(ACTION) Review and possible action on the Finance Committee’s recommendations on the following items.
a. Department’s clarification of Prop. 86 funds from BOC.
Comm. Bonilla, Finance Chair, revisited that this item arose from documents that showed a $500K grant from BOC, but not shown on Dept budgets. The Dept was directed to investigate this. They returned with an explanation of the Prop 86 fund, and claimed that all funds were spent within the facilities here at YGC. While the Dept said that all funds had been spent, he had seen documentation that there was at least $22k still available. He said the Dept is on record as having spent all the Prop 86 funds, with nothing left.
Comm. Dupre asked the Dept to respond, saying he believed they were allocated Dec. 9, 1998.
The Chief said that the Finance Committee was given a document drafted by Norm Cole regarding Prop 86. He went on to read the cover sheet of that document. He further said that the document showed what the funds were spent for, and concluded that Cole’s statement was that all the funds were spent for those projects, with no further allocation, or left over balance.
Comm. Bonilla said that this was an issue because the Finance Committee first was given the understanding that the Dept didn’t know what Prop 86 was, and the Finance Committee was looking at documents which seemed to show the funds were transferred into other accounts. This gave the Committee pause to wonder if there were other funds which have found their way into different accounts, so decided to ask for more detail about this one fund.
The Chief asked if the concern was that funding was not appropriated properly to the Dept, and therefore we were not aware of it, or that the funding came to the Dept and they used it for purposes other than intended by the legislation
Comm Bonilla stated that it was a concern that when he had learned about Prop 86, that the Dept had no knowledge there was $500k available. He was hoping this was that “pot of gold” they needed to help LCR.
The Chief said that the information provided by Cole shows that the funding was authorized in 1988 and was fully expended by 1998. This was 5 yrs ago.
Comm. Bonilla said that this was the duty of the Finance Committee to review everything and get a comfortable understanding of the facts. This is important for setting the tone for new administrations. For now, the Finance Committee is happy that the Dept. has an explanation for this.
Comm. Dupre asked Comm. Bonilla whether staff has responded and clarified the question. Comm. Bonilla said that this item raises the potential of the whole Commission looking at the budget as a whole, because if there is a system which can miss a $500k grant, it should be monitored. He is content with the Chief’s explanation, but he felt it is still something which should be pursued and looked closely at.
Comm. Ricci explained that she had originally inquired about it because she was curious to see if there really was a large amount of money that might be accessed now. The explanation by the Chief and N. Cole was okay, but she still wanted someone to inquire into the apparent $22k remainder to see if it really was there.
Comm. Dupre said this was something that could have been done without being agendized. It was presented as if we had this money, but the when it was explained that the money was expended before 2000, it shows we are not doing preliminary work. We don’t put everything that we have concerns on the agenda before we do some groundwork. N. Cole could have satisfactorily answered the concerns if we raised it. This is a huge dept, and while he would love them to answer all his questions, sometimes its necessary for him to do homework. In this case, if the money was expended in 1998 or 1997, then it might have collected dust and not something right on the tip of our staff’s tongue. So he wasn’t alarmed when they had to look into the issue, and didn’t feel it was something they missed. If there was a pot of money sitting there, then that would have been a concern.
Comm. Ricci stated that when there was a discrepancy between what the Dept said and the Controller, she thought it important to resolve this. Even $22k is useful.
The Chief said that he would follow up with the contact person (on the doc. Comm. Ricci gave him) to see.
b. Clarification and reconciliation of difference in CBO contract amounts (between $1.2 and $1.6 mil)
M. Lui explained that the difference between the two figures is the amount of TANF funds contributed. The difference between the 02-03 budget and the 03-04 budget is just the reduction of the Huckleberry contract.
Comm Chuck asked if TANF will be here next year. M. Lui said they expect so.
Comm. Hale said that it behooves the Dept to start looking at consolidating and prioritizing services and needs, such as current efforts under the JDAI and Local Action Plan collaborators.
Quest: have any CBOs worked themselves off the Dept grants? The Chief said no. Some have been terminated for under performance, but none have voluntarily walked away. L. Jackson-Simpson said that the Dept grants are relatively small, but they use them for leveraging other funders, which funders like to see. She also spoke of the efforts being made to prioritize and plan for the future of services and survival.
Comm Chuck commented that such collaboratives have been going on for some time where stronger agencies can share with weaker ones.
c. Department’s recommendations for the $420K budget cut (deficit from the contingency reduction plan)
Comm. Bonilla reviewed that the Dept’s revised proposal for the contingency reductions was acted upon, and #2, #9 were approved. #24, 25, approved. #26, 29 were rejected.
