CSAC Attends the 2023 Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Public Sector Employment Law Annual Conference
March 23, 2023
On March 15-16, 2023, CSAC’s Government Finance and Administration team attended the 2023 Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Public Sector Employment Law Annual Conference in San Diego. The Conference is geared towards Public Agency Management and included a variety of informative and engaging presentations, as a resource to stay up-to-date with legal developments, gain insights into current legislative implementation challenges and future reform opportunities, and to network with public employment agencies. Here are takeaways from several sessions:
In the “Strike! Practical Guidance for How Public Employers Should Prepare for and Respond to Work Stoppages” session, Presenters discussed three types of strikes: Economic Strike (to obtain from employers some economic concession), Unfair Practice Strike (to protest an action by the employer that possibly constitutes a violation of labor laws), and a Sympathy Strike (to demonstrate solidarity with other employees by refusing to cross a lawful picket). They reminded employers that it is unlawful for public employees to strike if the strike would threaten public health or public safety, if they are providing essential services or are essential employees, and that determining which employees can be deemed essential is a matter within California’s Public Employment Relations Board’s (PERB) jurisdiction. Presenters shared steps that a public employer can take to prevent a lawful strike and setting up a strike operations plan.
In the “What’s a Public Record? Requirements and Strategies for Responding to Public Record Act Requests” session, an attendee shared a pain point that her public agency is constantly receiving PRA requests and they don’t have the capacity to handle the high volume and large scopes of the broad requests. The Presenter responded by suggesting the agency reply in writing to the requestor, asking them to whittle down the request and narrow the scope. If the requestor fails to respond, the Presenter reminded the audience that “there is some reasonableness in the Public Records Act” and advised that agencies should always keep a paper trail of correspondence with the requestor. While the agency typically has 10 days to respond to a request, reaching out with a supplemental response to ask the requestor for an extension of time can buy additional time, but extensions allow no more than 14 days for the response to be provided from the agency. They also noted that only a response is required during that window, and not the production of records at that time. The Presenter also discussed the recodification of CPRA, which became effective on 1/1/23. There were no substantive changes, only recodification, with the previous Government Code 6254(c) becoming 7927.700.