CSAC Bulletin Article

Counties Request Operational Flexibility From State

March 19, 2020

The Governor’s executive orders to this point have granted much needed flexibility to counties in a number of areas. However, as the COVID-19 crisis lengthens and broadens, a growing number of county employees are working from home, taking sick leave, or being redirected to deal with the emergency.

In light of those staff reductions and redirections, CSAC has requested that the Governor grant additional flexibility to address a variety of operational difficulties. Many of the requests relate to deadlines that, if missed, automatically grant petitioners their request or subject the county to liability.

For instance, assessment appeal must be decided within two years or the plaintiff is granted their appeal, which would permanently reduce property taxes. Likewise, certain permits face “shot clocks” that grant the permits if missed.

The Governor has already granted the state relief from the rules restricting the use of retired annuitants, temporary, and part-time workers, and counties have requested the same changes be applied to them. Meet and confer obligations should also be suspended or modified related to emergency personnel policies suck as telework, safety leave, and advances on sick leave.

These changes will help counties respond as effectively as possible to the crisis confronting California and CSAC has been in constant communication with the Governor’s office. Letters requesting these changes, which were developed with the help of county counsels and other partners,  were delivered on March 13 (initial letter with summary requests) and March 15 (follow-up letter providing more detail).

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