, agency planning, supervisory In your years of experience working with special districts, what do management, workforce planning and communications. you see as the top three areas of improvement most districts need? Each of those plays a critical role, again referring back to the model. It goes along with the graphic on page 17 to some degree. Three that I often get called about are: 1) the The leadership element is the board and the agency’s board activities and how the board communicates and ability to lead in the community and take on its clearly understands their role, 2) the management and leadership role relevant to the mission it has been given. how well it understands and implements the desires, needs and wishes of the board, and 3) how they work Governance - there are a number of places where it can together in their planning and ensuring there is clarity be optimized or fragmented and we want to optimize of forward vision and the ensuing implementation of in every one of those areas. The governance is how the that over time. These are all about communication. board does its job as the representatives of the owners Communication creates clarity and clarity is the result of good communication. That’s why I’ve always said one – which are the public. This is the process by which the of the key areas of public agency optimization and one board does the public’s business well.
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Agency planning is when a board is practicing good governance and acting as a strong leader by planning for its agency’s future.
Once an assessment has been done, how should the results be communicated to the district board and staff?
Supervisory management is necessary in being able to assure that an agency is efficient in carrying out that vision and implementing that vision in the ongoing actions that are necessary.
It depends on who is doing the assessment. If a staff is doing it by themselves and doing it internally, then a staff meeting is a great place to share those results and plan the next steps. I always recommend if an organization were to do a self-assessment, they
Workforce planning supports supervisory management. You’ve got to be able to plan and have a very clear discussion and understanding in what it takes in the workforce to support what it is you want to get done. And throughout the whole thing is communications. Communications are the lubrication of the whole organization. Absent communication, things grind to a halt. It’s like throwing sand into the gears. You’ve got to have communication through every node of any organization. Every once in a while you need to evaluate your top to bottom communications. All six of these areas are very, very important to optimizing public agency efficiency.
You have written in your Organizational Health Assessment and Planner for Special Districts: “There is no organizational activity that has more long-term outcome on effectively serving the public than that of efficiently planning together.” Who should be involved in this planning process? What advice do you have for those involved?
continued on page 20
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I believe the best way for a public agency to plan together is for it to be inclusive. That means that there are very distinct roles for all involved. In general terms, the board is tasked with representing the public in the carrying out the mission of the organization. The board, in performing that role, should be clear about the organization’s mission, it should then cast a vision within a certain term, usually five to 10 years, for all to see and understand. With a clear vision out in front of a competent staff, they can take their role and develop an implementation plan that aims at realizing the board’s vision. Those two groups - the board and the executive and senior staff - work together to assure clarity of future vision and resultant actions. The important aspect of working together as a “leadership team” - board and staff - is important because it implies that each team component is performing their respective roles, and the resulting teamwork, and the trust implied therein, can create a great outcome. That process is substantially and critically valuable to that agency. The best agencies have the ability to be able to do that. So the board is doing its role, the staff is doing its role, everyone is clear about where the agency is going and all can see it. There is clarity of forward movement. Districts should consider this: consider the direction for your agency without a well-conceived plan. Where are you going if you’re not planning to go somewhere? Everyone has a role to play in that.
California Special District – May-June 2013
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Brent Ives interview [continued] circulate the assessment broadly to get as many credible perspectives as possible, then they share the results together. That could be both in a staff meeting or a board workshop. The effort must be an honest self-assessment, willing to be critical of your organization, then it is very important to be able to have the adult discussion as to where an organization is at and what might need to be done.
Do you have any advice for districts that have completed an assessment and are faced with implementing recommended changes? I think that if indeed they have come to the point where they have realized they have changes to make, they need to think about how that might integrate with a good strategic plan. That presumes they have a strategic plan of course. If an agency doesn’t have a strategic plan and it finds that at the end of an organizational assessment it has a number of improvements indicated, then I would recommend that this is a good reason and basis for the development of a strategic plan. There are other things that need to be plugged into a strategic plan to be sure, however this is one of the places where, again, the board and staff can “see it” together, understand the ramifications and actions needed,
see it for what it is, and make their implementation around their vision of an optimized organization. They now have this framework for what the findings are from an assessment, plug that into the strategic plan along with other things that are necessary to support the operations, infrastructure and administration out in the future for the district and get going on it. I know I’ve made a big deal about the activity of strategic planning, but I cannot stress enough how important that process and the product are for the public organization. The nice thing about a strategic plan is it will generally look out five years or beyond. It gives an agency time to get things done. It doesn’t say to an executive or a board president, “You have to get it done tomorrow.” It says, “Let’s plan these upgrades, changes, and enhancements over a five year period where we can see how it all integrates.” You don’t have to saturate yourselves with things to do over the next year or two. An organizational assessment and its outcomes often create the obvious need to plan well together so that mitigation is built-in, proactive and not a surprise.
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Mesa Water District Improves Operational Efficiency, Productivity for Effective Performance
By Kurt B. Lind, Mesa Water Business Administrator
esa Water District (Mesa Water) in Costa Mesa, California, serves an 18-square-mile area with a population of over 110,000 residents, in addition to
approximately 40 million annual visitors that pass through the doors of its largest customers: John Wayne Airport, the Orange County Fair and South Coast Plaza. As a result of recently completing its Mesa Water Reliability Facility (MWRF) improvements project, Mesa Water now meets 100 percent of its customers’ water needs with locallysourced water supplies. “Mesa Water has the mission of being dedicated to satisfying its community’s water needs,” says Mesa Water Board President James R. Fisler. He continues, “Mesa Water’s Board recently updated the district’s Strategic Plan, which has seven goals for achieving that mission effectively and efficiently. This in turn benefits our customers in that, as a result of the district’s past strategic plans, Mesa Water is now AAArated, one of the most efficient water districts in Orange County, and able to serve 100 percent of its customer’s needs with local, reliable water supplies while significantly reducing our carbon footprint.” 22
As one of the few California water districts to be AAArated, Mesa Water is one of the most efficient water districts in Orange County, with the lowest annual expenditures per capita, based on a recent study comparing annual per capita expenditures among Orange County water agencies. Following is an explanation of a key program that has helped Mesa Water to achieve its high level of efficiency.
Each Mesa Water maintenance activity has assigned crew sizes with associated labor costs (including overhead), equipment with hourly rates, and parts and materials with their costs. All of Mesa Water’s maintenance crews report their hours and activities accomplished daily on a work reporting form. The labor, equipment, parts and materials used for each job are checked for accuracy Tracking work activities to improve efficiency. by Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department Supervisors and then entered into the MWMS computerized maintenance management system. Mesa Water’s Core Business Mesa Water’s water distribution system is comprised of 350 Benefits of Tracking Work Activities miles of pipes, two reservoirs, more than 5,000 valves, and By tracking its maintenance work performance in the district’s nearly 3,500 fire hydrants, and is managed by 22 personnel in its MWMS computerized maintenance management system, Mesa Water Operations Department. This group of dedicated public employees is responsible for conducting Mesa Water’s core continued on page 24 business: pumping water from underground, testing and treating the water and distributing high-quality water to customers. With the intent of improving its core business, Mesa Water performed an internal evaluation that resulted in many recommendations which, once implemented, provided a systematic process for becoming more efficient and improving performance and productivity.
Tracking Work Activities to Improve Efficiency As a result of its internal evaluation, Mesa Water identified over 125 maintenance activities of its Water Operations Department. Next, the district implemented a computerized maintenance management system -- called the Mesa Water Management System (MWMS) -- to track these maintenance activities, including ongoing or recurring activities as well as emergency or unique activities. Mesa Water then recorded each maintenance activity, the amount of resources used -- including labor, equipment, parts and materials -- and the activity’s frequency (how often the activity needs to be performed). Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department is held accountable for achieving its maintenance goals. For example, Mesa Water’s approximate 3,400 hydrants are maintained on an annual basis, following the American Water Works Association Manual of Water Supply Best Management Practices. Specific goals, such as the goal of annually maintaining 3,400 hydrants, are established in the district’s annual plan, along with being efficient with staff time (productivity) and operating within the planned budget (cost).
California Special District – May-June 2013
Mesa Water District [continued from page 23] Water’s Water Operations Department was able to become more efficient by: • Developing a standard for the average cost/time each activity takes; • Systematically managing the work effort; • Planning work for the year ahead; • Creating bi-weekly work schedules with monthly and quarterly goals; • Helping staff stay focused on accomplishing the monthly/quarterly goals; • Identifying areas needing adjustments to stay on the annual work plan; • Balancing and maximizing resources, and maximizing the lifespan of the district’s assets; and, • Ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources to meet established goals. Furthermore, by tracking its work activities, Mesa Water’s actual labor and equipment, parts and materials use can be measured against the planned labor and equipment, parts and materials in order to ensure progress towards expected results and make recommendations for improvements.
Annual Planning, Bi-Weekly Scheduling The annual work plan for Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department is organized into monthly goals. Work is evaluated each month; if the work does not comply with the plan, then staff quickly evaluates the activity and makes adjustments. Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department Supervisors hold a work scheduling and status meeting every two weeks with the Water Operations Manager to: 1) report on work accomplishments; 2) review the work costs and resources used; 3) coordinate upcoming work efforts; and, 4) make adjustments to the work schedules. This process allows Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department to perform efficiently, stay on track with its monthly goals, and proactively make changes to improve work performance and productivity, as needed, throughout the year in order to successfully meet the annual work plan.
Continuous Efficiency Improvements Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department established this process with a focus on continuous improvements in its work effectiveness and efficiency. To measure this, Mesa Water enlisted the assistance of LA Consulting, Inc. (LAC) to benchmark the Water Operations Department’s work performance compared with other similar water agencies. Taking hydrant maintenance as an example, the results with comparisons of productivity and cost were very positive. Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department time (productivity) to complete preventative maintenance on one hydrant is 26 minutes. LAC’s benchmark indicates that other similar water agencies perform the same work in 47 minutes. (See chart of average time per hydrant preventative maintenance [mw time per pm].)
