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APRIL 7, 2003

WORKGROUP MEMBERS: Peter Anderson, Assembly Republican Policy Consultants Mary Blankenship, Triple-A Council of California Bonnie Darwin, Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care Nancy Dolton, California Commission on Aging Dennis Dudley, California Association of Area Agencies on Aging John Davis, California Association of Area Agencies on Aging Erwin Fromm, California Senior Legislature June Hamilton, California Senior Legislature Carla Hett Smith, California Commission on Aging Bill Hollabaugh, Triple-A Council of California Johnna Meyer, California Department of Aging Ray Mastalish, California Commission on Aging Karen Pines, California Commission on Aging Helen Russ, AARP (Facilitator and Moderator) Sarah Sutro, Senate Subcommittee on Aging and Long Term Care Martin Tucker, California Senior Legislature



About the Organizations Project Background Workgroup Process Breaking Down the Issues Addressing the Issues: Recommendations Conclusions Attachments : A. Letter of Request for Workgroup B. Memorandum of Understanding C. Election of CSL Members

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The California Commission on Aging (CCOA) was established in 1973 by the Burton Act. It is comprised of 25 commissioners; 19 appointed by the Governor, 3 appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and 3 by the Senate Rules Committee. All Commissioners serve three year terms as volunteers. The Commission serves as “the principal advocate in the state on behalf of older individuals, including, but not limited to, advisory participation in the consideration of all legislation and regulations made by state and federal departments and agencies relating to programs and services that affect older individuals.” As such, it is the principal advisory body to the Governor, State Legislature, and State, Federal and local departments and agencies on issues affecting older individuals in order to ensure a quality of life for older Californians so they may live with dignity in their chosen environment. The California Senior Legislature (CSL) gathers ideas for legislation at the state and federal levels, crafts the ideas into formal proposals, prioritizes the proposals, presents them to members of the Legislature or the Congress, and advocates for laws implementing the ideas. Every October, the CSL convenes a four-day legislative session at the State Capitol to debate and prioritize the proposals. The 40 volunteer Senior Senators and 80 volunteer Senior Assemblymembers are elected or appointed in the 33 Planning and Services Areas (PSAs) in California. Members serve for two-year terms. Between the CSL's annual sessions, the Joint Rules Committee (JRC) provides for the governance of the CSL and plans the annual session. The Legislative Committee directs the presentation of proposals to the Legislature or Congress. Staff support and fiscal management of the CSL is provided by the California Commission on Aging. Area Agency on Aging Advisory Councils (TACC) The AAA Advisory Councils act as principal advocate bodies on behalf of older individuals within the planning and service areas, and reviews and advises the efforts of the local AAAs. The Councils meet regularly and provide advice and consultation on issues affecting the provision of services provided locally to older individuals. The Triple-A Council of California (TACC) as the AAA Advisory Council's leadership organization promotes communication and collaboration among local advisory councils, educates through the exchange of information, ideas, trends, and models of service delivery, and advocates on issues of concern in local/state planning processes. The chairs of the 33 Advisory Councils form its membership. The California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A) brings together the directors of the Area Agencies on Aging. While it has no direct connection to the CCoA or the CSL, it has an interest in the activities of the CSL. It is required to participate in advising the CSL on election procedures

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This report is a product of the Ad Hoc Review Workgroup meetings occurring at the request of Assembly Member Lynn Daucher and Senator John Vasconcellos from September of 2002 through February 2003. The purpose of the task force was to study the fiscal and administrative relationship between the California Commission on Aging and the California Senior Legislature. (See Appendix A for the letter calling for the task force.) Particularly, the letter called for recommendations on the following: 1. The administrative relationship between the Commission and CSL, 2. The efficiency and effectiveness of both organizations; and 3. Internal and external procedures for the legislative process.

 Senator Vasconcellos and Assembly Member Daucher specified the composition of the Review Workgroup to include the California Commission on Aging (CCoA), California Senior Legislature (CSL), Triple-A Council of California (TACC), California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A), California Department of Aging (CDA), Legislative staff representing the aging committees, and the Legislative Analyst Office. The Chair of the CSL Joint Rules Committee (JRC) selected two members, as did the Chair of CCoA, and the Chair of TACC. The Work Group met in September, October, November, December, January and February. The Workgroup’s report was presented to the CCoA, TACC, C4A, CDA, and the CSL in April prior to issuing to the Legislators. The State AARP President facilitated all meetings in order to allow for equal participation by all organizations at the table. An agreed upon approach was that there would be no discussions of our deliberations or the recording of individual member comments in order to create an atmosphere whereby members would feel free to put all issues on the table for consideration/deliberation.