These are recommendations for the full Commission will act on tonight.
The Chief explained that this the revised contingency plan, which in March was acted upon, but in part rejected.
The new doc represents some old and some new proposals. The items needing acting on are: #2, #9, #24-29.
Comm Hale reviewed that the original $420k represented a series of staff reductions recommended by the Dept that was rejected by the Commission, necessitating this second set of recommended staff reductions. The Chief said that in a March Commission meeting the proposal was not specific to positions, but generally 6 positions averaging $70k each. Specific positions were named and some were accepted by the Commission. Those appear on this document, along with new proposed cuts to make up for the ones rejected in the first proposed contingency plan.
Comm Ricci commented that at the Finance Committee, the effort was not to find additional cuts, but to re allocate funds from one use to another. She said that one point of inquiry she had was for a position which was split up (as far as funding) into 2 divisions, and in fact had a 3rd source of funds not reflected in the Dept budget. She said that looking at the job outline of the position, she felt that it should have been portioned out to other staff in the Dept. The Chief said that this position (0922) is in fact a position the Dept is recommending be cut. The amounts budgeted reflect general funds and TANF funds. The $20k from Children’s System of Care is not included.
Comm. Connolly asked the Chief about the previous proposal and two particular items. The Chief said that it was for 3.5 JH 8322 counselors and 4.4 8444 PO positions. The full Commission rejected those position cuts. That represented $420k dollars.
The replacement position cuts in this proposal represents that same amount.
Comm Hale asked the Chief which proposal (the prior one or this one) has the lesser negative impact on operations. He repeated his support of line staff, and acknowledged the fat in middle management. He supported the Dept’s original proposal, but he is concerned for #26-29 of this proposal and the impact on services of those positions.
The Chief said that any reduction will have an impact. Can the work be spread around, will it have a negative impact, will the Dept survive it? Yes.
Comm. Hale asked, of the two sets of proposed cuts, which is closer to the front lines? He reviewed his experience with chronic reporting problems in the Dept. Do these cuts make the work virtually impossible to complete, vs the other positions, which were basically supervisory and not direct service oriented? The Chief said that the positions that were cut (counselors/POs) direct frontline face to face contact with kid positions. That’s the heart of what the Dept does. The current proposed positions are support positions, and are important in themselves, but they do not come into contact with clients everyday such as the others do.
Comm. Bonilla stated that in following Comm Hale’s thinking as to what is farthest from direct service, he and Comm. Ricci have been looking at Executive positions as being farthest from actual services. With a change in the administration coming up, the possibility of a vacancy in the Asst. Chief’s role, they strongly feel that that position could be eliminated. He and Comm. Ricci rejected cutting the recommended position cuts, in lieu of that. He compared how SF works in comparison to other jurisdictions in the Bay Area. He revealed that in all other cases they were much larger than our operations, and if they had an Asst Chief, they were the equivalent of our Division Directors. In their case it was Asst. Chief., Probation Services, or Asst. Chief, Institutions, etc. And they were all combined adult/juvenile probation operations. Comm. Bonilla said this wasn’t being sought as a criticism for the job being done by the current Asst Chief. He was moving on the expectation that the Asst. Chief’s position would be empty and that eliminating it would save $138k. This is the route he and Comm. Ricci is taking, but the Dept rejects. While he respects the Dept’s opinion on this issue, the Commission has the final authority to make this decision. Following Comm. Hale’s logic, those farthest from service should be looked at first, and it is this Commissioner’s opinion that this position fits that description.
Comm. Bonilla said that certainly some of the items from #24-29 will be cut, but this can lessen that burden and more equitably distribute the burden of the cuts that have to be made.
The Chief didn’t question the authority of the Commission to cut. In reference to the recommendations from the Dept about one particular position, the Asst. Chief, there are numerous configurations for how you can organize a dept. the way this dept is organized or the way that position has been used is significantly different from the way other depts. have used similar positions. He read off a list of different tasks given to the Asst. Chief. The Chief’s position is that the position is not expendable.
Comm. Bonilla repeated that he felt with the potential of an opening in this position, it was his obligation to look at it. He further commented that hypothetically, if that position did not exist, those tasks enumerated could have been delegated to other existing executive staff. If this couldn’t have been done, he would like to know why.
The Chief said that some of these functions, executive staff could not do, it would have had to be done by the Chief himself. There’s a fine line between what can be done and what makes sense doing.