According to Jerry Vilander, Water Operations Manager at Mesa Water, “Due to the MWMS, the district’s operations department has increased its productivity with improved work plans, and we are now doing more work in less time and at less cost for Mesa Water and our ratepayers.” In terms of efficient productivity and effective work performance, one of the biggest benefits to the district of using the MWMS computerized maintenance management system is enabling Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department to plan its labor and equipment, parts and materials use for each maintenance activity for an entire year ahead.
Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department cost to complete preventative maintenance on one hydrant is $31.00. LAC’s benchmark indicates that the cost of other similar water agencies performing the same work is $66.00. (See Chart Of Unit Cost Per Hydrant Preventative Maintenance [Mw Cost Per Pm].)
Results That Add Value, Benefit Ratepayers The MWMS computerized maintenance management system has provided tremendous value for Mesa Water’s customers. Mesa Water’s Water Operations staff is working smarter and getting more work done in less time, and at a lower cost, than other similar water agencies. The MWMS allows Mesa Water work effectively, within a performancebased budget, while continually improving its work efficiencies via a computerized maintenance management system that captures all resources and productivity levels. The MWMS computerized maintenance management system has also helped Mesa Water’s Water Operations Department to implement best management practices across the spectrum of services that the Department performs.
Sustainable Productivity, Effective Performance Mesa Water takes seriously its commitment to its customers and the community, making the best use of its resources and ratepayer funds. The Mesa Water Board has a “perpetual agency” philosophy and is committed to continuously improving its infrastructure, processes, and systems to better serve its public. continued on page 26
California Special District – May-June 2013
Mesa Water District [continued from page 25] “Mesa Water’s perpetual agency philosophy ensures that our water system is continually maintained, repaired and replaced on a regular basis,” says Mesa Water’s General Manager Paul E. Shoenberger, P.E. He continues, “Additionally, by maintaining accurate data of the district’s infrastructure work, the MWMS helps Mesa Water improve its operations through performance measures.”
This methodology ties directly into Mesa Water’s “perpetual agency” philosophy. By using a common approach, embracing the approach as a part of the organization’s culture, and having a succession process, Mesa Water is not only benefitting and providing value to its current customers, it is also ensuring the district’s sustainability in serving future generations of customers. In conclusion, Mesa Water’s Water Operations Manager Jerry Vilander adds, “Through the district’s cost-effective investments in improving our operations and technology, Mesa Water is ensuring the delivery of high quality, safe and reliable water to our present and future customers and community members.”
By implementing the MWMS computerized maintenance management system, Mesa Water has a formalized and systematic process for planning, organizing, scheduling, controlling, and measuring its Water Operations Department’s work to identify trends. This performance- and results-based management approach provides information that Mesa Water uses to continuously improve its work effectiveness (accomplishing goals) and efficiency (performing the work in a timely manner).
About Mesa Water District (Mesa Water) – Founded on January 1, 1960, and governed by a publicly elected five-member Board of Directors, Mesa Water is an AAA-rated independent special district that provides water service to more than 110,000 customers in an 18-square-mile area. Mesa Water serves most of Costa Mesa, parts of Newport Beach, and some unincorporated areas of Orange County, including John Wayne Airport. Dedicated to satisfying its community’s water needs, Mesa Water is now 100 percent locally reliant due to the district’s improved Mesa Water Reliability Facility returning to service in 2012. For more information, visit www.MesaWater.org, email info@MesaWater.org or call 949.631.1201.
California Special District â€“ May-June 2013
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California Special District â€“ May-June 2013
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Aircon Energy 830 West Stadium Lane Sacramento, CA 95834 (916) 922-2004 www.airconenergy.com Consulting, Utility Cost Control Experienced in helping local governments reduce energy and operating costs with comprehensive retrofit projects for their existing buildings.
Contractor Compliance and Monitoring 635 Mariners Island Blvd. Suite 200 San Mateo, CA 94404 (650) 522-4403 www.ccmi-tpa.com Labor Compliance Consulting Prevailing wage expertise on projects requiring labor compliance: Federal Davis-Bacon, Proposition 84 and State Bond funded projects. Do not jeopardize your funding. CCMI can help your agency comply with all mandatory labor compliance requirements.
Harris & Associates 1401 Willow Pass Road, Suite 500 Concord, CA 94520-1214 (925) 827-4900 www.harris-assoc.com Engineering, Planning Established in 1974, Harris serves the professional service needs of public agencies and institutions in the Western States. Service areas include planning, design, civil engineering and construction and asset management.
PARS 4350 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100 Newport Beach, CA 92660 (800) 540-6369 www.pars.org Benefits/Retirements PARS provides customized retirement plans for public agencies including, the Special District’s GASB 45 Trust Program, FICA alternatives for part-time employees, early retirement/separation incentives and enhancements to existing state retirement plans.
Don’t see your company listed here? Become a CSDA Business Affiliate member! For information on how to join and the many benefits of membership, contact Member Services Director, Cathrine Lemaire at Cathrinel@csda.net.
Rauch Communications Consultants, Inc. 936 Old Orchard Road Campbell, CA 95008 (408) 391-3117 www.rauchcc.com Facilitation, Public Involvement, Strategic Planning Rauch Communication Consultants has been serving special districts and local governments for 40 years. Our services include: Public Involvement— we are a full-service public outreach firm that with decades of experience building community support through focused and effective outreach programs. Strategic Planning — we help resolve our clients’ critical challenges, and develop overall direction and concrete action plans. Facilitating and Mediation — we help resolve difficult management problems through facilitation and counseling.
RRM Design Group 3765 South Higuera Street, Suite 102 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (805) 543-1794 www.rrmdesign.com Architecture, Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Survey RRM is an award-winning, multidiscipline design firm of over 100 professionals, including architects, civil engineers, landscape architects, planners, surveyors, and LEED accredited professionals who fill offices in San Luis Obispo, San Clemente and Santa Maria.
California Special District – May-June 2013
DRUG & ALCOHOL COMPLIANCE
DATCO Services Corporation 2280 Grass Valley Highway Auburn, CA 95603 (530) 268-8101 www.datcoservices.com Background Checks, Consulting, DOT Drug & Alcohol Compliance, Drug Free Workplace, Human Resources, Training More than 19 years’ experience providing expert administration and regulatory consulting services of drug free workplace requirements for private and public entities, with experienced technical, quality and compliance documentation and training. Full service third party administration for (DOT) Department of Transportation Drug and Alcohol Compliance. Other Services include: affordable background checks, instant drug kits, human resources guidance, supervisor and employee training on signs and symptoms of drug abuse and alcohol.
SCI Consulting Group 4745 Mangels Blvd. Fairfield, CA 94534-4175 (800) 273-5167 www.sci-cg.com Consulting, Continue Disclosure Reporting, Rate Studies, Planning Serving California special districts since 1985, SCI provides a broad range of revenue enhancement services. Services include local funding measure feasibility analysis and public opinion surveys, district-wide revenue measures, special tax and assessment district formation and annual administration, Proposition 218 compliance, development impact fee nexus studies, utility rate studies and LAFCo formation and annexation applications.
Public Policy Advocates 1015 K Street, Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95814-3803 (916) 441-0702 www.ppallc.com Consulting, Legal Public Policy Advocates is one of California’s largest lobbying firms. The firm’s eight governmental affairs professionals represent clients from both the private and public sectors. PPA currently represents over 40 clients, including CSDA.
Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) 3120 Freeboard Drive, Suite 201 West Sacramento, CA 95691 (916) 447-9832 www.rcac.org Community Facilities Loans, Infrastructure Loans, Technical Assistance, Training RCAC is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting rural communities achieve their goals and visions by providing training, technical assistance and access to resources to drinking water operators, owners and board members throughout the state.
Project Resource Specialists 1620 Candlelight Glen Escondido, CA 92029-3121 (760) 415-6148 Consulting, Government, LAFCo MSR/SOI Studies, Training With over 36 years of service experience, Harry Ehrlich provides consulting support services to local government agencies for program and project management, training and organizational studies, legislative research and policy formulation.
COST ESTIMATING Sierra West Group, LLC 2730 Gateway Oaks, Suite 110 Sacramento, CA 95833 (916) 925-4000 www.sierrawestgroup.com Cost Estimating Sierra West Group is a California based firm providing independent, unbiased advice on all matters of construction cost at every phase of design and construction. Since 1992, the firm has been involved in both the public and private sectors throughout California and the western United States.
ENGINEERING Albert A. Webb Associates 3788 McCray Street Riverside, CA 92506 (951) 686-1070 www.webbassociates.com Engineering, Planning Albert A. Webb Associates has provided high quality civil engineering services throughout Southern California. Keller/Wegley Engineering 209 South Locust Street Visalia, CA 93291 (559) 732-7938 Engineering Engineering firm that represents special districts with their irrigation, drinking water, wastewater, and water supply needs. Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Inc. 10850 Gold Center Drive, Suite 350 Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 (916) 858-2700 www.kennedyjenks.com Consulting, Engineering Complete engineering, environmental science, and architectural services, with an unusually strong commitment to tailored solutions.
CalTRUST 400 Capital Mall, Suite 702 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 440-4890 www.caltrust.org Investments CalTRUST provides local agencies with three professionally-managed pooled investment options – Money Market, Short-Term and MediumTerm – for agency general funds, bond proceeds and reserve funds. Governance and oversight is provided by local finance directors and treasurers.
Bartle Wells Associates 1889 Alcatraz Avenue Berkeley, CA 94703 (510) 653-3399 www.bartlewells.com Consulting, Financing Bartle Wells Associates is a public finance consulting firm with over 45 years of experience providing independent, objective financial advice to public agencies throughout California and the western United States. Brandis Tallman, LLC 22 Battery Street, Suite 500 San Francisco, CA 94111 (415) 912-5633 www.brandistallman.com Financing A full service investment banking firm providing underwriting and financial advisory services to California communities.
CSDA Finance Corporation 1112 I Street, Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 442-7887 www.csdafinance.net Tax-Exempt Financing CSDA Finance Corporation is a non-profit public benefit corporation established to help special districts and other public agencies with cost-effective financing programs for capital improvements, equipment purchases, land acquisitions and the refinancing of prior debt.