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 Identified issues were categorized as follows:
a. Advocacy (General, CCoA, CSL Internal, Legislative) b. Administrative Issues (General, CCoA, CSL Internal, AAA, Legislative, Budget)

 It was agreed that the product of the Workgroup would be considered that of
the Workgroup, not of the individual organizations represented.
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The following is a summary of the administrative, advocacy and fiscal issues confronting the CCOA and the CSL. Organizational Structure: The organizational structure of the CCoA and the CSL has contributed to ambiguity in roles, responsibilities, and authority. CCoA is given the responsibility in statute for the administration of CSL without the commensurate authority. The CCoA Executive Director is accountable to the CCoA, and the membership of CCoA maintains responsibility for selecting and hiring the Executive Director. In contrast, the CSL is without its own Executive Director, leaving the organization without a leader to direct the organization on a day-to-day basis. As a result, the CSL often assumes that the CCoA Executive Director will be able to address the day to day issues for the CSL. However, the CCoA staff does not have the authority to direct the organization, nor can the staff spend the required time necessary to do so, as the CCoA staff are primarily responsible to the CCoA. This creates a tenuous situation, ripe for conflict between the two organizations. Lack of Clarity in Roles and Responsibilities: The CSL decision-making authority lies with the ten-member Joint Rules Committee. However, these positions are voluntary, often leaving the day-to-day issues to in-house staff. Without its own Executive Director, the CSL lacks a leader who has the authority to act as a decision-maker on a daily basis. The relationship between the CCoA and the CSL is described in a Memorandum of Understanding (Appendix B) between the CCoA and the CSL. This MOU provides that a part of the time of each of four full time CCoA staff shall be devoted the needs of the CSL. Time is allocated according to which organization is paying for their time, as follows:       Executive Director: 85% CCoA, 10% CSL, and 5% TACC; The Associate Government Programs Analyst: 75% CCoA, 20% CSL, anf 5% TACC. The Staff Services Analyst position is allocated 90% CSL, and 10% CCoA. Office technician: 50% CCoA, 45% CSL, and 5% TACC. Part time retired annuitant: 50% CCoA, 45% CSL, 5% TACC. Part time retired annuitant: 100% CSL.

As is portrayed, none of the staff positions are solely accountable to and selected by the CSL. How the time is spent by each staff person is determined by the Executive Director who supervises the staff, in consultation with the CSL Chair. Therein lies a conflict as expectations change with changes in the CSL leadership. The ambiguity creates conflict between the organizations, with no mechanism in place for resolution. Often, outside groups are pulled in to resolve conflicts

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between the two, and much energy is spent resolving conflicts rather than working on the important advocacy matters. The current MOU does not provide the clarity and authority needed to work out the organizational issues confronting the CCoA and CSL, nor does it appear to be the mechanism to address the conflict. Integrated Advocacy: Due to differences in positions on legislation and priorities, the CCoA, CSL, and TACC advocacy efforts often appear fragmented. This fragmentation weakens each organization, and serves only to confuse the Legislature. To address this issue, in 1995, the CCoA distributed a proposal on “Integrated Senior Advocacy in California”. Following joint discussions between the Commission, the California Senior Legislature (CSL) and the Triple-A Council of California (TACC), the responses favored the effort to provide improved integrated advocacy for senior issues. Subsequently, the statement was adopted by all three organizations. The intent of the statement was to outline a formal procedure to integrate, or unify, advocacy for the benefit of California's seniors. While the steps outlined in the integrated advocacy document appeared reasonable to carry out, each organization has struggled to implement these efforts. Each organization needs clarification of roles and responsibilities, and integrated advocacy efforts need a defined structure. This would ease administrative issues, improve the perception of the organizations in the Legislature and in the aging community, and improve the quality of work and advocacy of the organizations. Accountability Issues: The organizational structure of the CSL and the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Advisory Councils does not provide clear accountability for CSL members to AAA Advisory Councils, nor does it provide clear accountability for AAA Advisory Councils to the CSL members. While some AAA Advisory Councils and CSL members maintain strong communication channels, others do not. A strong partnership and open communication between the two would lead to improved and efficient advocacy efforts. Election of CSL Members: CSL Members represent the 33 Planning and Service Areas (PSAs) in California. Election of CSL members is the responsibility of the Area Agency on Aging in each PSA. The AAAs have five choices ranging from electing a representative with a local election to selection within the Advisory Council of the AAA. (See Appendix C.) There is some funding available in the CSL budget for these elections. Many AAAs have opted to directly select their CSL members, having found that there is not enough general interest and understanding among seniors to permit effective elections. However, regardless of the election method, once the CSL member is chosen, there is no assurance that the member will communicate with or be accountable to the local AAA and its advisory council, thereby fragmenting advocacy efforts. This lack of communication is a serious barrier to the effective representation of local issues to the CSL.