Comm. Hale stated that he includes support staff as frontline workers. It is dangerous to just make a few calls. When you look at administrative structure, it has its own culture, its own history, and systems. There needs to be a more thorough analysis: what does Sacramento attempts to accomplish with their structure, what is their management scheme, what is their history, etc. The progress of this Dept is the result of the leadership of the staff and this Chief. The Commission sets the goals, and with little exception, the Chief has met those goals. So when the Chief makes a recommendation, he does it based on his professional experience. That’s why it is difficult if not impossible for the Commission to justify one position over another. The Commission doesn’t have the command of the Dept, nor is it supposed to. That’s not what the Commission is here for. “We” say, we want the community involved in rehabilitating kids. That’s our policy, our direction. We can decide what policy direction we’re going to head. Eg. the Local Action Plan. This Chief, without exception has produced. He has a team that has assisted him in producing. If the Commission is going to challenge those recommendations, then it has to do its homework. Just like the last Finance Committee meeting where it was asked what a 0922 manager did. The list was extensive. That’s what was needed in order to make this Dept known to the Mayor, the Bd of Supes, the public. That was the reason behind this position.
As for the Asst. Chief. The list of duties was extensive. The question is, are “you” in the position to say these are the things we want to give up at this time. Comm. Hale said he hasn’t heard an argument that convinces him that “they” are.
Comm Hale spoke about discipline and dispute resolution. He said the Dept was struggling with morale, and discipline because it was done haphazardly. People thought people were playing games, those deserving discipline weren’t given any. What this staff attempted to do was bring in some standard set of policies. That was implemented by the Asst. Chief. Comm Hale said that this was the first time he’s heard anyone say they don’t want an Asst. Chief position.
Comm. Ricci agreed that the Commission needs to do its homework. This may be the first time the Commission has looked this closely at the Dept’s budget. This is acceptable if there is a reason for it, and a point of inquiry. The intelligence of the Chief is not being questioned. The question may be one of executive staff. There is a question about payroll at LCRS, about contracts that were not properly bid out. She also had a question about the propriety of a Dept employee signing off on the letter from a non profit organization. Comm. Ricci referred to other questionable practices which brought her to this point of questioning the Dept and its structure. Dep City Attorney Rosa Sanchez said that if the Commissioner had specific concerns about improprieties, that should be brought to her for discussion.
The Chief commented that the discussion began as one which asked about the necessity of a position (the Asst. Chief). If there are questions about the incumbent, that is appropriate to discuss, but not in this forum. The Commission has the absolute authority to inquire about the other issues, but seems to be farther afield. Comm. Ricci agreed to without further comment.
Comm Connolly summarized the conversation. He asked, given there have been two sets of proposed cuts (with the same level of funds), could the Chief prioritize the suggested cuts.
The Chief said that this list of cuts is “preferable” to the first set of cuts.
d. Department’s suggested cuts in Executive staff and other non-mandated positions (for another $300K).
Comm. Bonilla reported that the Chief reported he was not prepared to make any additional cuts.
The Chief read into the record his letter, explaining why he did not have any recommendations for this item (letter available from the CPO’s office or the JPC).
Comm. Ricci commented that Comm. Chuck was aware that the Finance Committee was going to look over the Dept budget to see if there were any “loose” funds that might be applied to LCR, because in the Ad Hoc Committee there was not that opportunity to do so. The Finance Committee in fact did see some funds which seemed to be available from unexpended contracts.
She said that she understood the letter read by the Chief, and that she was not asking for more cuts, but just looking for a re allocation within the Dept of funds. Comm. Bonilla echoed this statement. Certain things that may seem needed might at the end of the day be seen differently, if we keep our commitment to youth foremost. He apologized to Comm Chuck if he felt left out of the loop. That wasn’t the intent. He said that the Finance Committee in fact felt they had found $100k that could be moved from the “Executive” “pot” to the LCR “pot”.
He commended the Chief but stated that he felt it was his responsibility (as a commissioner) to think about where the Dept needs to go.
Comm Hale expressed his concerns over the rationale he was given for not dealing with all these issues in the Ad Hoc Committee. Maybe there wasn’t a clear direction given for the role of the Ad Hoc Committee. He said that the Commissioners could have declared at the Ad Hoc Committee that the Finance Committee would be looking specifically for ways to come up with that extra money for LCR. He said that if Commissioners had issues they should put it on the table. He believed that there were hidden agendas. Comm. Hale referred to the issue raised in the Ad Hoc regarding premium pay, OT, etc. for LCR staff, and said it was answered to the satisfaction of the person who raised it. That was the reason and rationale for the additional dollars. If the staff is saying that this $1.4 mil is sufficient, then why is there still a need to re allocate more dollars?