California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) 980 9th Street, Suite 900 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 322-1399 www.ibank.ca.gov Consulting, Financing, Government The I-Bank, a State of California financing authority, provides long-term, low-interest loans to municipal entities for a wide variety of public infrastructure. Project financing structuring and technical assistance is available. The I-Bank is also a conduit revenue bond issuer of industrial development bonds for manufacturing and processing businesses to finance buildings and equipment, and 501(c)(3) revenue bonds for nonprofit entities to finance facilities.
Utility Service Co. PO Box 1350 Perry, GA 31069 (800) 223-3695 www.utilityservice.com Engineering Utility Service provides water tank asset management programs, antenna site management, and WaterMix, a water quality management tool.
Capitol Public Finance Group 1900 Point West Way, Suite 273 Sacramento, CA 95815 (916) 641-2734 www.capitolpfg.com Financing Capitol Public Finance Group, LLC, is an independent public finance consulting firm headquartered in Sacramento, with operations in Southern California. We have an established track record for successfully advising a wide range of public agencies with strategic financial consulting services and managing various types of municipal short and long term bond offerings. Our services can be delivered on either a project basis or in a comprehensive, “one-stop shop” fashion.
Municipal Finance Corporation 2945 Townsgate Road, Suite 200 Westlake Village, CA 91361 (805) 267-7141 www.munifinance.com Financing Tax-exempt private placement financing of equipment, facilities and infrastructure Prager & Co., LLC One Maritime Plaza, Suite 1000 San Francisco, CA 94111-3404 (415) 403-1900 www.prager.com Financing, Legal Prager & Co., LLC provides strategic financial advice and debt funding solutions to California special districts and is the investment banker to the CSDA Finance Corporation. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC 1160 Marsh Street, Suite 200 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (805) 783-7942 www.wfadvisors.com/sandrawheeler Consulting, Investments
FLEET SERVICES CleanFleets.net 1822 21st Street Sacramento, CA 95811 (916) 520-6040 www.cleanfleets.net Fleet Services CleanFleets.net provides engineering, regulatory compliance, and information technology solutions to owners of diesel engines. We offer a one-stop integrated diagnostic, engineering, procurement and compliance monitoring service in diesel risk reduction.
Don’t see your company listed here? Become a CSDA Business Affiliate member! For information on how to join and the many benefits of membership, contact Member Services Director, Cathrine Lemaire at Cathrinel@csda.net.
Aleshire & Wynder, LLP 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 1700 Irvine, CA 92612 (949) 223-1170 http://www.awattorneys.com Consulting, Environmental Consulting, Legal Aleshire & Wynder, LLP is a law firm that focuses specifically on public agency representation throughout all of California. A number of our attorneys have represented public agencies for over 35 years, and many of our attorneys have served public interests in various ways. We enjoy public service and working with elected officials and professional staff.
CPS HR Consulting 241 Lathrop Way Sacramento, CA 95815 (916) 263-3614 www.cps.ca.gov Consulting, Human Resources, Recruiting, Training CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government clients. We have expertise in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development. Koff & Associates, Inc. 6400 Hollis Street, Suite 5 Emeryville, CA 94608 (510) 658-5633 www.KoffAssociates.com Business Management, Consulting, Human Resources, Recruiting, Training Koff & Associates is a human resource consulting firm specializing in the public sector. Our work includes class and comp studies, executive and staff searches, organization studies, employee relations, etc.
AlvaradoSmith, A Professional Corporation 1 MacArthur Place, Suite 200 Santa Ana, CA 92707 (714) 852-6800 www.alvaradosmith.com Consulting, Environmental Consulting, Legal Our team of attorneys has significant experience in providing advice and handling litigation involving major public and private improvement projects, environmental assessment and remediation actions, and natural resources development (water and renewable energy projects). The expertise and resources of our entire firm allow us to provide exceptional service for our clients and are committed to providing high quality, comprehensive, and creative legal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo 12800 Center Court Drive, Suite 300 Cerritos, CA 90703 (562) 653-3200 www.aalrr.com Legal Over the last two decades, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo has earned a strong reputation as one of California’s most widely respected law firms.
California Special District – May-June 2013
Bartkiewicz, Kronick & Shanahan 1011 22nd Street Sacramento, CA 95816-4907 (916) 446-4254 www.bkslawfirm.com Legal We are a Sacramento law firm founded in 1989 to represent local agencies and private clients on matters concerning water resource, land use, governmental and related issues.
NUVIS 3151 Airway Avenue, Suite J3 Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 754-7311 www.nuvis.net Project Management, Conceptual Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Construction Administration NUVIS Landscape Architecture and Planning: Over 41 years of creating experiences which connect people with their environment. A WBE/DBE/SBE professional services firm.
Bob Murray & Associates 1677 Eureka Road, Suite 202 Roseville, CA 95661 (916) 784-9080 www.bobmurrayassoc.com Human Resources Bob Murray & Associates brings a personal approach to providing quality executive recruitment services. Our clients include cities, counties, special districts and other governmental organizations, both large and small.
Bergman Dacey Goldsmith 10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 900 Los Angeles, CA 90024 (310) 470-6110 www.bdgfirm.com Legal Since 1983, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has been litigation counsel to numerous California public entities. When litigation arises, having experienced counsel on your side can often be the deciding factor. We have earned our reputation as a “no surprises” law firm. Best Best & Krieger LLP 3390 University Avenue, 5th Floor Riverside, CA 92501 (951) 686-1450 www.bbklaw.com Legal A full-service law firm focused on the legal needs of California special districts. BB&K attorneys have expertise in water supply and quality, environmental, renewable energy and construction law, public finance, rates and fees, labor and litigation. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP 21 E Carrillo Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2706 (805) 963-7000 www.bhfs.com Consulting, Legal Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP has a public agency practice which has particular expertise in water law and environmental quality. The firm represents public agencies throughout California as general and special counsel.
Gresham Savage 3750 University Avenue, Suite 250 Riverside, CA 92501 (951) 684-2171 www.greshamsavage.com Legal Gresham Savage is the widely recognized leader for business, litigation, real estate, environmental and land use law in Inland Southern California. As the regionâ€™s premier full service law firm, Gresham Savage offers expertise in employment, environmental, health care, land use, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, natural resources, real estate, transactional, and trusts and estates, as well as many other areas.
Chang, Ruthenberg & Long PC 620 Coolidge Drive, Suite 350 Folsom, CA 95630-3184 (916) 357-5660 www.seethebenefits.com Benefits/Retirement, Legal A significant portion of our practice is dedicated to the special employee benefits legal considerations that apply to local governmental entities, particularly California special districts. We advise and provide representation on all aspects of the California Pension Reform Act, plan sustainability, design, and compliance.
Goldfarb & Lipman LLP 1300 Clay Street, 11th Floor Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 836-6336 www.goldfarblipman.com Legal Goldfarb & Lipman LLP provides experienced and practical counsel to our public clients on a wide range of issues, including statutory requirements applicable to public entities, as well as procurement, construction contracting and employment matters.
Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg & Clause 8038 Haven Avenue, Suite E Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 (909) 483-1850 www.cgclaw.com Legal We are a general practice law firm offering a wide variety of legal services: litigation, Wrongful death, personal injury, construction defect, real estate, appellate, municipal law, water and wastewater and representation of special districts. Gallery & Barton, A Professional Law Corporation 1112 I Street, Suite 240 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 444-2880 www.gallerybartonlaw.com Legal Legal services associated with water rights, environmental and public agency law.
Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard 400 Capitol Mall, Floor 27 Sacramento, CA 95814-4416 (916) 321-4500 www.kmtg.com Legal Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann and Girard (KMTG) is a full service law firm providing legal services to special districts, cities, and counties throughout California. For 50 years, KMTG has provided legal expertise in all areas of public agency law.
Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP 444 South Flower Street, Suite 2400 Los Angeles, CA 90071 (951) 788-0100 www.bwslaw.com Consulting, Legal Burke represents special districts, cities, and many other public agencies throughout California. We also excel at general counsel services and litigation, including writs, trials, appeals, regulatory compliance, labor negotiations, employment, CEQA/other environmental challenges, construction disputes, eminent domain, and transactional matters.
Kidman Law LLP 2030 Main Street Suite 1300 Irvine, CA 92614 (714) 755-3100 www.kidmanlaw.com Legal Kidman Law LLP offers unsurpassed advice and representation in legal matters, with a specialty in water, environmental and governmental law. We stand for prompt, reliable and accurate legal services with a proven track record of success for our clients.
Griffith & Masuda, A Professional Law Corporation PO Box 510 Turlock, CA 95381 (209) 667-5501 www.calwaterlaw.com Legal Founded in 1920, Griffith & Masuda represents six special districts, a county, and four JPAs. Our seven water agency clients are in six different counties from Butte to Monterey. Our mission is to provide responsive, effective, and efficient legal services. Hanson Bridgett LLP 425 Market Street, 26th Floor San Francisco, CA 94105 (415) 777-3200 www.hansonbridgett.com Legal We practice areas of law such as general business and corporate law, litigation, and probate and estate planning, healthcare, construction, intellectual property, labor and employment, insurance coverage and public sector law.
Law Office of Brent Collinson 9709 Highway 267, Suite A Truckee, CA 96161-0348 (530) 587-9233 www.bcollinsonlaw.com Legal Full service law firm emphasizing the representation of special districts, business, corporation, construction, landlord/tenant issues, wills/trust/probate, family law, and adoptions. Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP 221 North Figueroa Street, Suite 1300 Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 580-6303 Legal Full-service, national law firm representing special districts and other governmental agencies (and nonprofits), with litigation, personnel, public works construction, environmental, energy, land use expertise; competitive rates.
Don’t see your company listed here? Become a CSDA Business Affiliate member! For information on how to join and the many benefits of membership, contact Member Services Director, Cathrine Lemaire at Cathrinel@csda.net.
pl Nossaman LLP 18101 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 1800 Irvine, CA 92612 (949) 833-7800 www.nossaman.com Consulting, Legal Whether it is working to build public infrastructure, provide healthcare services, entitle private development, manage natural resources, complete real estate transactions, or increase business profitability, clients count on Nossaman to get the job done.
