Gino DiCaro

Gov. Proposes Reforms of State’s Boards & Commissions

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Jan. 9, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In his State of the State speech, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his list of proposed reforms of California Boards and Commissions that include changes impacting the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). The changes were recommended by the California Performance Review (CPR) task force appointed by the Governor.

The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) and the Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation Commission (CHSWC) are on the list for elimination. Their functions are to be absorbed by LWDA. No details are available at this time.

The most difficult change calls for the creation of the Employment and Benefits Appeals Board (EBAB). EBAB would hear the highest level employment and benefits appeals. It would consolidate functions of three existing boards in LWDA:

• Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board;
• Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board; and
• California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

All current staff members of these boards would become employees of the new EBAB, except there would be only one executive officer.

EBAB would consist of nine members and an executive office appointed by the Governor, subject to Senate confirmation. Current board members would be terminated upon elimination of the existing boards, but welcome and encouraged to apply for the new board.

According to Agency staff, consolidating the three boards would allow for more effective coordination of administrative functions by a single operation, making the services provided to the State’s employers and employees more efficient, while preserving knowledge and expertise. Consolidating programs would allow for shared automation, common scheduling, and shared hearing sites for unemployment and safety issues. It would also improve future efficiency of Hearing Officers and Administrative Law Judges by no longer limiting them to one program. Their talent could move from one area to another in response to backlogs, rather than running the risk of potential layoffs due to a drop in their primary caseload.

The proposal to create EBAB and eliminate the existing boards was sent to the Little Hoover Commission which has 60 days to respond. It then would go to the Legislature which would have 60 days to approve or disapprove (taking no action would make it law).

CMTA expressed some concerns about the proposed changes in earlier comments to the California Performance Review Commissions and is evaluating the current proposal in greater detail.
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