California Victim Compensation Board August 20, 2020, Board Meeting Minutes
The California Victim Compensation Board (Board) convened its meeting in open session upon the call of the Chair, Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency who was present via Zoom, at 400 R Street, Sacramento, California, on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Also present via Zoom was Member Richard Chivaro, Deputy State Controller and Chief Counsel, acting for, and in the absence of, Betty T. Yee, Controller.
Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill, and Chief Counsel Kim Gauthier, attended in person. Legal Secretary, Andrea Burrell, was also present and recorded the meeting
Before beginning the meeting, Chair Richardson took a moment to thank previous Board Member Michael Tubbs, Mayor of Stockton, California for his service to the Board. Governor Newsom recently appointed Mayor Tubbs to serve on the Commission of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). As a result of this new assignment, Mayor Tubbs resigned his position on the California Victim Compensation Board, effective August 6. On behalf of the Board, and victims of California, Chair Richardson thanked Mayor Tubbs for his exemplary service and wished him well.
The Board meeting commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Item 1. Approval of Minutes of the June 18, 2020, Board Meeting
The Board approved the minutes of the June 18, 2020, Board meeting.
Item 2. Public Comment
The Board opened the meeting for public comment and noted that items not currently on the agenda may not be discussed at this time but may be put on a future Board agenda.
Gabriel Garcia, Policy and Advocacy Manager for Youth Alive in Oakland addressed the Board. Mr. Garcia acknowledged Youth Alive’s partnership with CalVCB, which has been incredibly beneficial to their clients, and they have received feedback how life-changing this support can be.
Mr. Garcia stated that it is challenging when clients are denied CalVCB benefits when they have not worked with law enforcement or had favorable police reports. He explained that it is too hard for their organization to accept that. because of fear in speaking with law enforcement at the scene of a crime, or during recovery at a hospital, benefits may be denied. He further explained that due to this, Youth Alive introduced AB 767 to address these challenges. However, the cost analysis that CalVCB submitted to legislators was above their ability to provide these funds and is larger than other cost analysis that have previously been submitted. Mr. Garcia stated that they are hoping to partner with CalVCB to better support victims. He noted that due to the high cost analysis that future bills will be more difficult to submit, as the legislature will be considering these previous numbers. Mr. Garcia asked the Board to keep this in mind when submitting any analysis, especially cost estimates that can affect their ability to advocate to the legislature for increased support for victims.
Mr. Garcia thanked the Board for their time.
Chair Richardson thanked Mr. Garcia for sharing with the Board. She then asked Member Chivaro if he had any comments. Mr. Chivaro stated that he didn’t have anything to add, other than that the Controller is happy to be the co-sponsor of the legislation mentioned by Mr. Garcia, and that they also had concerns over the costs associated with implementation of the bill.
Item 3. Executive Officer Statement
Chief Executive Officer Ms. Gledhill updated the Board on a few items:
Ms. Gledhill also thanked Mayor Tubbs for his service on the Board and wished him well.
Police Violence Update
At the June 2020 Board meeting, there was discussion about CalVCB’s ability to compensate victims of police violence, Ms. Gledhill provided an update. First, she noted that victims of police violence can currently receive compensation from CalVCB if they have evidence of a crime, usually in the form of a police report. She recognized that there are some who are hesitant to file police reports. There have been two pieces of legislation that have been introduced since the June Board meeting to address this topic.
One of these is AB 767, which was referenced in the public comment. CalVCB worked closely with the Government Operations Agency and the Governor’s Office to understand these measures and their potential costs, both because of the increased compensation to be paid out as well as the increased workload. One of these bills is still active in the legislature and being heard today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. We will continue to monitor that legislation and continue to work on this issue.
Telework – Stay at Home Order
Ms. Gledhill confirmed that the majority of CalVCB staff continues to work primarily remotely, although some staff are in the office to perform necessary work.
COVID 19 – Impact on Claims
There has been a decrease in claims, which CalVCB is concerned about and it is unclear at this point if it is due to COVID 19. Staff are looking at ways to expand our outreach to people who may not be able to reach our services as they would have done before COVID 19. There continues to be an increase in the number of applications received through the online portal, which is something that will continue to be promoted.
COVID 19 – Inmate Early Release Impact
CalVCB is working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to address the impact of inmates being released early due to COVID 19, and how the victims are affected. Information has been added to the website, specifically for those victims in order to better assist them as they may be experiencing additional trauma right now, especially if they were a victim of a released inmate.
