California Victim Compensation Board
Open Meeting Minutes
January 20, 2022, Board Meeting
The California Victim Compensation Board (Board) convened its meeting in open session upon the call of the Chair, Gabriel Ravel, General Counsel of the Government Operations Agency, acting for, and in the absence of Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency, via Zoom, on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 10:08 a.m. Also present via Zoom was Member Diana Becton, District Attorney, and Member Shawn Silva, 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 at 400 R Street, Sacramento, California. Board Liaison, Michelle Greer, was also present and recorded the meeting.
Item 1. Approval of the Minutes of the November 18, 2021, Board Meeting
The Board approved the minutes of the November 18, 2021, Board meeting.
Item 2. Public Comment
The Board opened the meeting for public comment and Ms. Greer reminded everyone that, consistent with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, items not on the agenda may not be discussed at this time but may be put on a future agenda. (Gov. Code, § 11125.7.)
Gina Lorettelli asked to address the Board. She expressed her appreciation of being able to address the Board and to make a public comment.
Ms. Loretelli explained that she is not only a victim advocate, but a survivor as well. She expressed how grateful survivors are for organizations such as CalVCB and others that are available for victims in their time of need; however, she noted there is much more work to be done.
What many do not understand, Ms. Loretelli continued, is when someone leaves a violent relationship it does not mean the violence ends. This is especially relevant when there are kids involved and unsupervised visits are ordered with the abusive and controlling parent. The violence does not end when a victim is forced into co-parenting with the abusive, coercive, and controlling parent. Abusers are master manipulators who are often able to inflict fear in the minds of their victims and their children with a simple covert text message. Ms. Loretelli stated that she wished that the Board would understand that the violence does not end; it has not for her or her children, and she is no different than millions of other victims and children across the state.
Ms. Loretelli continued by noting that abusers often use covert tactics that don’t leave bruises or destroy property. Intimidation, threats and domination strike terror in homes across the state, and through something that is supposed to protect victims like third party communication applications. Police often are not trained to recognize the nuances. Therefore, victims do not have access to the support and protection they and their children need. As more is learned about coercive and controlling abusers, we are learning that this type of partner violence is the precursor to physical violence, gun violence, and in many cases murder.
Ms. Loretelli share her hope that CalVCB will continue its good work by expanding the criteria and definition of family violence, as well as educating the victim witnesses who help victims fill out applications, so that more victims can get it right the first time and get the help that they need as soon as possible.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Loretelli for her comments to the Board.
There was no additional public comment.
Item 3. Executive Officer Statement
Executive Officer Gledhill updated the Board on several items:
Ms. Gledhill updated the Board on CalVCB’s long-term hybrid telework plan, which began at the beginning of the January. For most employees, she explained, that means coming into the office one day a week with their unit for team building and training. Given that so many employees started their job during the pandemic, and most have not been to the building in 22 months, it has been great to see staff in person again. CalVCB’s executive team held an open house each day of that first week to greet returning staff, and many talked about how happy they are to be in the office and to have the chance to work in person with their teams.
Ms. Gledhill expressed her belief that this hybrid approach strikes the right balance, capitalizing on all the advantages of teleworking, while maintaining regular in-person contact in the office to foster a strong organizational culture. She also emphasized that CalVCB continues to take every precaution possible and is closely following the latest state and public health guidelines.
In other big news, Ms. Gledhill continued, Governor Newsom unveiled his proposed budget for 2022-23, and it includes additional funding and important updates for CalVCB. The budget proposal proposes increasing CalVCB’s federal authority and benefit limit adjustment to accommodate the increase in our federal Victims of Crime Act reimbursement rate from 60 percent to 75 percent.
The additional federal funding will be used, in part, to support a proposed increase in benefit limits for crime scene cleanup costs from $1,000 to $1,700, funeral and burial costs from $7,500 to $12,800, and relocation reimbursement from $2,000 to $3,400. Ms.
Gledhill expressed her support for this overdue adjustment for limits that were set in 2000.
Ms. Gledhill also explained that the budget also proposes changing the way CalVCB pays those who have been found by the Board to have been erroneously convicted. Currently, once the Board approves a payment to someone who has been erroneously convicted, these payment requests are sent to the Legislature and then must go through the entire Legislative process. This often means a delay of many months after the Board approves the payment, and in many cases, the claimants may be elderly or infirm. The budget proposal would provide CalVCB with the statutory authority and corresponding appropriation to pay the claims directly once they are approved the Board. This would allow the claimants to receive their compensation much more quickly.
In addition, to bolster CalVCB’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and meet state information security requirements, the budget includes $2.4 million in 2022-23 and recommends $808,000 in 2023-24 for IT infrastructure upgrades. Finally, to assist CalVCB in processing what is expected to be an increase in erroneous conviction claims under SB 446 – the new law that took effect on January 1, 2022 – the budget proposal includes $535,000 in 2022-23 and $471,000 ongoing for additional attorneys to process the expected increased claims. Ms. Gledhill reminded the Board and those in the audience that the Governor’s proposed budget is the starting point of the budget process and that each of these proposals would require legislative approval. CalVCB is grateful to have the strong support of the administration on these proposals and looks forward to the Legislature’s deliberation.
