Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Supervisors review proposed $3.7 billion budget, discuss potential new tax

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Supervisors were presented Tuesday a proposed $3.69 billion budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 that sparked dialogue among supervisors of potentially developing a new tax source in order to support the county’s growing service needs, especially in the areas of health, medical, employment and human services.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget consists of $1.7 billion in county imposed general fund revenue that is approximately the same level of local tax revenue budgeted for the current 2018-2019 fiscal year. State and federal funds make up the other $2 billion in budget revenue.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to instruct county administrator David Twa to present the budget for adoption at its May 7 meeting. Vice chair Candace Andersen of Danville was absent at the time of the vote.

“After several years of relative stability, we now enter a period of needing to adjust our county budget to meet challenges due to uncertainties to countywide revenue streams (especially in the Health Services and the Employment & Human Services departments), compounded by sharply rising wage and benefit costs,” County Administrator Twa wrote in his 2019-2020 budget presentation. CCCo Budget Presentation 19-20 Draft

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year county officials plan to wrap up labor negotiations with the Physicians and Dentists Organization that represents workers in the Health and Human Services and at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Clinics, the District Attorney Investigators Association, the Deputy Services Association and the In-Home Supportive Services Association.

Even in a good economy, Contra Costa County employees find themselves underpaid on average 5 percent to 8 percent of what their counterparts earn at similar jobs in the Bay Area. Supervisors listened to a number of speakers representing the county’s health care system, Contra Costa CARES, that the county needs to boost salaries of its healthcare workers 8 percent if it expects to retain employees.

For next fiscal year, county medical director Anna Roth proposed that the supervisors approve a 3 percent cost of living adjustment, designate $135 million in county general funds, count on $1.6 billion in revenues, but expect expenses of $1.8 billion. The department plans to expand the West County Behavioral Health Center next year, she said.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill upon noticing a projected a combined general fund deficit from health services and human services of at least $30 million.

Noting how other Bay Area counties like San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo can adequately pay county workers because of additional tax revenues streaming in from property and sales tax sources, board chair John Gioia of Richmond said, “Other counties have robust tax revenue resources. We don’t have that.”

“You say we need more money,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. “We have to be creative.”

Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher said to balance her department’s budget for 2019-2020 she will have to eliminate 67 positions. For next fiscal year, EHS will have 1,904 fulltime positions in order to operate its diverse operations such as Adult Protection Services that has undergone some criticism for alleged financial abuse of its clients.

Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston has proposed a $7 million increase for salaries and benefits for his 685 sworn officers and 350 non-sworn personnel. For next fiscal year, the sheriff plans to hire three additional sworn officers. Planning for a proposed 128 bed mental health facility for the West County Detention Center in Richmond is back on track after being sidelined for rising construction costs, mostly related to steel tariffs.

With $44 million proposed for the District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Diana Becton plans to increase staffing in the human trafficking unit by $1 million. The DA Office has 222.5 positions on the payroll of which 102 are attorneys, 33 are investigators, 17 are victim/witness experts, and 70.5 are administrative support.

A $3.7 million project at Buchanan Air Field is one of the big tasks on drawing boards for the Public Works Department next fiscal year, department director Brian Balbas said, but the biggest challenge is retaining staff. With a $254 million budget and 545 employees, Balbas said his department is hampered by a high turnover rate of more than 20 percent when workers find better paying jobs at other counties or in the private sector. “The focus for 2019/2020 will be in recruitment and retention,” he told supervisors.

Public Defender Robin Lipesky said in addition to handling 6,900 misdemeanor cases, 3,747 felony cases, and 450 bail hearings, her department handled 600 Stand Together Contra Costa legal consultations, a new duty of her department. Citing a decline in the county’s juvenile population and a decline in the juvenile hall population, the department plans to cut 22 juvenile justice positions, she said.

Supervisors Salary Ordinance Approved

On a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Candace Andersen of Danville and Diane Burgis of Brentwood casting the dissenting votes, supervisors approved an ordinance that will raise their salaries at an established percentage, 65 percent of the annual salary of the Office of Superior Court Judge, effective January 1, 2021.

Effective June 30, each supervisor will earn a monthly base salary of $9,736.75, equivalent to an annual salary of $116,841.

From July 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019 supervisors will each earn an annual salary equal to 60 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge as prescribed by the state legislature. Supervisors will receive another salary boost effective January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 at a base of 63 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge. A third and final salary hike equal to 65 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge in Contra Costa County would go into effect after January 1, 2021.