Executive Officer Gledhill reported on recent organizational changes within CalVCB to better serve victims. In mid-July, a small reorganization was implemented that focuses on better structuring personnel. One change was reconstituting the Recovery Revenue Section to better track restitution dollars in the state, and second, creating a Policy Outreach and Grants Division to bring together parts of the department that outreach with the community. Further, all of the grant functions within the organization were brought together for the first time to allow CalVCB to better administer and receive grant; The Senior Management Auditor position was reestablished and will be moving it to a separate division that reports directly to the Chief Deputy Executive Officer to assure proper oversight. All these changes were made with one goal in mind – to improve the work that CalVCB does for victims of crime.
Lastly, Executive Officer Gledhill thanked the Deputy Executive Officer of the Information Technology Division, Gary Arstein-Kerslake, who is retiring at the end of this month after many years of state service, with the last three at CalVCB. He oversaw many technology projects, including the development of our online portal and making significant upgrades to our internal IT services. He also oversaw the herculean task of moving us all to telework in a matter of days. Ms. Gledhill expressed her gratitude for his service and wished him well in retirement.
Chair Richardson congratulated Mr. Arstein-Kerslake on his pending retirement. Chair Richardson also thanked Executive Officer Gledhill for the report and the changes to the CalVCB organization to provide services to Californians in the most effective way. Regarding the comments to AB 767 legislation, Chair Richardson asked if we should expect an update at the next board meeting. Ms. Gledhill confirmed that there will be an update at the September Board meeting.
Chair Richardson asked Member Chivaro if he had any comments, and he said that he would like to add that as an action item in case the Board takes the position to support the legislation.
Item 4. Contract Update
Chief Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill provided the contract update. There was one contract for approval.
Ms. Gledhill requested approval of the contract with a company called 10Up Inc., for $244,903.80 to reimagine the CalVCB website. The website is CalVCB’s digital front door to many Californians across state government and it’s important for us to have it be welcoming, inviting, and get people the information that they need quickly. This contract will help CalVCB transform its website into one that is easier for victims to use. Not only that, but it will also allow victims of any type, whether they are coming to CalVCB for our services or perhaps somewhere else in state government, to find the help that they need. Ms. Gledhill acknowledged the website – victims.ca.gov – should serve people who come to the site who may need help from other state departments. It’s not up to them to know which state department they need to get to; we want to be able to assist them in finding the services they need. This work on the website will be the first step in that effort to create a victims’ portal for the State of California. Among the many constraints of the current CalVCB website is that it is based in a technology that can only be upgraded or updated by IT professionals. The goal is to transform it into something that is much simpler to use, and easier for executives or public affairs staff to be able to manage and maintain. This contract will be funded through a grant with CalOES and will not utilize any General Fund money or Restitution Fund money.
Member Chivaro moved for approval, Chair Richardson seconded the motion. There was no public comment. The Board voted to approve the contract.
Item 5. Legislative Update
CalVCB Chief Counsel Kim Gauthier presented the legislative update:
Senate Bill AB 767
This bill was heard today on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Assembly Bill 2028
This bill would, except for closed sessions require that notice of a meeting subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, include all writings or materials provided for the notice meeting to a member of the state body. The bill was heard today on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senate Bill 74
Since the last Board meeting, the Budget Act of 2020 was signed by the Governor. It transfers $23.5 million from the General Fund to the Restitution Fund. Provisional language also specifies that upon order of the Director of Department of Finance, the amount available for transfer may be increased by an amount, sufficient to backfill the Restitution Fund, if a determination is made that revenues are insufficient to support the CalVCB.
Senate Bill 417
CalVCBs erroneous convictions claims bill, was signed by the Governor. It appropriated $5,087,040 from the general fund to pay seven erroneous conviction claims approved by CalVCB.
Item 6. Joshua Gonzales (Pen. Code, §§ 4900, et seq.)
At the request of the Attorney General’s Office and good cause appearing therefore, this item has been continued to the next board meeting, which is September 17, 2020.
Pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3), the Board adjourned into Closed Session with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Counsel at 10:16 a.m., to deliberate on proposed decision numbers 1-103 of the Victim Compensation Program.
The Board reconvened in Open Session pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3) at 10:23 a.m.
The Board adopted the hearing officers’ recommendations for proposed decision numbers 1-103 of the Victim Compensation Program.
The Board meeting adjourned at 10:24 a.m.
Next Board Meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2020.