McMurchie Law 2130 East Bidwell Street, Suite 2 Folsom, CA 95630 (916) 983-8000 www.mcmurchie.com Legal The firm is proud to have served as CSDA’s legal counsel since its formation in 1969. The firm specializes in representing a wide variety of special districts, joint powers authorities and nonprofit corporations by providing legal consultation, board and staff training, and investigative services.
Meyers Nave 555 12th Street, Suite 1500 Oakland, CA 94607 (510) 808-2000 www.meyersnave.com Legal We are a full-service law firm focused on serving the legal needs of California’s special districts including fees and assessments; elections and political law; public works contracting; employment issues; and real property acquisition.
California Special District – May-June 2013
Richards, Watson & Gershon 355 South Grand Avenue, 40th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90071-3101 (213) 626-8484 www.rwglaw.com Consulting, Legal Richards, Watson & Gershon is a full-service public law firm that has specialized in representing public sector clients since its founding in 1954. With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, and Temecula, we serve as general counsel, special counsel, and city/town attorney to public entities of all sizes and demographics throughout California. Our representation of public entities includes special districts, water districts, school districts, community services districts, cities, towns, counties, airports, joint powers authorities, and successor agencies to former redevelopment agencies (which are currently navigating dissolution pursuant AB X1 26).
Neumiller & Beardslee PO Box 20 Stockton, CA 95201-3020 (209) 948-8200 www.neumiller.com Legal Neumiller & Beardslee is a law firm that provides services to all types of special districts, cities, and counties, including as general counsel, litigation services, Proposition 218 procedures, construction contracts, and personnel matters.
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore 6033 West Century Boulevard, 5th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90045 (310) 981-2000 www.lcwlegal.com Consulting, Legal Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is a public sector employment and labor law firm representing management for more than 30 years. LCW provides general counsel, labor and litigation advice and assistance to special districts in all matters including representation, litigation services, negotiations, local government law and employment relations, construction and business and facilities. Members of the Firm have first-hand experience and in-depth understanding of the special demands of labor relations and employment law as they apply to special districts. LCW also offers expert management training workshops on these issues.
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 405 Howard Street San Francisco, CA 94105 (415) 773-5480 www.orrick.com Legal Providing bond counsel and disclosure counsel services to cities, counties and special districts throughout California.
MCE Corporation 6515 Trinity Court Dublin, CA 94568 (925) 452-2709 www.mce-corp.com Facilities Maintenance, Park/Landscape Maintenance, Storm Drain/Flood Control Maintenance, Street Maintenance, Drainage, Paving, Concrete MCE Corporation was established in 1983. MCE’s Maintenance Division directly performs traditional public works maintenance to agencies throughout California in addition to providing complete maintenance management services, including budgeting, cost analysis, work order systems, quality assurance programs and other management assistance as a consultant. MCE is an employee owned company where every employee is a stakeholder. The Construction Division performs asphalt and concrete repair, primarily in the Bay Area and Central Valley.
Buyers Guide PURCHASING
Ward-Young Architecture & Planning 12010 Donner Pass Road, Suite 201 Truckee, CA 96161 (530) 587-3859 www.wyarch.com Architecture, Planning Design excellence, personal attention, cost awareness, and the high level of professional integrity are the foundations upon which client relationships are built at Ward-Young Architecture and Planning.
US Communities 2999 Oak Road, Suite 710 Walnut Creek, CA 94597 (949) 769-4184 www.uscommunities.org Discount Purchasing U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance is a government purchasing cooperative that reduces the cost of goods and services by aggregating the purchasing power of public agencies nationwide.
Creative Media Group, LLC 4400 Lime Avenue Long Beach, CA 90807 (562) 618-0071 www.cmg-llc.com PR/Marketing Creative Media Group, LLC serves the public relations needs of corporate, government and nonprofit clients by providing quality insight and expert advice delivered by a skilled network of experienced practitioners throughout California.
Hunter Squared PO Box 338 Bangor, CA 95914 (530) 679-0112 www.huntersquared.com Public/Community Outreach, PR/Communications, Marketing Strategies, Recruitment, Social Media Programs, Staffing
Black Mountain Software, Inc. 145 Southlake Crest, Suite 1 Polson, MT 59860 (800) 353-8829 www.blackmountainsoftware.com Computer Software At the hub of Black Mountain Software is the Accounting suite which comes with General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Journal Entries, and hundreds of reports. It connects Billing, Receipting, Payroll, Fixed Assets, Budget Preparation, and all other applications. The Software utilizes the GASB34 reporting model including the GASB Statement of Net Assets and the Statement of Activities. Black Mountain Software currently serves airport, waste management, library, irrigation, utility, mosquito, cemetery, sanitary/wastewater, fire protection, and water districts nationwide.
Special District Risk Management Authority 1112 I Street, Suite 300 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 231-4141 www.sdrma.org Risk Management, Coverages Our member focused mission is to provide renewable, efficiently priced risk financing and risk management services for public agencies. Coverages include property and liability, workers’ compensation and health benefits.
Communication Advantage PO Box 189573 Sacramento, CA 95818 (916) 930-0445 www.martyboyer.com Crisis Management, Government, PR/Marketing, Strategic Communications Planning, Training Communication Advantage is an independent communications consulting firm serving its members with a variety of public engagement and communications services.
Regional Government Services/Local Government Services PO Box 1350 Carmel Valley, CA 93924 (650) 587-7302 www.rgs.ca.gov Human Resources, Interim Staffing, Project Management, Rate Studies, Recruiting, Staffing Services, Training Regional Government Services Authority provides services only to other local governments. Our highly experienced staff have solutions to operational or workload challenges, including employer services and employee benefits, sharing staff to reduce costs, and HR and Financial consulting (e.g. training, classification, recruitment and operational reviews).
California CAD Solutions, Inc. PO Box 4779 Modesto, CA 95352-4779 (209) 578-5580 www.calcad.com Construction, Technology California CAD Solutions, Inc. specializes in GIS implementations that are deemed impossible. CCS maintains a highly qualified staff of GIS professionals providing cost effective, “downto-earth” approaches to GIS. Call to schedule an appointment today. Enterprise Networking Solutions, Inc. (ENS-Inc) 3054 Fite Circle #106 Sacramento, CA 95827 (916) 369-7567 www.ens-inc.com Cloud Computing, Consulting, IT Management, Offsite Backup Services A premier CA State IT solutions provider, ENS-Inc develops & deploys proven reliable & scalable technology solutions with key expertise in Virtualization, Cloud Integration, SharePoint®, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery.
Davenport Institute, Pepperdine School of Public Policy 24255 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90263 (310) 506-8054 www.publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu Training The Davenport Institute supports and promote public participation on local policy-making through consulting and training. We offer training on public engagement and facilitation skills.
Parcel Quest 2330 E. Bidwell Street, #200 Folsom, CA 95630 (916) 817-2211 www.parcelquest.com Computer Software, Technology Solutions CD-Data/Parcel Quest provides county direct property data and maps to businesses, individuals and government agencies.
Smartmuni.com 32565 B Golden Lantern, Suite 289 Dana Point, CA 92629 (855) 697-6278 www.smartmuni.com Cloud Computing, Computer Software, Technology Solutions Smartmuni.com is online district administration software that gives you the ability to create, manage and report on Special Districts.
California Special District – May-June 2013
UTILITY COST CONTROL Utility Cost Management LLC 6475 N Palm Avenue, Suite 105 Fresno, CA 93704 (559) 261-9230 www.utilitycostmanagement.com Consulting, Energy, Utility Cost Control Utility Cost Management LLC is a firm that seeks to reduce clients’ electricity, gas, water, sewer and solid waste charges through the informed application of utility regulations.
Tyler Technologies - INCODE, MUNIS, EDEN & Fundbalance PO Box 527 Sherwood, OR 97140 (866) 256-9077 www.tylertech.com Computer Hardware, Computer Software, Document Management, Technology Solutions Tyler Technologies is the largest company in the US exclusively focused on providing integrated software & technology services to the Public Sector and specializes in Financial Management, Payroll/HR, Document Management, Citizen Services & Utility Billing.
Incrementum 4130 Cahuenga Boulevard, Suite 210 North Hollywood, CA 91602 (310) 586-7500 www.incrementum.us.com Document Management, Document Scanning Solutions, Technology Solutions At Incrementum our goal is to help organizations run more efficiently and become more environmentally friendly. We achieve this by reducing dependence on paper-based processes and conventional filing systems.
TruePoint Solutions 3262 Penryn Road, Suite 100-B Loomis, CA 95650 (916) 577-1470 www.truepointsolutions.com Computer Software, Technology Solutions TruePoint Solutions is a software and services company focused on Water Management Solutions. TruePoint has developed a Billing solution (TrueBill) to handle both Consumption and Assessment Billing functions in conjunction with other standard A/R features.
Government Technology Solutions 4110 Business Drive #A Shingle Springs, CA 95682-7230 (530) 677-1333 www.gvtechsolutions.com Computer Software, Technology Solutions Government Technology Solutions provides best of breed network security solutions including: firewall, anti-virus, VPN, IDS, anti-spam, information security management, and identity management.
[Solutions & Innovations]
Staff sharing: Resource conservation districts share staff to provide efficient, quality, services at a lower cost By Katie Haldeman, Environmental Scientist, Cachuma and Ventura County Resource Conservation Districts
than eight total staff people, to support a full-time staff person that can fulfill these job roles.
Therefore, “staff-sharing” between a neighboring RCD can become an attractive option for both the district and the employee. This employee can utilize knowledge learned at one district to develop programs at the other district. He or she can also leverage knowledge and experience during grant application preparation to prepare multiple applications for both districts.