Comm. Ricci commented that any inference of a “conspiracy” is inappropriate. She said that while the issue of Prop 86 didn’t result in any unused funds identified, but they did find other items in the budget that were not appropriately documented, and she was merely fulfilling her responsibility to maintain fiscal oversight on the Dept’s operations and report it to the Commission. As for contracts, she has asked several times in the past for documentation regarding contracts, and still is not satisfied with what she has been provided.
Comm. Bonilla commented that he doesn’t believe $1.4 mil is not a reasonable budget. He said a $1.5 mil. is a more realistic chance for LCR to move forward on. And he wants to keep it around for the future.
Comm Hale commented that Comm Bonilla’s comments prove his point: they did not agree with the consensus reached in the Ad Hoc Committee, they felt they could find more money in the Dept budget, they went ahead to have their meeting to come up with recommendations other than what the Ad Hoc Committee was settling for.
The Chief reported that the Ad Hoc Committee would be looking at the $1.4 mil. proposal tomorrow. It can approve or reject it, and make alternative recommendations. It can reject “c” and return to options “a” or “b”. If there are other funds available, he’d like it to be presented as to where it will come from, and where it will be applied to the LCR budget.
Regarding contract information requested by Comm. Ricci, the Chief said that the Dept has always responded to Commission requests. They know their responsibility and if they do not respond to the satisfaction of the Commission there is a whole realm of audits, investigations, reviews available to the Commission to exercise.
Comm. Bonilla commented that this was not intended to be some devious maneuvering. He originally was going to settle for the $1.4 mil. budget, but afterward felt he was shortchanging the youth, so that he thought through a closer look in Finance, he might be able to find “what was what.” This is his first time chairing so he is still finding his way. In regards to protocol, he apologized for any mistakes he may have made, but he didn’t apologize for his motivation to do the right thing by the youth. He and Comm. Ricci are doing everything they can to try and make the LCR plan a viable one. He wants to bring it to a point where people can look each other in the eye and honestly say it’ll work.
He recounted that the Ad Hoc Comm. came at a time when 3 members of the Commission voted to close down LCR. And in its proceedings it seemed that everything they tried to do bordered on illegality. So rather than trying to force things through Ad Hoc, they felt that Finance was a larger and more appropriate vehicle to use.
The Chair asked everyone to try and focus on the agenda, leaving personal apologies and other comments aside.
Comm. Ricci said that she had concerns about the LCR plan as presented, and proposed modifications: extending the term and increasing the budget.
Comm. Hale commented that the vote on LCR in Feb. was not to close it down. There were 2 options, one to contract it out. It was never a vote to close or keep LCR open. The Ad Hoc Comm was the result of his recommendation for a way to resolve the 3-3 impasse on the Commission.
e. Finance committee-identified positions to consider for reduction.
Comm. Bonilla reported that this item was removed from the agenda.
Comm. Dupre asked for public comments to any portion of item #3.
Abraham Williams, employee of Youth Development Crime Prevention, castigated some commissioners for undermining the Dept, and being arrogant. He blamed the government for the situation we are all in. He said the Commission is not in the position to run this Dept. He commended the Chief, and supported the position of the Asst Chief.
Eli Aramburo, former Commissioner, said that these are different times than when she sat on the Commission. There is a much stronger Dept, with community partnerships. The numbers are declining in juvenile hall, with a much stronger placement division. She agreed that it was best to think “out of the box” and not just look at cuts but to see how money could be best spent to serve the youth and the legacy of Mayor Brown. That means a hard look needs to be taken to see what jobs aren’t necessary, which are vacant. What is more important. She urged the Commission to work together, cooperatively, to really look at the information. The frustration she faced was not being given all the information needed, or being given information in the way the Dept wanted the Commission to see it.
She spoke about best uses for the funds, with the example of LCR. Her legal experience has shown her that counties having no ranch program have a difficult time. SF’s needs are especially high. There are few options which are not more economical, or positive (eg. Vision Quest, CYA). The challenge is to create a program that really serves the needs of the kids at LCR. (she cited various shining examples: writers corps, photography). She said the costs of out placement is about $2.3-$2.4 mil. That would be best for LCR. She encouraged looking at revenue development from working with other counties’ referrals.
She wished the Commission continued success in moving the Dept forward, and improving the services to SF’s young people.
Frank Moran, one of the two temp. POs in line #24. He is a Court Officer, and his work is hourly, with no costs for benefits. His pay is reimbursable 50% from Title 4. If he is cut, line POs will have to cover it, at a greater cost to the Dept.
Rich Perino, DPOA, corroborated Moran’s comments. If this position is cut, then another line PO will have to work at their top step to do the job. Moran is fully experienced and effective in this job.
