Supervisors Updates

By Scott Bauer, CAPS Supervisor Director

 

December 4, 2019

Know Your Committees. There are 15 standing and ad-hoc CAPS Committees that work to carry out CAPS’ mission. CAPS Bylaws require the establishment of certain committees, while others are born of necessity to address specific issues. Descriptions for all of CAPS’ Committees and their responsibilities can be found within either the CAPS Bylaws or the CAPS Policy Manual. Over the next few weeks, CAPS will highlight the important tasks that fall to each of our Committees.

Bylaws and Policy Committee. This Committee periodically reviews the CAPS Bylaws and Policy Manuals and discusses and brings forth Bylaws and Policy language changes for review and approval by the CAPS Board of Directors. Bylaws changes must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors.

Elections Committee. This Committee, made up of CAPS members who will not be candidates for office in the election they have been appointed to oversee, is charged with conducting the CAPS Board of Directors Elections in accordance with the CAPS Bylaws and Policy Manuals, and applicable rules and laws.

Benefits Committee. This Committee is responsible for the establishment and administration of CAPS members’ insurance and other membership-related benefits. A majority of this committee’s activity includes reviewing CAPS members’ and their dependents’ quarterly professional grant and annual scholarship applications, respectively.

Need a little extra money to offset Holiday spending? CAPS now offers a $50 incentive for recruiting new members, whether they are Rank-and-File, Supervisory or Managerial State Scientists. The online membership application form can be located on the CAPS website here. It only takes a few minutes to sign up. Make sure the applicant fills in the “referred by” field to receive your bonus! CAPS has already issued our first round of bonus checks.

Know Your Rights. License Renewal Fees. California Code of Regulations 599.922, compels the State to reimburse certain classifications who are required by law to maintain a license or certification as a condition of employment for the actual cost of the license renewal fees in effect on July 1 of each year. If you are required by law to maintain a license as a condition of employment, and encounter trouble with the receiving reimbursement, contact CAPS ()!

News Briefs.

The secret Richmond lab where Bay Area crab season annually learns its fateEach year, the fate of Northern California’s Dungeness crab season is in the hands of a few scientists in a quiet East Bay lab examining a small container of tan goo. The Chronicle was granted an exclusive tour of the state public health lab in Richmond this month, when scientists explained the intricate process that helps determine whether California crab pots will be filled for the holiday season.

Aging, Wildfires, Potential Pandemics: A Q&A with Dr. Charity Dean, California Dept. of Public Health – Dr. Dean, CDPH’s Assistant Director, talks about flu shots, emergency management, predictive analytics – and what public health issue keeps her up at night.

 

November 27, 2019

Know Your Committees. There are 15 standing and ad-hoc CAPS Committees that work to carry out CAPS’ mission. CAPS Bylaws require the establishment of certain committees, while others are born of necessity to address specific issues. Descriptions for all of CAPS’ Committees and their responsibilities can be found within either the CAPS Bylaws or the CAPS Policy Manual. Over the next few weeks, CAPS will highlight the important tasks that fall to each of our Committees.

Budget Committee. This Committee, chaired by the CAPS Treasurer, is responsible for establishing the CAPS annual budget, in collaboration with the other Committees and the Board of Directors.  This committee is also responsible for investment decisions of CAPS funds.

Executive Committee. This Committee, chaired by the President, and made up of the four CAPS Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer), has the full authority to act as the Board as specified in the Corporations Code Section 7212, if there are fewer than five (5) days required for action, as determined by the President, and the full Board is not scheduled to meet within those days.

Supervisor Committee. This Committee, chaired by the Supervisory Director, and made up of Supervisory CAPS Members, is responsible for addressing unit-wide supervisory, managerial, and confidential member issues, and advocates for those members’ benefits via the meet-and-confer process under applicable state laws and rules.

Know Your Membership Perks. Working Advantage. Your CAPS Membership comes with many perks, one of which includes membership in this site for discounted tickets for theme parks (including Disneyland and Six Flags), car rentals, even concert tickets! This cost-free benefit provided with your CAPS membership gives you access to thousands of exclusive travel and entertainment discounts, so you can make the most of your time away from work. To use Working Advantage, visit workingadvantage.com  and click “Become a Member.” Fill out the information and use CAPS’ exclusive code in the field “Company Code” (404852459) to create your unique account. If you sign up, and make a purchase before 01/01/2020, use promo code welcome10off, to save an EXTRA $10 off of your already discounted tickets!

Oral Argument Date Set in Senior Environmental Scientist Litigation. CAPS received notice last week from the Third District Court of Appeals that the long-pending challenge to CDFW’s use of Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisors to supervise their peer Senior Environmental Scientist Specialists will finally get its day in court. Oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. in Sacramento.

News Briefs.

California Association of Professional Scientists endorses Cottie Petrie-Norris.  The California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) announced its support for Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris’ re-election to the California State Assembly. In announcing their endorsement, CAPS President Margarita Gordus released the following statement: “Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris has a no-nonsense, pragmatic approach to getting things done in Sacramento, and frankly we could use more of it. As a businesswoman and a community leader, Cottie brings a results-oriented and data-driven mindset to the serious work of protecting California’s public health, combating climate change, and preserving our state’s natural resources. I urge the voters to keep her in the Assembly working for them.”