The Cachuma and Ventura County Resource Conservation Districts (CRCD & VCRCD) currently utilize staff-sharing for their grant-writing and some of their grant management and program development needs. The CRCD covers Santa Barbara County, and some of Kern and San Luis Obispo County, while the VCRCD’s purview is the adjacent Ventura County. The staff-sharing need first arose when the VCRCD was about to begin work under a Proposition 84 Agricultural Water Quality Grant with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. VCRCD’s Executive Officer needed someone who could manage the grant and help prepare the necessary deliverables and technical documents associated with the project. As the CRCD Executive Director had been working with an independent contractor on grant development, the director became aware that the VCRCD needed assistance with grant management. As the CRCD would be beginning a Prop 84 grant in the near future, the intent was to create a shared staff situation whereby the staff person could gain the knowledge and experience of working on a Prop 84 grant. From these beginnings, the staff sharing arrangement has grown into a full-time position and has led to successful acquisition of various grants and development of new programs.
the cost of doing business and having employees in California ever increasing, as well as a trend towards more sustainable business practices, special districts need to be continually looking for ways to work together to leverage each other’s strengths, skills and staffing resources. Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are special districts born out of a government response to the “Dirty ‘30’s” of the Dust Bowl era. Unlike its federal counterpart, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which is funded through congressionally authorized Farm Bills, the RCDs do not have a steady source of funding, save for a variable tax base in some districts. As a result, RCDs typically look for sources of public and private grant funds to sustain their operations and develop new programs. Grants operate in cycles that can leave gaps between funding sources and also insubstantial funds to support a full-time grant manager. Government grant applications also take specialized skills and knowledge to prepare and can require a significant chunk of staff time and coordination effort. Although it is important to have someone on the RCD team who can both prepare grant application and manage those grants, it can be difficult for an RCD, many of which have fewer
In addition to collaboration on grant development and management, there are various benefits to the RCD that result from the staff-sharing arrangement. These include the ability to share the costs of sending an employee to a training event, sharing the costs of equipment and phone services for the employee, knowledge of upcoming regulations that may already be in place in one county or region and may be moving to the next
Share your Solutions & Innovations Do you have a new program, process or facility that increases efficiency, reduces costs, improves service or otherwise helps make your community a better place to live? California Special District wants to know about it! Contact Nicole Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org or (877) 924-2732.
not only allows for better time management for the employee, but also allows for juggling work ebb and flow. Remote access to the office server is very useful for an employee who is not in the office on a daily basis, as is a smartphone, which can help give greater access to the employee and greater productivity while in the field, on trainings events, etc. An employee with self-discipline and the focus to work from home and manage multiple tasks is an ideal type of employee for this position!
From both the districts’ perspective and the employee’s perspective, this staff sharing arrangement has been a great success, as evidenced by recent successful grant applications developed out of district collaboration and new joint grant applications in development between the districts. There are various keys to success for this type of arrangement. At the top of the list is communication. Expectations of the employee and the employer must be continuously communicated. Both district directors should be able to work together and communicate each other’s needs from the employee. All parties should be prepared for the occasional last minute changes as different issues arise. Proactively scheduling and prioritizing tasks are also important, both week-by-week and on a quarterly basis, which
county, and the availability of a full-time staff person for less cost in staff time and benefits. The benefits to the employee of this staff sharing situation include a flexible schedule, the potential to work out of a home office, the ability to attend more training events, varied and interesting work assignments, more experience in project management and grant application preparation, more hours than a part-time position, and the ability to balance the ebb and flow of the work load between districts.
Special DiStrictS get Special toolS in the weSt.
For the CSDA District Purchasing Card that can improve expense control and cash flow, go west. • Streamline your procurement process for potentially greater efficiency • Monitor employee spending that may help control costs • Receive reporting online that may save time To sign up today, please call (866) 588-1358
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California Special District – May-June 2013
All this and creek restoration too: Napa Sanitation District expands mission to include creek stewardship By Darcy Aston, Management Analyst/Outreach Coordinator, Napa Sanitation District
November sun slanted through the row of trees along the ranch road as a group of third graders made their way towards Suscol Creek. The kids skipped and danced down the road, excited to get started on their project. Their objective? To install native plants along the banks of Suscol Creek, as part of a restoration project spearheaded by the Napa Sanitation District (NSD).
Napa Sanitation District isn’t normally in the creek restoration business, but the district owns two ranch properties that are used for distribution of recycled water and biosolids, both bi-products of the wastewater treatment process. Suscol Creek flows through one of these properties, the former Somky Ranch, which sprawls along the Napa River south of Highway 29. A local environmental group in Napa has been monitoring steelhead trout in Suscol Creek since 2004, and has identified
the creek as important habitat for this threatened species. The reach of Suscol Creek running through Somky Ranch was overgrown with Himalayan Blackberry, an invasive non-native plant that chokes out native vegetation and limits access to the creek for both humans and wildlife. “Our mission is to safely treat wastewater and protect public health, but we also want to be good stewards of the land we manage,” points out District General Manager Tim Healy. “Neighboring landowners have implemented restoration along their creek banks, and we wanted to do our part.” The district is also poised to receive Fish Friendly Farming Certification for the Somky ranch, a distinction conferred on properties where the land is actively managed in ways that protect water quality and fish habitat. “Preserving the Napa River for Generations to Come’ is a motto at NSD,” notes Healy. “We
Share your community connections Is your district interacting with the community in a new and original way? California Special District wants to know about it! Contact Nicole Dunn at email@example.com or (877) 924-2732.
immediately signed on with the project, and NSD provided the buses to bring students out to the creek.
The district got busy along Suscol Creek in spring 2011, when a crew began removing the abundant and tenacious blackberry vines from the creek banks. Native trees were carefully cut free of their thorny cloak, and trash was pulled from the creek bed.
Once they were assembled at the restoration site, the students watched a demonstration on how to install the native plants. Konakis showed them how to prepare their hole and carefully remove the small plants from their pots. Next, the kids learned the best way to “tuck the plants in,” carefully filling the hole with earth and placing weed cloth and plant tubes around the plants for protection.
Once the blackberry vines had been beaten into submission, an important step remained: restoring the native plants that had been edged out by the blackberry. The now-barren creek side had once been the site of a native riparian forest – plants and trees that are adapted to grow in proximity to the creek. This forest provides food and shelter for wildlife, as well as protecting creek banks from high water flows.
do that through excellent wastewater treatment, but we also wanted to follow suit with our land management activities.”
“Weed cloth surrounds each plant to keep out the competing plants,” Aston points out. “We got some empty burlap coffee bean sacks from Napa Recycling and Waste Services, and used those instead.” Hence a waste product becomes a useful tool in the restoration project – these are the kinds of connections that NSD and Pueblo Vista want the students to make.
Working with the Napa County Flood Control District, NSD came up with a restoration plan. “We had to imagine what had once grown along Suscol Creek, based on healthy creek habitat elsewhere in the Napa Valley, and then replant with those native plants,” explains Darcy Aston, outreach coordinator for the district. This is where the Napa students came into the picture. While crafting the restoration project, the district contacted Pueblo Vista Elementary School, an environmental sciences magnet school. “Our program is based on hands-on, experiential learning,” affirms Steve Konakis, lead teacher at Vista 360º. “This type of project gets our students out there in the community, learning about watersheds and how we can get involved in making things better.” The school
California Special District – May-June 2013
Set loose from the planting demonstration, teams of students ran off to claim a hole where a colored flag told them which plant should be installed there. Teachers, volunteers and parents roamed among the exuberant kids, offering planting tips and helping operate the large shovels. Oaks, buckeyes and elderberry trees went into the ground, along with native shrubs like snowberry and coyote brush. The plants were purchased with a grant from the Napa County Wildlife Conservation Commission. Over the next three years, the plants will be irrigated with recycled water until they are established. The restoration site is within view of NSD’s wastewater treatment plant, so the students also had questions about
“the poop factory.” It provided a great opportunity for them to learn about how wastewater becomes recycled water. The day wasn’t all work though. Students also got to play games that complemented their hands-on planting activity. “‘Steal the Native Plant’ mimics ‘Steal the flag’,” explains Stephanie Turnipseed, education coordinator for the Napa Valley Resource Conservation District. “The kids learn the plant names so they can win the game, and they love it!” Outdoor education specialist Jonny Elhers, who works with Vista 360º on program development, led the kids in acting out the life cycle of a plant. After four hours, tired third graders piled back on the bus. Many native plants were now in the ground, and the Suscol Creek restoration project was well underway. Would they do it again? “We want to come back – this is the most fun field trip we’ve ever had!” pronounced one student, while another summed it up: “We got to help nature!” Lucky for the students at Pueblo Vista, the district and the school plan to continue their partnership by including the students in future monitoring and maintenance of the restoration site.
Legal Brief Compensatory Time Off: Potential Pitfalls for the Unwary By Mark Meyerhoff, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
Many special districts negotiate agreements with employee associations that give employees the right to earn compensatory time off (CTO) in lieu of cash for overtime. CTO time is fairly new. Up until 1985, compensation for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has to be made in the form of a cash payment. However, due to amendments to the FLSA, compensation for FLSA overtime can now be made in the form of compensatory time off. The restrictions and conditions that apply to CTO time requires public agencies to ensure compliance with the FLSA when offering CTO time to employees.
First, it is important to note that the FLSA only applies to FLSA CTO time. This means that the federal law only applies to hours that are accrued for working FLSA overtime, or time that a non-exempt employee works more than a specified number of hours in an FLSA work period. Many agencies, however, grant CTO time for time worked that is not FLSA overtime. For example, agencies may give an employee CTO time for working on weekends or holidays, for working on-call time, for working special assignments, etc. If CTO time is given for reasons other than for working FLSA overtime, the FLSA does not govern. Second, CTO time must be credited at time and onehalf. In other words, for every hour of FLSA overtime the employee must have his “CTO bank” credited with one and a half hours. Third, the FLSA has established “caps” on hours beyond which FLSA overtime must be paid in cash and not CTO time. The “caps” vary based on the type of work
regularly performed by the employee when working FLSA overtime hours that are credited as CTO. Employees that earn FLSA overtime while regularly performing public safety activities or emergency response activities can accumulate up to a cap of 480 CTO hours. A cap of 480 CTO hours also applies to employees regularly engaged in seasonal activities, or activities performed by employees whose job includes, on a regular and recurring basis, work during periods of significantly increased demand, where, during such peak periods, the projected overtime hours are likely to result in the accumulation of more than the regular “cap” of 240 CTO hours. Employees that may be deemed to be engaged in seasonal activities are employees regularly assigned to work in community centers, sports facilities, or other similar facilities. For all other jobs, the “cap” is 240 hours. These “caps” are maximums only, and lower “caps” may be negotiated. There are no “caps” for nonFLSA CTO. Fourth, once CTO time is given to an employee, must employers allow the employee to use it at the employees’ option? This question is often asked by both employees and agencies alike.