Henrietta Lee said that the morale here is not great as claimed before. She commented that there was a time not long ago there was no Asst. Chief position. And one of the tasks mentioned as the Asst. Chief’s duty was an operations manual, which she has not seen yet. She further said that the support staff being proposed for cuts are frontline staff who have contact with clients and their families.
Ed Williams, commented that he was a victim of the Dept’s improper handling of his work records, denying him OT and other benefits, while others were paid for similar work. He said he filed a complaint in the courts for this. He stated that he had information about outside resources which might be useful for the Dept and welcomed their inquiry.
Howard Chaves, PO, spoke about #23, and said that if you bump these two positions, these will in turn bump two lower POs (those with less seniority).
Quest: is this an item being considered for action tonight? The Chief said that this was not on tonight’s agenda, that it was acted upon (approved) at a previous Commission meeting.
Ntanya Lee, opposed any cuts to the CBO contracts. She stated that there was a drop in juvenile crime, Juvenile Hall numbers are falling, but no corresponding drop in the Dept budget, in fact, increases occur. She said that the LCR issue is a complex one, and maybe should be taken up by the JDAI process to try and come up with a long-term solution for LCR.
Howard Chaves attempted to speak again, but Comm. Dupre said that under advice from legal counsel, that under public comment individuals only have one opportunity to speak. That’s policy.
Comm Hale said he was concerned for the reduction of support staff. He reviewed that there was a recommendation for a reduction in Sr. PO and JH staff (7-8 positions). He asked if one or two of these positions could be substituted for items #26-28 in tonight’s proposal. He asked for some direction from the Dept regarding #24.
The Chief said that the Finance Comm. asked if these two positions were Title 4e reimbursable. They didn’t know at the time. Now, they know they are. Thus, the Dept would request that these two positions be withdrawn from the list (they will have to come up with other options to cover these amounts). As for the other positions, he would not be opposed to substituting some of the previously proposed cuts (which were rejected by the Commission) for some of tonight’s proposals.
Comm. Ricci asked about the Owens Information contract. The Chief said #12 refers to that contract. Quest: what is the total amount of the contract. $161k. The plan is to bring in a $92k Sr. Business Analyst, and pay $24k for the transition.
Comm Ricci commented that this could possibly be cut further rather than positions.
The Chief said that he understood the request to be substituting some of the previous recommended position cuts for currently proposed ones. This contract item was already approved.
Comm. Ricci said that it would be preferable to her to find ways of saving money without cutting positions, and contracts represents this opportunity.
Comm Hale said that items #26-28 were rejected by the Finance Comm. He had asked for all items to be sent to the full Commission without recommendations, and he only voted because he could not abstain.
The Chief stated that the amount for items #26-29 total $242k. Comm. Hale asked how many positions from the original proposed cuts would need to be re submitted to supplant the amount of cuts represented by #26-29. The Chief added that an additional $50k would have to be found to replace #24.
Comm Hale asked not to include #29. The total would be $224k.
The Chief recounted that the previously rejected cuts were 3.5 Sr Counselors totaling $295k, and 4.4 POs totaling $132k.
Comm Hale proposed 2 JH counselors and 2 POs to substitute for the items tonight. Total amount would equal $229k.
Comm Hale moved to approve items #2, #9. Move to accept the recommendations of the Finance Comm. on items #26, 27, 28, and in their place reduce Sr. JH counselors (8322) by 2 positions, and reduce POs (8440) by 2 positions. Move to approve Finance Comm. recommendation on #25.
Comm. Chuck 2nd the motion.
Comm Hale also moved to reject #24 from the cuts.
Comm. Bonilla asked if the number of POs and counselors could be 1.5 and 2.5, respectively. That would total $256k.
Comm. Connolly asked a follow up to Comm. Bonilla’s question. Doesn’t it make more financial sense given that the POs positions are reimbursable? The Chief said that this was already taken into consideration in the initial calculations, unlike the temp. salaries of tonight’s proposal.
The question was called and upon roll call vote, the motion carried 6-0.
Comm. Hale asked that another letter be dispatched to the Mayor reiterating the position of the Commission and Dept that these actions are undertaken under duress. Comm. Dupre said that he would also include the signature of the VP on such a letter.
Comm. Ricci wanted to recommend to the Ad Hoc Committee that a $1.5 mil plan be approved.
Comm. Hale commented that since it isn’t an agenda item, it couldn’t be acted upon tonight.
Comm Dupre stated that this Commission is not split, that it is working together. He acknowledged the work and time given by all to preparing for this meeting, and hoped that everyone will keep their eyes on the target of serving young people to the best of their ability