In addition to the pay increases, each supervisor will receive reimbursement for “reasonable expenses incurred in the conduct of such office” and “eligibility for an eighty-five-dollar monthly contribution to the county’s deferred compensation plan in the same manner as other exempt management employees.”

Each supervisor will also receive an automobile allowance of $600 per month and, in addition to the automobile allowance, mileage at the rate per mile allowed by the Internal Revenue Service as a deductible expense, for all miles driven by the supervisor on county business outside that supervisor’s district.

Supervisors OK Revised WCCTAC Transit Mitigation Fee

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved revised property transportation mitigation fees developers in unincorporated parts of the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee area of El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo that have been in place since 1997.

No one spoke either in favor of or in protest against the fees that are assessed to go towards construction of transportation projects.

Since the inception of the WCCTAC transit mitigation fees in 1997, $11.6 million has been raised to help alleviate transportation impacts from residential, commercial or industrial development, said John Cunningham of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.

Revenues from the transit mitigation fee cover 19 percent of the construction costs of transit projects in the WCCTAC area. Some of those projects include $9,672 towards a $50,903 San Pablo Avenue complete streets project, $156 for the I-580/Harbour Way Interchange pedestrian and bicycle access improvements, $10,175 for the Hercules Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, and $20,749 for capital improvements to the I-80 Express Bus Service.

Accessory dwelling units are exempt from the revised transit mitigation fees that will go into effect July 1, 2020 and will increase or decrease every July 1 thereafter based by the annual percentage change in the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index for the San Francisco Bay Area for the 12 month period ending with the February index of the same year in which the increase or decrease will take effect

The new WCCTAC transit mitigation fees are multi-family residential, $5,439 per dwelling unit; senior housing, $1,469 per dwelling unit; hotel, $3,481 per hotel unit; retail/service, $6.59 per square foot; office, $8.12 per square foot; industrial, $5.56 per square foot; storage facility, 0.76 per square foot; and other, $7 per square foot.

Red Cross Community Services Award Recipients

As a consent items, supervisors adopted resolutions honoring Bryan Canty of Antioch as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Good Samaritan Award, Samantha Barhouse, also of Antioch, as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Disaster Service Award, and the San Damiano Retreat Center of Danville, as the recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Community Service Award.

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Rep. DeSaulnier to host two “Conversation on Race” Town Halls with Special Guests Rep’s. Bass and Lee

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will host a pair of town halls to engage in a “Conversation on Race” on Tuesday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 27th. These town halls are the latest in a series of discussions on race hosted by Congressman DeSaulnier and are intended to facilitate more understanding, healing, and progress to help us move forward as a nation.

“A Conversation on Race” Town Halls
Tuesday, April 23rd

Special Guest: Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and first African American woman Speaker of the California Assembly

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Diablo Valley College Cafeteria

321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

RSVP: https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp

Saturday, April 27th

Hosted With: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)

12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Black Repertory Group Theater

3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703

RSVP: https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp

These events are open to the public, press, and photographers.

Please RSVP at https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or by calling 925-933-2660. To request ADA accommodations or for more information, please contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s Walnut Creek or Richmond office.

Congressman DeSaulnier launched his first town hall of this series on February 3, 2018 and information on it can be found here.

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County Supervisor Diane Burgis schedules surgery to repair heart valve

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Supervisor Diane Burgis. Herald file photo.

In an open letter to District 3 residents, Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has served the district since 2016, issued the following statement regarding her health.

“When I count the things I am grateful for, representing you is right up there with my family, friends and good health. I am humbled and honored for the trust that you have placed in me, and I take the responsibility that comes with that trust very seriously.

That is why I want you to know that I am having heart surgery on February 25 to replace an aortic valve due to aortic stenosis, or a narrowing of my aortic valve. What some don’t know is that when I was seven years old, I had this same procedure, and my surgeons told me then that I would likely need another surgery later in life. The good news is that due to my overall health, the operation is happening much later than they predicted.

My doctors, who have performed hundreds of these procedures, assure me that my prognosis is excellent and that I will be better than new after the surgery. I will be in the hospital for approximately one week and then at home for recovery.

In the meantime, I promise that you will receive the same high level of service, sound decision-making, and representation as always. My staff and the County staff will keep me updated on the issues, and my office will continue the vital work that we are doing, in consultation with me, and under the leadership of my Chief of Staff, Mark Goodwin.