DOL stated that the regulations relating to CTO time would remain unchanged, “consistent with [DOL’s] longstanding position that employees are entitled to use compensatory time on the date requested absent undue disruption to the agency.”
Accordingly, there still remains a disparity between the Ninth Circuit (which applies in California) and the Department of Labor. This disparity will only be resolved if the US Supreme Court decides to review the issue. In the meantime, although California public employers may continue to follow the Ninth Circuit’s decision which permits them to define a reasonable window of time in which an employee may use CTO time, employees may challenge this practice by relying upon the DOL’s comments to the 2011 regulations. Thus, the inconsistency between the 9th Circuit and the DOL in the interpretation of the same provision of the law, creates some risk for California employers in the denial of CTO. An employer’s improper denial of an employee’s request to use CTO can result in liquidated (up to double) damages to the employee. We believe that until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, following the Mortensen case, likely remains safe, but like so much of the FLSA, it is not entirely clear.
In 1987, the Department of Labor (DOL) implemented regulations to enforce the CTO provision of the FLSA, Section 7(o). Per the regulation, an employee who requests to use accumulated CTO is permitted to use such time “within a reasonable period” after making the request. If the employer cannot grant the CTO request within a reasonable period, the denial of the request will be unlawful unless the employer can demonstrate that granting the request would “unduly disrupt” its operations.
The terms “within a reasonable period” and “unduly disrupt” have been the subject of much debate. The DOL has interpreted its regulations as requiring that an employee’s request for compensatory time on a specific date be granted unless doing so would unduly disrupt the agency’s operations. However, mere inconvenience to the employer is insufficient to deny an employee’s request to take CTO on the basis that it would be unduly disruptive. Rather, what constitutes “undue disruption” will likely depend upon the circumstances.
These are not all of the potential legal issue raised by CTO time and agencies should make sure they are in compliance with the FLSA and their own rules and agreements.
The continuing debate regarding the terms “within a reasonable period” and “unduly disrupt” was addressed by the Ninth Circuit in Mortensen v. County of Sacramento (9th Cir. 2004) 368 F.3d 1082. In Mortensen, the Court held that an employer does not need to allow an employee to use accrued CTO on the specific day requested by the employee, but can instead honor the request by providing alternative dates within a reasonable time period after the request to use compensatory time is made. Thus, once an employee requests the use of CTO, the employer has a reasonable period of time to grant the request.
The seemingly clear rule established by Mortensen was recently called into question by new DOL regulations that took effect on May 5, 2011. Though the final rules did not include any changes relating to when an employee could lawfully take CTO time, the
California Special District – May-June 2013
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Fees waived for new District of Distinction applicants At their recent subcommittee meeting, the Special District Leadership Foundation approved waiving application fees for all new District of Distinction applications in 2013. Depending on your district budget this could be a savings of up to $1000. You can view the complete District of Distinction application online at www.sdlf.org, along with a current list of Districts of Distinction and guidelines for formulating sound policies.
In a time where proper fiscal management and responsibility in public agencies is paramount, and the task of governing these agencies has become even more complex, regulated and costly, it is increasingly important to demonstrate that districts have sound fiscal management policies and practices in place.
The District of Distinction accreditation is designed as a way for districts to highlight their prudent fiscal practices, along with other areas important to effectively operating and governing a special district.
Why become a District of Distinction?
The accreditation criterion gets to the heart of best practices in public agencies. Demonstrate that your district: • Understands and respects the responsibilities inherent in providing essential public services. • Has clean financial audits and operates in a fiscally responsible and transparent manner. • Is conscious of the ever-changing operating environment by having current and relevant policies and procedures in place that conform to all statutes and regulations under state law. • Places an emphasis on continuing education by having each of the district’s board members and executive staff in ethics, governance and leadership training. • Focuses on having sound policies in the areas of governance, board conduct, district finances, transparency and reserves.
Stanley Caldwell, Mt. View Sanitary District Jo MacKenzie, Vista Irrigation District Sherry Sterrett, Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District
SDRMA Appointees Special District Leadership Foundation 1112 I Street, Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95814 www.sdlf.org
Congratulations for completion of the following SDLF programs in 2013: District of Distinction
• Olivenhain Municipal Water District (reaccreditation) – April 2013 Special District Administrators (SDA)
• Tim Deutsch of the Orange County Cemetery District (renewal) – March 2013 Recognition in Special District Governance
• Al Morrissette of the Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District – February 2013 Transparency Certificate of Excellence
• Contra Costa Water District – April 2013 • Olivenhain Municipal Water District – April 2013
Neil McCormick, Administrator Megan Hemming, Program Manager Charlotte Lowe, Program Assistant Rick Wood, Finance Manager
David Aranda, SDA, North of the River Municipal Water District Muril Clift, Cambria Community Services District Jean Bracy, SDA, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District
Public Member Appointees
Katie Kolitsos, Chief Consultant, Assembly Local Government Committee April Manatt, April Manatt Consulting Geoffrey Neill, California State Association of Counties
Special District Leadership Foundation Programs promoting good governance.
SHOWCASE YOUR DISTRICTâ€™S COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY
District Transparency Certificate of Excellence
The District Transparency Certificate of Excellence is a standalone program of SDLF and made available to districts that apply and meet certain requirements. It is also a required component of the District of Distinction Accreditation. This program was created in an effort to promote transparency in the operations and governance of specials districts to the public and to provide special districts with an opportunity to showcase their efforts in transparency.
For more information and an application, visit www.sdlf.org or call 916.231.2939.
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The Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) is a an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote good governance and best practices among Californiaâ€™s special districts through certification, accreditation and other recognition programs.The SDLF and its activities are supported through the California Special Districts Association and Special District Risk Management Authority.
CSDA News [continued] Food Experience Reception, where attendees will have the opportunity to sample delicious food and wine pairings featuring fresh local ingredients.
CSDA thanks this year’s current sponsors and exhibitors: The Special District Risk Management Authority, The Special District Leadership Foundation, The California Special Districts Alliance, Contractor Compliance & Monitoring, US Communities, and Nossaman LLP. Companies interested in sponsor and exhibit opportunities can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this year’s Summit, the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) will present a keynote presentation featuring Brent Ives of BHI Management Consulting, “Bringing Out The Best In Your Board – How to Prepare, Interact and Communicate.” The Special District Risk Management Authority (SDRMA) has returned this year as sponsor of the Wine &
Special District Staff Leaders Gather this Summer in Newport Beach
a way for leaders to network with their peers while attending educational sessions on governance best practices, state laws, human resource issues, budgeting, risk management, succession planning and more!
General managers and other staff members from special districts throughout the state will gather this summer in Newport Beach at the General Manager Leadership Summit, July 14 – 16. The General Manager Leadership Summit, now in its second year, was created as
CSDA’s Business Affiliates CSDA gratefully relies on the generous support of all Business Affiliates
CSDA Finance Corporation www.csdafinance.net Enterprise Networking Solutions, Inc. www.ens-inc.com Meyers Nave www.meyersnave.com Special District Risk Management Authority www.sdrma.org
Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP www.bwslaw.com California CAD Solutions, Inc. www.calcad.com CPS HR Consulting www.cps.ca.gov HdL Coren & Cone www.hdlcompanies.com MCE Corporation www.mce-corp.com PARS www.pars.org
For more information about all CSDA Business Affiliates, see the Buyer’s Guide at www.csda.net. To learn more about becoming a CSDA Business Affiliate or participating at a higher level, contact our office at 877.924.2732.
For additional information on the event program, attendee registration and hotel reservations, visit www.csda.net. An early registration discount is available through June 14, 2013.
A special thank you to:
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• Buildings, Land & Equipment
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Safety Claims/Education day, driver pull program and legal update SDRMA Driver Pull Program
SDRMA participates in the DMV Employer Pull Program and provides the complimentary service to members of our Property/Liability Package Program. Participating SDRMA members submit the names of qualified employee drivers to SDRMA’s Member Services department and the employee’s name is added to the Pull Notice list. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued guideline regarding the submission of employee names for the Pull Program.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank all of the attendees and presenters at the March 23 SDRMA Safety Claims/Education Day, held at the Sacramento Hilton. There were a total of 172 attendees at the conference. CSDA Governance Foundation held a separate workshop with 22 attendees.
The sessions and presenters were: • TargetSolutions Update Kelly Zielinski • EEOC/DFEH Employment Practices Steve Werth, Low Ball & Lynch; David King, Law Offices of David King; Dennis Timoney, ARM-Chief Risk Officer • Workers’ Compensation SB 863 Update Katy Harp, York RSG; Mark Peterson, Kurt Peterson and Emanuel Bagnas of the Law Offices of D ’Andre, Peterson, Bobus & Rosenberg • Property/Liability Claims Reporting Barbara Tyler, CCLA-Claims/Loss Prevention Manager • Using MemberPlus Online portal Greg Hall, ARM-CEO • Workers’ Compensation Claims Reporting Dennis Timoney, ARM-Chief Risk Officer; • Property Scheduling & Claims Ellen Doughty, Manager of Member Services and Barbara Tyler, CCLA-Claims/ Loss Prevention Manager; • Safety Awareness Bob Lapidus, CSP, Lapidus Safety Consulting.
A critical criterion is that driving either a District or personal vehicle is an essential function of the position. An employer who requires an employee to provide Driver License information for inclusion in the Pull Notice Program when driving is not an essential function of the position, may be in violation of state and/or federal disability discrimination laws. The employer must evaluate each job description to determine the essential job requirements and determine if driving is the objective to be accomplished or an incidental means to accomplish the job. SDRMA staff reviews the DMV Pull Notices on a daily basis and notifies the employer when a restriction, suspension or endorsement notification has been placed on the employee’s license. It is the goal of SDRMA’s Safety/Loss Prevention Department in providing your agency with this information to: • Increase driver safety; • Reduce claims; • Schedule employees for on-line driver safety training; • Meet required Certification Compliance; • Reduce your agency’s annual contribution amount to
SDRMA’s next Education Day will take place at CSDA’s Annual Conference in Monterey on Wednesday, September 18, 2013.