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Resources, Budgeting, and Funding Sources: Funding for the CCoA is allocated from federal Administration on Aging funds at the discretion of the California Department of Aging. Funding for the California Senior Legislature and the supportive activities is allocated from Line 53, the California Fund for Senior Citizens, one of the programs funded through the State's income tax-checkoff program. Through the tax checkoff program, taxpayers contribute money to one or more of ten voluntary contribution funds by checking a box on their state income tax returns. The number of checkoffs on the tax form has grown in recent years to the point where the form is very close to exceeding its current two-page length. Initially, the Legislature responded to the proliferation of checkoffs on the tax form by requiring checkoffs to have sunset dates and to meet minimum annual contribution amounts. The Legislature now requires new checkoffs to wait to be added to the form until old checkoffs are removed. The CSL checkoff fund is set to expire in 2005. The amount of funds deposited into the CSL account vary each year, depending on how many individuals contribute to the account during tax time. This creates budgeting problems for the CSL, as they are unable to plan due to an unstable funding source.

Integrated Advocacy and a Statewide Forum on Aging and Long Term Care: The Workgroup recognized that while the organizations previously agreed to an integrated advocacy strategy, it has not been successful and a new methodology is needed. The Workgroup concluded that a broad-base process for examining the issues would have considerable value in advising both the Legislature and the Governor on the major issues concerning seniors. However, it also recognized that the process needs to preserve the value of the CSL in identifying other issues and bringing them to the table. The Workgroup therefore proposes a new model based on a two-year cycle of activity in concert with the Legislature’s cycle. The agreed-upon model reveals a dynamic set of activities and information flow with key components being a biennial “Statewide Forum on Aging and Long Term Care” and alternating CSL Legislative session. CCoA would take the lead in initiating the Sacramento-based “Statewide Forum on Aging and Long Term Care” which is consistent with current provisions in statute (Older Californians Act) to convene the leadership of state agencies and departments that provide programs and services to seniors. In addition to this state leadership, statewide aging advocacy and provider organizations would be invited to participate and share information in the Forum. The CCoA would establish a conference planning committee that would include representatives from TACC, CSL, CCoA as well as the C4A and the California Department of Aging. In addition, the CCoA’s meetings around the state would also provide input into the Statewide Forum. The biennial Forum would be accomplished within existing Commission resources and private funding. The Forum schedule would include time for the CSL to caucus and visit Legislator’s offices as well as the opportunity to provide education and training of CSL members.
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Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council to Which CSL Members are Accountable Captures Specific Issues Flowing from Area Plans Field Hearings Convened Across State by CCoA Captures Broader Senior Issues

Information Flows Through TACC

Statewide Conference Convened in Even Numbered Years With CCoA as Lead

Senior Legislative Session Convened in Odd Numbered Years With CSL as Lead

Advocate/Advise With Governor, Administration Officials, State Departments and Agencies, Federal Level

