CSAC on the Road: County Visits Foster Communication
April 22, 2016
It’s about a thousand miles from the northwestern tip of Del Norte County to the southeastern tip of Imperial and the 58 counties in between are as broad and diverse as you can imagine. So it’s important to CSAC that we get out into our member-counties as often as possible, even if the far-flung nature of California makes that more challenging. This week alone CSAC staff visited six different counties to make presentations, attend conferences and foster two-way communication between counties and CSAC.
For example, CSAC Executive Director Matt Cate is in San Francisco today for a meeting of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Statewide Leadership Council. The PPIC is the preeminent policy research organization in the state. Their research topics include public safety, health and human services, the environment and the economy just to name a few. Having Matt on their Leadership Council helps keep CSAC on top of emerging trends and policies. The Leadership Council is a virtual who’s who of leaders in public policy.
CSAC’s Principal Policy and Fiscal Analyst Geoff Neill spent Tuesday in Mendocino County making a presentation to the Board of Supervisors about the differences between charter counties and general law counties. Mendocino residents have gathered signatures to put a question about whether the county should draft a charter on the June ballot. However, a county charter would not provide many of the benefits the proponents are arguing it would.
Geoff’s presentation gave supervisors and the community more information about county charters and the flexibility they give for organizing the structure of county government, as well as the limits of a charter when it comes to making other policy decisions or superseding state law.
CSAC’s Dorothy Holzem is in Inyo County where they are hosting the Mountain Region County Administrative Officer’s Association meeting. Dorothy, a CSAC Legislative Representative, will provide a legislative update and overview of key factors influencing the upcoming May Revise to the Governor’s January Budget.
Darby Kernan, CSAC’s Legislative Representative for Administration of Justice, and Program Coordinator Amalia Mejia were in Kern County this Tuesday helping them develop a report on their involvement in the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. The Initiative promotes use of evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism and incarceration in Counties. Kern joined in 2014 and the paradigm shift in the county has resulted in a culture change when addressing public safety realignment.
Kern now implements evidence-based practices in the Sheriff’s and Probation Departments, and they have conducted a benefit-cost model to determine which program is giving them the best return on investment. Kern County will be highlighting key findings and summarizing their programs and the report will address current implementation and future plans on how to reduce recidivism.
County Auditor-Controllers gathered in LA County this week for their 106th Annual Conference. CSAC Analyst Betsy Hammer attended the conference, which included sessions on property tax postponement and systems, pensions and other post-employment benefits (OPEB), government transparency, leadership topics, new GASB requirements, and the state of California’s economy. Attendees also heard updates from the State Controller’s Office and State Treasurer John Chiang. The conference proved to be jam-packed with informative sessions and valuable opportunities to connect with counties.
And last, but certainly not least, Chris Lee of CSAC’s staff visited Contra Costa County on Wednesday for the County Engineers Association of California Bay Area Regional Meeting. Representatives from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma were present, in addition to CEAC’s 2016 president, Matt Machado, from Stanislaus County. CSAC discussed state transportation funding efforts, the implementation of the new federal transportation funding, and what it will mean for local bridge and road safety projects in California, as well as new state and federal guidance on the potential reuse of “stale” federal earmarks from old federal transportation bills.
CEAC’s regional associations meet periodically to allow public works representatives to discuss common issues their departments are facing. In addition to the presentation from CSAC staff, the group discussed storm water and flood control funding, and how their departments are reacting to new green infrastructure planning requirements from state water quality regulators.