A proud California Special Districts Alliance partner.
David Aranda, President, North of the River Municipal Water District Jerry Ledbetter, Vice President, Alameda County Water District Muril Clift, Secretary, Cambria Community Services District Special District Risk Management Authority 1112 I Street, Suite 300 Sacramento, CA 95814 tel: 800.537.7790 www.sdrma.org
Members of the Board
Jean Bracy, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District Terry Burkhart, Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency Ed Gray, Chino Valley Independent Fire District Sandy Raffleson, Herlong Public Utility District
Lauren Brant, Public Financial Management Ann Siprelle, Best Best & Krieger, LLP David McMurchie, McMurchie Law John Alltop, Bickmore Risk Services & Consulting Charice Huntley, River City Bank James Marta, CPA, Auditor Karl Snearer, Apex Insurance Agency Doug Wozniak, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
Gregory S. Hall, ARM, Chief Executive Officer C. Paul Frydendal, CPA, Chief Financial Officer Dennis Timoney, ARM, Chief Risk Officer Barbara Tyler, CCLA, Claims/Loss Prevention Manager Nicole Rushing, Finance Manager Ellen Doughty, Manager of Member Services Karen Lafferty, AIC, Senior Claims Examiner Shawn Vang, Accounting Technician Wendy Tucker, Member Services Specialist II Alana Batzianis, Health Benefits Specialist Rachel Saldana, Administrative Assistant
Third District rejected plaintiff’s purported reliance on the City of Moorpark case because that case did not decide the ultimate issue of whether section 132(a) could serve as the basis for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Rather, it only determined that section 132(a) was not an exclusive remedy. The Dutra court referenced language in the City of Moorpark case in which the California Supreme Court outlined the considerations to be made in determining whether a policy can support a common law wrongful termination claim. One of the factors referenced by the Moorpark court was any restrictions or limitations in scope or remedy contained in the purported public policy. In other words, the Dutra court explained that the common law cause of action cannot be broader than the constitutional provision or statute on which it depends.
In the recent decision of Dutra v. Mercy Medical Center of Mt. Shasta (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 750, the Court of Appeal for the Third District issued a decision that is a win for employers in that the court held California Labor Code section 132(a) that extends protection to employees injured in the course of their employment cannot be the basis for a tortious termination in violation of public policy claim. The Dutra court held that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”) has sole jurisdiction for such claims.
The plaintiff, Michelle Dutra, filed an action against her former employer for defamation and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. She claimed that the trial court had jurisdiction to try her cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of Labor Code section 132(a), which prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for sustaining an injury in the course and scope of their employment. In pursuing such claim, Ms. Dutra sought to rely on the California Supreme Court case of City of Moorpark v. Superior Court (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1133, in which the California Supreme Court opined that section 132(a)’s vesting of jurisdiction in the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to adjudicate violations of its terms, did not establish an exclusive remedy, thereby leaving to an employee the ability to pursue common law remedies. The dispute in the Dutra case was whether or not such common law remedies included using section 132(a) as the basis for a tortious termination in violation of public policy claim. Under California law, tortious termination cases must be based on public policy set out in statutes, legislation, or other wellestablished public policies. The Third District disagreed with the plaintiff employee, concluding that a violation of section 132(a) cannot be the basis of a tort action for wrongful termination. The Third District explained that section 132(a) grants to the WCAB jurisdiction to remedy violations and it is vested with full power, authority, and jurisdiction to try and determine finally all matters specified in that statutory section, subject only to judicial review. The
California Special District – May-June 2013
Using this principle to analyze the scope of section 132(a), the Dutra court pointed to limiting language in that statutory section as defeating the ability to use it as a public policy violation. Section 132(a) establishes a specific procedure and form for addressing a violation and limits the remedies that are available once a violation is established. The Dutra court opined that allowing plaintiff to pursue a tort cause of action based on a violation of section 132(a) would impermissibly broaden the remedies and procedures that the Legislature had determined should be limited as evidenced by the language of the statute. The Dutra case provides an important shield for employers in defending themselves from a slew of claims from terminated employees who claim retaliation for filing workers’ compensation claims. Nonetheless, the Dutra court made clear that common law remedies are still available to plaintiffs who file workers’ compensation claims and that part of the reason the plaintiff in that case did not prevail was that she failed and refused to allege alternate causes of action such as those for disability discrimination. Therefore, while this case takes one important arrow out of plaintiffs’ “quiver,” plaintiffs who are retaliated against for filing workers’ compensation claims maintain and will most certainly continue to pursue other remedies. Reprinted from Borton Petrini Labor & Employment Law Newsletter, Spring 2013
For additional information or questions regarding this article please contact SDRMA Chief Risk Officer Dennis Timoney, ARM at 800-537-7790 or email Dennis at email@example.com
Money Matters What is a “prudent reserve” for a district?
By Russ Powell, Senior Vice President, Economic & Planning Systems, Inc.
Special districts, generally speaking, develop fund reserves to guard against the unexpected. Natural disasters, unexpected infrastructure failure, or the nuances of short-term revenue cash flow may require the use of reserves. Having adequate reserves on which to draw can ease a special district’s burden in what otherwise might be a time of crisis. In establishing reserve funds, special districts often network with one another to inform appropriate reserve levels. While gathering input from peers on appropriate reserve levels provides a means from which to draw comparisons, it may not provide enough specific information on which to base the reserve needs of your particular special district.
The informal surveys often inquire about reserve policies in terms of a measurable metric, such as percentage of total budget, percentage of total assets, annual debt service requirements, or another metric. However, because no two special districts, even if they provide similar services, will necessarily have the same reserve requirements, there really is no uniform metric a special district should use to determine appropriate reserves levels. In addition, the use of metrics may not provide
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sufficient transparency to constituents as to the true merits to maintaining a reserve. This point is illustrated by the report, “Special Districts: Relics of the Past or Resources for the Future?” published by the Little Hoover Commission in 2000. This report included a section on reserves of special districts with this finding: “Hundreds of independent special districts have banked multimillion–dollar reserves that are not well publicized and often not considered in regional or statewide infrastructure planning.” This prompted the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) to assemble the CSDA Reserve Guidelines Task Force in 2001. While CSDA disagreed with the findings of the Little Hoover Commission, there was recognition that there may be a common perception amongst the public, state Legislature, and state agencies that special districts were relying on insufficient information for determining and maintaining specified special district reserve levels. In 2001, the CSDA Reserve Guidelines Task Force prepared the first edition of the “Special District Reserve
Jo MacKenzie, President, Vista Irrigation District James Acosta, Vice President, Saticoy Sanitary District Scott Dowell, Secretary, Chico Area Recreation and Park District
CSDA Finance Corporation 1112 I Street, Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95814 tel: 877.924.CSDA www.csdafinance.net
Members of the Board
Neil McCormick, Administrator Cathrine Lemaire, Program Manager Charlotte Lowe, Executive Assistant Rick Wood, Finance Manager
Scott Dowell, Chico Area Recreation and Park District Paul Hughes, South Tahoe Public Utilities District John Martin, Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District Larry Peterson, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District
CSDA Finance Corporation Finances the Finishing Touches for Pleasant Hill RPD Projects
Guidelines.” A task force was reconvened in 2012 to review the first edition and to update the booklet, given current political concerns regarding accumulation of reserves by special districts. The updated guidelines, which were published in February, were prepared as a tool for special districts to create or update their reserve policies to establish and maintain prudent reserve levels.
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David McMurchie, McMurchie Law Josephine Libunao, BNY Mellon Trust Co., NA William Morton, Municipal Finance Corporation Saul Rosenbaum, Prager & Co., LLC Jeff Stava, Nossaman, LLP
While the focus of the Little Hoover Commission was special districts that seemingly had developed reserves deemed to be too large, the task force also recognized there are pressures, primarily political in nature, to underfund reserves. The task force identified at least one enterprise special district that significantly underfunded its reserves because its board of directors was pressured by rate payers to maintain low rates. The community served by this special district primarily was made up of low-wage earners and retirees. A single equipment failure caused the special district to use its entire reserve fund for repairs.
Recently Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District completed construction of their new Teen and Senior Centers. The buildings were built with a bond measure that could be used only for construction. Furnishing and equipping each of these beautiful new buildings was beyond the scope of the original bond.
To ensure special districts developed prudent reserve levels, the task force developed key principles for developing a reserve policy: • Identify the uniqueness of the district. • Form a complete understanding of the district’s core business and significant cost drivers for district operations. • Engage in strategic planning. • Make communicating a priority. • Recognize that a good reserve policy must be consistent with other financial policies, such as balanced budget and investment policies. • Create and maintain a well-developed capital improvement program. • Estimate the ebb and flow, or “seasonality,” of cash flow during the fiscal year and build a basic understanding of the degree of short-term borrowing necessary to match needs. • Clearly identify reserves—both categories and purpose.
continued on page 52
California Special District – May-June 2013
While the furniture fund raising campaign had been successful, some of the larger pledges were to be paid to the district over a five year period and the district needed new furniture now. They launched a $1.8 million capital campaign to purchase the furnishings and equipment necessary to enhance the district’s multitude of programs and events for many years. The pledges will come in during the next five years, so, they turned to the CSDA Finance Corporation for help to purchase the furnishings. Mark Blair, Accounting Supervisor at the district, said, “I found CSDA Finance Corporation to be both professional and efficient. We were able to obtain the quote and close the desired loan at competitive rates well within the timeframes to fill the need for the loan. I would recommend CSDA Finance Corporation to others.” CSDA Finance Corporation specializes in municipal financing and its financial consultants are uniquely qualified to help special districts. The finance consulting team has facilitated the financing of nearly $1 billion in capital improvement programs for special districts throughout California. For more information, contact CSDA Finance Corporation at 877.924.2732.