Advise State Legislature, US Congress

Figure 1: Information Flow of CCoA/CSL/TACC in Model

The Statewide Forum, scheduled in even numbered years, would address specific issues identified through a collaborative process decided upon by the planning committee. After discussions, deliberations, and presentations by experts on the issues at the biennial conference, specific action items could be identified. The means for acting on these issues could be clarified as administrative, regulatory, and legislative solutions or strategies by the participants and experts. Legislative issues would then be channeled to CSL, and regulatory and administrative issues to the CCoA, with support and input from other statewide organizations. This Forum should enhance the visibility and influence of the “aging network” and allow for a more consistent message to Legislators on issues brought forward by a broader group of senior advocates and provider organizations. In the alternate odd-numbered years, CSL would convene a Legislative session for a logical flow of proposals based on the information and ideas generated in the Forum. By convening a Legislative session once every two years, the CSL would save resources, and members would not be under as much pressure to develop bill
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ideas every year. This coordinated strategy would not preclude CSL from bringing up additional issues outside those highlighted in the Statewide Forum. Individual CSL members from various parts of the state would maintain their individual ability to bring up any issues/solutions they choose related to senior issues as a CSL proposal. Additionally, CSL members could continue to work with legislative offices in the off years, but these efforts would not be formally sponsored by the CSL. This flexibility would allow individual CSL members to act on an issue in a timely manner without having to wait a year. CSL Elections: Based on the feedback received regarding the current elections process, the workgroup adopted the following statement: “All CSL members shall be elected or selected by their Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, and in some manner be an active participant with that Advisory Council, including being accountable to the Advisory Council for their activities.” Within this framework, Advisory Councils and AAA’s still would be provided flexibility in the election process. The process would permit Advisory Councils to choose how to elect the members, but would maintain a uniform accountability standard of CSL members to the AAA’s. Advisory Councils will be expected to oversee accountability and local participation of CSL members at the level appropriate for the individual advisory council structure. The Area Agencies would not be reimbursed for future elections, thereby saving up to $33,000 per year for the CSL to use in other ways. In addition, the workgroup discussed the term length for CSL members. While the current two-year term appears too short to take advantage of CSL training and experience, a four-year commitment could be burdensome to some individual CSL members. However, CSL members may run for as many terms as they wish. Therefore, the workgroup agreed to keep the term length at two years. Organizational Separation: After much deliberation, the workgroup agreed that the most appropriate option for addressing the administrative issues is organizational separation. To this end, it is recommended that the CSL separate from the CCoA, establish its own organization, and hire its own Executive Director. The workgroup reached this decision after realizing that both organizations' flawed structures, differing missions, and issues concerning authority and responsibility build a strong case for organizational separation. The CSL Joint Rules Committee should have the ability to hire and select its own Executive Director to lead the organization in day-to-day proceedings, and the CSL Executive Director should be equipped with the authority and responsibility to lead the organization. The CCoA and CSL will never overcome its issues until this structural flaw is repaired. The greatest difficulty with separation is funding. The CSL would be responsible for paying for the salary of a new Executive Director. To achieve this, the workgroup recommends that the CSL consider reducing the number of its members. The savings associated with fewer CSL members could be used to pay
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for the Executive Director's salary. Depending on budgetary projections, the CSL could reduce its total number of members to 66 or 33, equivalent to one or two representatives per Planning and Service Area. At present, not all of the CSL members are active and engaged in the organization, so the workgroup does not feel that reducing the numbers will have a drastic effect on grassroots advocacy. The Workgroup contends that a reduced number of members will help CSL maintain its effective grassroots ties, while also improving efficiency and advocacy efforts. As stated previously, up to $33,000 per year could also be saved annually by not reimbursing the Area Agencies to conduct the CSL elections. The workgroup suggests that the CSL work with C4A to resolve this issue. To develop into a separate organization, the CCoA and CSL need stable funding sources. At this time, the CSL is sponsoring legislation that would make its income tax checkoff funding permanent. This would provide a stable funding stream, though issues regarding budgeting will remain, as CSL still will not be able to project how much it will receive each year off the checkoff. As stated previously, CCoA's funding remains at the discretion of CDA.

After its extensive deliberations, the workgroup finds that there is no simple solution to the dilemma presented to it for resolution. It is the belief of the workgroup that this proposal offers California seniors a greater voice in the State government through a biennial Statewide Form alternating with CSL legislative sessions. The Statewide Forum brings attention to the major issues of the day as discovered by the CCoA, CSL, C4A, and CDA. The CSL legislative sessions develop proposals which arise both at the Statewide Forum and in the local PSAs. Thus, the CSL would become a pivotal organization in an integrated approach to advising the Legislature on these critical senior issues. This approach will enhance the efforts of the CCoA by focusing attention on its responsibility of surveying senior issues across the state. The CSL will be enhanced by the opportunity to explore major issues in the Statewide Forum in addition to bringing local issues to statewide Legislative attention. Administrative separation of the CSL from the CCoA will resolve the conflicts that arise due to lack of clear lines of responsibility and authority. All solutions considered by the Workgroup had budgetary implications. Therefore, the workgroup proposes to reduce expenses by reducing the number of members of the CSL.

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The Resource Manual of the California Senior Legislature, Part VII: Elections Section, provides extensive rules and forms for the conduct of election of Senior Assembly Members and Senior Senators, describing five methods that may be used. It provides that each Area Agency on Aging may choose the method to be used. In all cases, interested candidates need to declare their interest in serving and obtain 25 signatures on a Ballot Petition in support of their candidacy. Candidates and voters must be 60 years of age or older. Elections are carried out in May of even-numbered years. The five methods are: a. On-site polling stations balloting. Polling places are established where seniors may vote. b. Absentee balloting. Ballots are mailed to qualified voters and returned by mail. c. A combination of the first two. d. AAA Advisory Councils/AAAs may hold meetings or caucuses for the purpose of electing CSL members. e. Eligible AAA Advisory Council members may be the electing body of CSL members if none of the other election methods is feasible.

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