Keeping you up-to-date on our work to increase your salary, improve and protect your benefits, and aggressively represent your professional interests in every forum where they are at stake.
CASE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UPDATE
Contracting Out Challenges Continue. Last week, CASE appeared at SPB for oral argument on a challenge to a contract for outside legal counsel entered into by the Department of Public Health. The SPB Executive Officer disapproved the contract, finding that the work should be performed by civil service attorneys. However, DPH appealed that decision to the full Board, arguing that its own attorneys could not satisfactorily handle the litigation and that the Attorney General’s Office lacked sufficient staff to represent the department. CASE objected to the notion that no existing state attorneys were up to the task, and pointed out that long-settled precedent requires departments to use civil service employees unless narrow statutory exceptions apply. SPB took the matter under submission and will issue a decision in the next few weeks.
When departments outsource their legal work, they routinely pay outside law firms $500, $800, or even $1000 per hour to do work that our members do more efficiently and cost effectively. It is an insult to be told at the bargaining table that the State has no money to increase salaries for lawyers, while at the same time it spends millions on outside counsel.
Ensuring the state complies with applicable contracting-out laws also helps to protect civil service positions and your career development opportunities. The law allows for certain exceptions to the prohibition against contracting out legal work, but what may look like a contract here and a contract there quickly sets the stage for the exception to overtake the rule. Allowing work to be contracted out allows the administration to continue failing to address the systemic causes of high vacancy rates (hint: it might have something to do with non competitive pay and benefits). It also risks losing positions forever since long-vacant positions are eventually eliminated, further reducing the state’s ability to serve the millions of Californians who benefit daily from your important work.
CASE Public Service Scholars Award Winners. CASE recently announced our inaugural CASE Public Service Scholars, each of whom will receive a $1000 scholarship. This week, we profile our final winner Saskia Knight.
CASE Public Service Scholars Award winner Saskia Knight says a soccer-ball kick five years ago changed everything.
She was a freshman at Berkeley High School and feeling a bit overwhelmed as a newbie on the 4,500-student campus: little fish, big pond. “It wasn’t an easy place to be,” Saskia recalls. “It wasn’t easy to make friends.”
Other kids also had trouble fitting in, not because they were new but because they were individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and were treated poorly. She overheard peers’ demeaning comments such as, “Dude, he’s special.” Some kids would pretend to be friends with IDD kids, Saskia says with a tinge of anger, “but they were hanging out as a joke. And the ‘r-word’ was thrown around constantly.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
News of interest to CASE legal professionals:
- State AGs at odds over proposed EPA tailpipe emissions rules – Route Fifty
- California high court: Employers not responsible for COVID spread to workers’ families – Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription)
- California flood victims move toward suing government agencies over ‘preventable disaster’ – The Fresno Bee (tiered subscription)
- State sues Cambrian Homecare over alleged failure to report pay data – Long Beach Post
ADDITIONAL BASEBALL TICKETS AVAILABLE. We have 6 tickets for tomorrow’s Fresno Grizzlies game (sales end tonight for Fresno!), two tickets for next Tuesday’s (7/25) Padres game in San Diego and 5 tickets for the Dodgers game in LA on August 2. Claim ‘em today! Tickets and details are available here (password: caseball2023)