I also want to put everyone on notice – if you think it’s hard to keep up with me now, just wait!! I look forward to continuing our work together to create opportunities and find solutions to our challenges in Contra Costa County.

I also can’t wait to ride my bike on the Marsh Creek trail, hike up Mount Diablo, kayak on the Delta, chase my beautiful grandson, and get back on the tennis courts!

I am ready for more adventures in this terrific life!

Thank you for your support, and well wishes.”

Mark Goodwin, Burgis’ Chief of Staff will be the primary point of contact during Supervisor Burgis’ surgery and recovery. Well wishes may be sent to Supervisor Burgis at her main office, 3361 Walnut Boulevard, Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.

Supervisor Diane Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, which includes Antioch, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Oakley in East Contra Costa County and Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley in the southern portion of the district.

 

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Antioch Senior at UC Davis interning for California State Senator Glazer

Friday, February 8th, 2019

His only intern from Contra Costa County

Sasha Jordan. Photo courtesy of Mark Jordan.

University of California Davis senior, Sasha Jordan is interning for State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) this spring.  Glazer, who represents the 7th Senate District including most of Contra Costa County and portions of Alameda County in the East Bay, currently has three interns but Jordan is the only intern from Contra Costa County.

Jordan is an Antioch resident and graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2015.  She began attending UC Davis that same fall.  While at Deer Valley she was active in the Performing Arts Academy. Jordan will graduate in June this year with a degree in Political Science and minor in Communications.

She had worked as a teen and young adult for the real estate company owned by her parents Mark and Cynthia Jordan, a local Certified Public Accountant and a local Attorney.  She also had worked for the University as a resident advisor during her sophomore year at the Tecero Dorms on campus.

Jordan is currently applying for fellowships at the State Capital in Sacramento and is looking forward to a career in government.

“I think it is a good thing to help other people and government is just one way to make a difference” she said.

Asked about what she’s doing for the Senator, currently, Jordan said, “Right now, I’m working at the front desk greeting visitors. I’ve done some research projects.”

Her internship will last until March 15, which is the end of the Winter Quarter.

After Jordan graduates, her “plan is to work at the Capitol.”

As for her long-term plans, she said, “If you ask my dad, it’s to be governor of California.”

On a more serious note, Jordan stated, “My hope is to make as much change and improvement in the lives of individuals in California.”

Asked about her Communications minor, she said, “Right now, I’m learning about media messages. I’ve taken some classes on political communication, which I think is important. Because if you want to make change, you need the public to know about the issues that are going on.”

Jordan will graduate at the end of the Spring Quarter in June.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Council hires first African American as City Attorney

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Thomas Lloyd Smith. Photo from his LinkedIn page.

Harvard Law School graduate, San Leandro Assistant City Attorney

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to hire Thomas Lloyd Smith as the new City Attorney. He will receive an annual salary of $195,000 plus benefits. He replaces Derek Cole who has served as Antioch’s Interim City Attorney for the past six years.

As an attorney in the law firm of Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, Smith serves as Assistant City Attorney for the City of San Leandro. He also assists in the provision of general counsel services to the City of El Cerrito, City of Larkspur, and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.

“In the spirit…in the course of our community, we’ve come a long way,” Councilman Lamar Thorpe stated. “At one point, Antioch was a sundown town where African Americans were run out of town. I think it’s an important occasion during this Black History Month, by appointing our first African American City Attorney for the City of Antioch.”

With that he made a motion to appoint Smith.

“We went through an extensive process,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “Thomas is an exciting appointment.

Smith then spoke, introducing his wife, Danielle Smith.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life, second to the marriage to my wife,” he said. “When we first came to Antioch to find a home…I truly believe this slogan ‘opportunity lives here’…I would also say ‘diversity lives here.’”

“We’ve enjoyed the food here, we’ve really enjoyed the culture, the people,” Smith continued. “We can really anticipate what’s ahead. We’re really excited to be a part of it. We really know the vision you’ve set forward.”

“This is an honor,” he stated “I look forward to working with you all…and helping create the bright future that Antioch has.”

The council then voted 5-0 to hire Smith.

“If you were worried, tonight, you didn’t need to be,” Wright added with a smile.

According to the city staff report, “while working for Garcia Hernandez & Sawhney, Mr. Smith supported a city, a special district and several community college entities.

“His earlier legal experiences were with two Boston based law firms where he supported public policy issues and provided advisory services for non-profits, star-ups and venture capitalists. Mr. Smith has extensive experience in public law, contract law, conflicts of interest, workplace investigations, employee discipline and DFEH/EEOC matters.