Next, Ms. Gledhill updated the Board about an audit by the Federal US Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, which she previously discussed with them. She noted the audit covered CalVCB’s federal grants for fiscal years 2016 to 2018. The audit made 11 specific recommendations. Ms. Gledhill advised the Board that the audit was officially closed on December 2, 2021, and that no further action is required by CalVCB.
Ms. Gledhill next updated the Board on her efforts to convene the first ever California Statewide Victim Services Coordination Council, which stems from her interest and goal of improving coordination among state agencies that help victims. The Council is anticipated to increase collaboration and information sharing among state agencies and improve coordination of services to crime victims and their families. More than a dozen different state agencies and departments play some significant role in assisting crime victims and, by working more closely together, efforts can be amplified, and victims will be better served.
Ms. Gledhill next provided an updated on the Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program, which began accepting applications on January 1. She noted the Legislature created the program as part of the 2021-22 budget and it provides compensation to survivors of state-sponsored sterilization conducted pursuant to
eugenics laws that existed in the State of California between 1909 and 1979 and to survivors of involuntary sterilizations performed in California prisons after 1979.
CalVCB has created a web page with information on the program and how to apply, which also includes the downloadable application In addition, the Governor issued a press release announcing the start of the program. CalVCB has received dozens of requests for applications and two have already been submitted. It is estimated that 600 survivors of forced sterilization remain alive and are eligible for the program. CalVCB will continue its work to get the word out about the existence of the program, which runs through Dec. 31, 2023.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Ms. Gledhill for the updates.
Item 4. Contract Update
The contract update was provided by Deputy Executive Officer of the Administration and Finance Division, Sarah Keck.
Ms. Keck reminded the Board that it has delegated to the Executive Officer the authority to execute contracts for the maintenance of the Board’s information technology system, as well as contracts in an amount not to exceed $200,000. For all contracts for which the Executive Officer has delegated authority, the Executive Officer reports to the Board the substance and amount of the contract at the meeting following execution of the contract.
Ms. Keck described the first two contract items, which were contracts for the maintenance of the CalVCB IT technology system. The first contract was for $53,715.65 with Kovaris. This contract provides hardware and software support for CalVCB’s network storage, as well as support for the onsite switches. This was procured through a Department of General Services approved Leverage Procurement Agreement. The second contract was for $55,575 with Migration Technologies. This contract is for Cherwell licensing and implementation services to provide a unified service management system at CalVCB. This was procured through the small business option.
The third and final contract, which was an action item for Board vote, was a contract with Crayon Software in the amount of $396,862.71, which provides software licenses for Microsoft server, database, and development tools that are critical for the support of CalVCB’s technical infrastructure and applications. This contract is proposed to be procured through a Department of General Services approved Leverage Procurement Agreement.
The Board approved Ms. Gledhill to execute the contract with Crayon Software in the amount of $396,862.71.
Item 5. Proposal to Approve Redistribution of Funds for Trauma Recovery Center Grant Awards
The redistribution of funds proposal was presented by Deputy Executive Officer of the External Affairs Division, Andrew LaMar.
Mr. LaMar reminded everyone that in May of last year, the Board awarded $13 million in grants to 12 Trauma Recovery Centers (TRC) for the two-year period beginning July 1, 2021.
The month after, Mr. LaMar continued, CalVCB learned that one of the TRCs receiving the grants would be shutting down – Fathers and Families of San Joaquin in Stockton. The TRC closed its doors on September 3, 2021, and as a result only spent $61,449 of its $967,103 grant award.
Mr. LaMar requested that the Board approve the redistribution of the unspent grant money to the other 11 TRCs that were awarded grants for this two-year cycle.
Chairperson Ravel thanked Mr. LaMar for his presentation and recognized the very important services that all TRCs provide for victims.
Member Silva asked if there were any other qualified TRCs, specifically TRCs that are located in California’s Central Valley, that had applied but were not selected to receive funding, that could receive these funds instead in an effort to ensure that services remained available in the Central Valley. Mr. LaMar responded that all qualified TRCs had been approved to receive funding, so there were no other TRCs that could receive the funds. Mr. LaMar also reminded the Board that CalVCB is already receiving applications for the next grant cycle for the upcoming spring selection and that there may be TRCs in that service area in the next cycle.
The Board approved the proposal to redistribute funds for the TRC grant award money.
Pursuant to Government Code section 11126 (a), the Board adjourned into Closed Session with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Counsel at 10:29 a.m., to deliberate on a personnel matter, and pursuant to Government Code section 11126, subdivision (c)(3) to deliberate on proposed decision numbers 1-101 of the Victim Compensation Program
The Board reconvened in Open Session pursuant to Government Code sections 11126(a) and 11126(c)(3) at 10:40 a.m.
During closed session the Board considered and approved an amendment to the resolution defining the power and duties of the Executive Officer to include the authority to adopt staff recommendations on appeals filed by Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program victims.
The Board also adopted the hearing officers’ recommendations for proposed decision numbers 1-101 of the Victim Compensation Program.
The Board meeting adjourned at 10:43 a.m.
Next Board Meeting
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2022.