Money matters [continued from page 51] existing infrastructure. A special district can avoid financing costs of borrowing to construct new infrastructure or repair and replace existing infrastructure by systematically setting aside reserves to fund these needs. As with the example of the enterprise special district that did not fund adequate reserves for political reasons, there may be certain constraints to setting aside reserves. Special districts should consider the implications of setting aside funds versus borrowing funds to repair and replace infrastructure.
These overarching principles should be used to implement a reserve policy or to modify an existing policy, as necessary to achieve prudent reserves. Not all special districts will have sufficient resources to address each of these guiding principles. In these cases, a special district may wish to review certain cost components of the special district and identify reserve requirements for each of these cost components. In general, a special district may want to review the funding requirements for operations and maintenance, capital improvement programs, long-term repair and replacement, and debt service requirements.
If the special district must issue debt to either fund short-term cash flow requirements or to construct or repair and replace infrastructure, the reserve should be structured to ensure timely payment of debt service.
The operations and maintenance budget of a special district is constrained by annual sources of revenues—be they property taxes, rates, fees, or other charges. However, the seasonality of these revenue sources will require that a special district set aside reserves for operations and maintenance for periods when revenues might not be available to fund costs of operations and maintenance. If the special district is dependent on property taxes, special taxes, or assessments, the reserve requirement should consider the timing of receipt of these revenues from the county.
Capital improvement programs and long-term replacement of infrastructure require the special district to develop strategies for adding new infrastructure and providing periodic repair and replacement of
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Achieving these reserve goals requires special districts to maintain clear and transparent reserve fund goals and policies. Special districts need to keep their constituency informed of the needs of the special district to provide services on which the constituency depends. The constituency must be able to understand the ramifications of underfunding reserves. While the Little Hoover Commission was alarmed by what it deemed unnecessarily large reserves for special districts, it is probably more likely that special districts are forced to underfund reserves because of various constraints. In identifying specific, itemized requirements, the public will be able to fully understand the possible risks of insufficient reserves of a special district. Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) is a land economics consulting firm experienced in the full spectrum of services related to real estate development market analysis, public/private partnerships, and the financing of government services and public infrastructure. Founded in 1983, the firm has four offices—located in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, California, and Denver, Colorado—and EPS’s team of 35 consultants serves clients throughout the country and abroad. Russ Powell is a senior vice president with the firm and has worked in the area of public finance for over 30 years.
A D S C
e l c 3 1 a n 0 u 2 nn ere itor A onf hib se C Ex ca & howerey S ont
save the date The leadership conference for special districts.
September 16-19, 2013
Monterey Marriott Hotel & Monterey Conference Center conference.csda.net
California Special District â€“ May-June 2013
[What’s so special]
Grazing away mosquitos
Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District
Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District (CCMVCD) works hard to keep pests such as mosquitoes from affecting the lives of their constituents. Recently it experienced a challenge: a local storm water detention basin was becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The basin was thick with vegetation, making it difficult to access by district inspectors. The district was able to meet this challenge head-on by getting involved with other local agencies and the employment of some unique helpers: goats.
California Special District interviewed CCMVCD and asked them to explain why their mission is so important to the public’s health, how they met the challenged faced by the storm water basin, and why exactly goats were just what they needed to reduce the presence of mosquitoes on that property. What is CCMVCD’s mission? Our mission is to protect public health and welfare through area-wide, responsive services and programs. Our vision is be the lead agency in Contra Costa County for the detection and suppression of threats to public health from vectors—disease-transmitting and non disease-transmitting pests— that affect people and disrupt everyday activities.
Why is it so important to locate and target mosquito breeding grounds?
Goats from Goats R Us graze to rid the area of vegetation.
Mosquitoes are capable of spreading a variety of diseases, such as West Nile virus, to people through their bites. Eliminating mosquito-producing water sources prevents mosquitoes from becoming flying, biting adults. As part of our Integrated Vector Management program, every effort is placed on
Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District Budget: $6.1 million Location: Concord, California Website: www.contracostamosquito.com
preventing mosquito production in the first place. It’s the most efficient and effective way to manage mosquito populations and protect public health.
Nightline as well. Mosquitofish are now used by many mosquito control districts as a biological tool to control mosquitoes. CCMVCD consistently seeks new and innovative methods for mosquito control. For example, we continue to conduct trials using California native fish species for mosquito control in habitats where nonnative mosquitofish may not be appropriate.
Goats were brought in to reduce the vegetation. Why?
And breeding grounds are everywhere. CCMVCD’s vector control inspectors work daily to find and reduce mosquito breeding areas in an environment that is in constant change. Unfortunately, many of the sources are in residents’ yards in containers such as buckets, boats, house gutters, toys, soda cans and more. Just one neglected swimming pool can produce more than one million mosquitoes and affect people up to five miles away. We urge our residents to fight the bite with us by emptying standing water and reporting neglected swimming pools and other potential mosquito sources to our district. To encourage the reporting of potential mosquito sources, we accept anonymous reports.
control inspectors to gain efficient access. The majority of our mosquito control is done when the mosquitoes are in the water in their larval form. Once those mosquitoes become adults, the only effective way to control them and reduce or prevent the transmission of disease is by fogging with pesticides.
Established: 1926 Size: 736 square miles Population: 1,066,096
Goats are extremely efficient and cost effective at reducing vegetation in a variety of situations. The goats we used are selectively bred to create the ultimate grazing machine. And graze they did! They eat most types of vegetation and are quite efficient.
Were the goats effective in reducing the vegetation?
Absolutely. Within seven days, the goats cleared a majority of the basin vegetation. Their efforts succeeded in making the area more accessible to district inspectors. With easier access and less vegetation, inspectors were able to better treat the area using public health pesticides that kill larval mosquitoes before they become flying, biting adults. The number of trapped adult mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in the area quickly decreased.
CCMVCD encountered a challenge recently with a mosquito breeding ground at a storm water detention basin located near Heron Park. What about this area made it difficult for the district to reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes breeding there?
Would you recommend to other mosquito and vector control districts the use of goats in clearing unwanted vegetation? Yes. Goats are an effective tool for vegetation management. In February, our scientific and mosquito program managers delivered a presentation at the Mosquito & Vector Control Association of California’s Annual Conference to share our success in using this unusual tactic for mosquito control.
The theme of this issue is Effectiveness and Efficiency. Are there any programs CCMVCD has in place to improve its operational efficiency?
We use a Geographic Information System to map mosquito breeding sites, Storm water detention basins, like this one, There is a need for effective follow up by storm sewer systems, adult mosquito create quite a challenge for mosquito control the land owner to maintain and minimize trap counts, dead bird reports, etc., all of in several ways. It takes a concentrated vegetation growth. Grading and establishment which enable us to rapidly identify and effort to locate all of the parties responsible of low flow channels to direct periodic runoff assess risk areas and alert our field crews to for maintaining the detention basins and those risk areas quickly and efficiently. will be essential for control of mosquitoes. to determine a course of action. Mosquito Additionally, our award-winning spray control in the detention basin was difficult What are other innovative ways CCMVCD works to notification system reduces the need due to excessive and dense vegetation. protect the public health? for data input and management by Mosquitoes can develop in extremely small We use mosquitofish in neglected swimming asking subscribers to opt in and opt out amounts of water. For example, just a pools to control mosquitoes. Each fish is independently. All communication is couple of tablespoons of water can support a capable of eating up to 500 mosquitoes each delivered via Constant Contact, an online healthy habitat for hundreds of mosquitoes. day. The fish are very hardy and can live in newsletter that we adapted for media The basin holds acres of water and the the pool for years if no chlorine is present. vegetation created thousands of little Mosquitofish are used worldwide for mosquito releases and spray notifications. Posting spray notifications on our website along pockets that were blocked to our control control, however, using them in neglected with interactive disease surveillance maps products and prevented it from draining swimming pools was unique enough to land decreased phone calls from the public to properly. The vegetation was also very our story on the front page of the Wall Street nearly nil. thick, which made it difficult for our vector Journal and in a feature story on ABC’s California Special District – May-June 2013
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California Special District – May-June 2013
In brief [continued from page 15] San Ramon Valley Fire’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest Save Rates Among the Best in the Nation
Over the past couple of months, firefighter/paramedics have been training and using the new LIFEPAK 15 cardiac monitors. These cardiac monitors are an essential tool when responding to advanced life support (ALS) calls. Similar to what is in emergency rooms, cardiac monitors perform 12-lead EKG readings that help firefighter/paramedics determine the most appropriate treatment. The cardiac monitors function as defibrillators, blood pressure monitors, and oxygen saturation monitors. While the fire district has been using similar monitors for the past eight years, the new LIFEPACK 15 now has the capability to wirelessly transmit the patient’s current medical condition directly to the emergency room. This information will allow hospitals time to prepare the most appropriate medical team and treatment for the patient upon arrival. The purchase of the LIFEPAK 15 monitors were part of a grant awarded to Contra Costa County EMS as part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program (AFG).
The San Ramon Valley may be one of the safest places to experience a cardiac emergency in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke and other heart diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States. Recent data has shown that patients who experience sudden cardiac arrest are far more likely to survive if that episode occurs in the San Ramon Valley. Nationally, if one experiences a sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting, the chances of survival hover around 8.5 percent. In the San Ramon Valley your chance of survival is two times higher at 17.9 percent. Valley residents have an even greater occurrence of survival if someone witnesses their cardiac emergency and their heart is able to be shocked by an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), in this scenario the likelihood of survival increases to 46.9 percent versus 26.3 percent nationwide.
utilizes Emergency Medical Dispatching (EMD), our rigorous paramedic training program, state of the art equipment on all our fire engines and ambulances, and our community outreach program that teaches handsonly CPR to over 2000 residents each year.”
“We are very proud of our cardiac arrest survival statistics,” said San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District Fire Chief Paige Meyer. “We attribute our success to many factors including our 911 Communication Center who
District Snapshots Mt. View Sanitary District
This Mt. View Sanitary District Billboard ran along I-680 this past September to promote Pollution Prevention Week.
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