“He has dealt with issues of the Political Reform Act, Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting law) and the Public Records Act. Prior to completing law school, Mr. Smith worked for three years as an administrative manager for a global law firm where he oversaw four departments with responsibility for business planning and the profit and loss statement. Mr. Smith also founded and was executive director for a Boston based charter school geared towards grades 6-8.

He started his professional career as a business analyst for McKinsey & Company in New York.”

According to his profile page on the Meyers Nave website, Smith’s current practice areas are focused on Municipal and Special District Law, Labor and Employment, and Public Contracts. His “senior management experience includes managing four departments across all offices of a global corporate law firm with more than 500 attorneys.”

He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Science in Education, graduating magna cum laude from Seton Hall University.

Smith is a member of the Oakland Police Commission, currently serving as its chairperson.

He will begin his new position on March 1, 2019.

To read Smith’s complete biography, click here: ThomasSmith-Bio

 

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Rep. DeSaulnier to host Emergency Town Hall on partial government shutdown Saturday, Jan. 19

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Event will provide local federal workers and residents with resources and information

Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) announced that he will host an emergency town hall on the partial federal government shutdown this Saturday, January 19th at 2:00 p.m. in Lafayette.

The shutdown has left 37,000 hardworking California families without a paycheck, increased wait times at airports and jeopardized air safety, closed our national parks, put tax returns at risk, and put millions of families at risk of losing or seeing reduced food assistance.

This emergency town hall will serve as an opportunity to provide residents and federal workers with the latest on the Trump Shutdown. Additionally, local organizations will be on hand to assist federal workers or those who may be impacted by the shutdown. This will be Congressman DeSaulnier’s 75th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress four years ago.


Lafayette Town Hall
Special Topic: Trump Shutdown

Saturday, January 19, 2019
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Stanley Middle School
3455 School Street
Lafayette, CA 94549
Doors Open at 1:30 p.m.

Note: This town hall was previously scheduled for Wednesday, January 23rd, but was moved to accommodate a change in the House voting schedule caused by the shutdown.

This event is open to the public, press, and photographers. Please RSVP by visiting https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or calling (925) 933-2660. To request ADA accommodations, translation services, or for more information, contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s office in either Richmond or Walnut Creek.

DeSaulnier’s district includes portions of Antioch.

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DeSaulnier recognizes credit unions for offering interest-free loans to furloughed federal workers

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Hopes other financial institutions will follow suit during government shutdown

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier

Washington, DC – Today, Thursday, January 10, 2019, on the eve of over 800,000 federal workers missing their regularly scheduled paychecks due to the government shutdown, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) sent a letter to the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association recognizing credit unions for offering interest-free loans to federal workers. The letter also highlights DeSaulnier’s hope that other financial institutions will follow suit.

“Several credit unions across the country have begun offering interest-free loans to impacted federal workers. I applaud these organizations for prioritizing customer well-being and am certain that this will be of great assistance to countless workers and families,” wrote DeSaulnier.

If the government shutdown continues into tomorrow, January 11th, over 800,000 federal workers will miss their scheduled paychecks, and the impact will be felt across the country. Eighty-five percent of the federal workforce resides outside of the District of Columbia. For instance, in California over 37,000 federal workers and their families will miss a paycheck.

“There are opportunities to prevent potentially catastrophic consequences for millions of Americans through cooperation and compassion. I will continue to work in Congress to re-open the government and ensure public employees and contractors are paid, and I appreciate those companies that are stepping up to help during this difficult time,” DeSaulnier continued.

Full text of the letters can be found here.

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Frazier reappointed as Chair of Assembly Transportation Committee

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Also continues on Insurance and Veterans Affairs Committees

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D–Discovery Bay) made the following statement after Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Paramount) reappointed him as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee:

“I am honored that Speaker Rendon has given me the privilege to continue as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee.  Serving as chair of this Committee has given me the opportunity to help lead California into a golden age of transportation infrastructure repair.”

“A strong economy depends on roads and highways that are safe and efficient and California is now a leader in the nation on finding transportation solutions that keep the residents of our cities, counties and state moving.  This historic infrastructure investment will put tens of thousands of Californians to work throughout the state.”

In addition to Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Assemblymember Frazier was also reappointed to the Committees on Insurance, and Veterans Affairs, and was newly appointed to the Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services.

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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