 

 

November 20, 2019

Know Your Committees. There are 15 standing and ad-hoc CAPS Committees that work to carry out CAPS’ mission. CAPS Bylaws require the establishment of certain committees, while others are born of necessity to address specific issues. Descriptions for all of CAPS’ Committees and their responsibilities can be found within either the CAPS Bylaws or the CAPS Policy Manual. Over the next few weeks, CAPS will highlight the important tasks that fall to each of our Committees.

Representation Committee. This committee, comprised of five rank-and-file CAPS members, at least three of whom serve on the Board of Directors, is responsible for the establishment and supervision of the CAPS Representation policy. The Committee is also responsible for authorizing whether CAPS brings forth arbitrations and unfair labor practice charges.

Member Communications Committee. This committee is responsible for overseeing CAPS’ publications for members, and for overseeing matters concerning membership, such as recruitment. Recently, CAPS has created a host of infographics for CAPS members, under the direction of this committee. These infographics can be found here.

Public Relations (PR) Committee. The PR Committee is responsible for the production of materials, media campaigns, and events to further the image of State Scientists and CAPS in the eyes of the public. Their largest event each year is State Scientist Day, which draws more than 2,500 third-through sixth-grade students to the State Capitol to learn about the important work of State Scientists in a fun, hands-on, media-friendly way.

 
Know Your Rights. Job Required Training Expense Reimbursement.
CAPS MOU, Section 15.3, authorizes the State to reimburse State Scientists for “expenses incurred as a result of attending departmental approved and authorized job-required training.” It also ensures that your attendance in these trainings is done “without loss of compensation,” including authorized training that State Scientists attend during off-duty hours. If you incur additional expenses for these pre-approved trainings for registration fees, course-required books and materials, mileage or transportation, tolls and parking, and/or lodging or meals, you can receive reimbursement. This section of the MOU also ensures that management must respond to State Scientists’ request for training within twenty-one (21) days. If you encounter issues with being reimbursed for departmental-approved training expenses or getting responses to your training requests in a timely manner, contact CAPS ().

Know Your Rights. State Holidays. The Holidays are fast approaching, and as such, it can be a helpful reminder that CAPS MOU, Section 4.1 entitles State Scientists to several state-observed holidays with pay, in addition to any official State holidays declared by the Governor. The next state-observed holiday with pay is Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28th), and the Day After Thanksgiving (Friday, November 29th). Additionally, every full- and part-time employee receives one personal holiday each fiscal year. Happy Holidays!

News Briefs.

Bakersfield oil company fights charges it spread millions of gallons of hazardous waste over Kern County roads for yearsA Bakersfield oil processing facility stands accused of spreading millions of gallons of hazardous waste over Kern County agricultural roads as a dust suppressant over a period of nearly three years. Prior reports indicate the behavior could have been going on for at least 18 years, according to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Second California Horse Succumbs to Equine Herpesvirus MyeloencephalopathyThe California Department of Food and Agriculture has confirmed a second horse positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), in San Bernardino County.

 

November 13, 2019

Know Your Committees. There are 15 standing and ad-hoc CAPS Committees that work to carry out CAPS’ mission. CAPS Bylaws require the establishment of certain committees, while others are born of necessity to address specific issues. Descriptions for all of CAPS’ Committees and their responsibilities can be found within either the CAPS Bylaws or the CAPS Policy Manual. Over the next few weeks, CAPS will highlight the important tasks that fall to each of our Committees.

Bargaining Committee. The Bargaining Committee, which is comprised of six Rank-and-File CAPS Members, appointed by the President and approved by the Board of Directors, serves as your representatives at the bargaining table, negotiating for your pay and benefits.

The “GAC” and “PAC.” These committees work closely together to advocate for public policy that improves your pay, benefits, and pensions.

The Governmental Affairs Committee (or “GAC”) assists the Board with developing CAPS’ legislative program by reviewing legislative proposals that may impact state scientists’ jobs. The GAC recommends to the Board whether CAPS should support or oppose bills introduced each legislative session. Additionally, the GAC may also recommend to the Board that CAPS endorse candidates for office or take a position on ballot initiatives.

The Political Action Committee (or “PAC”) works closely with the GAC to direct CAPS’ separately-accounted political funds to further CAPS’ legislative objectives developed by the GAC.

Know Your Rights. Overtime for Assignment to Incident Command Structure. CDFW and CDFA Veterinarians, CDFW Toxicologists, and Research Scientists II, III, IV, and Staff Chemists are eligible to switch to Work Week Group 2 (meaning they become eligible to earn overtime) for the duration of their assignment to an Incident Command Structure. The language in CAPS MOU, Section 7.7(B)(3) was clarified through a side letter, an agreement in addendum to the MOU, in September to ensure that the implementation of the language matched the intent of the Bargaining Team during the last round of Bargaining. If you qualify for the switch, and encounter any issues with receiving your overtime, contact CAPS (!

Hotel Reimbursement Rate Causing Issues. In many counties, the State-approved lodging rate still falls short of meeting market rates for local hotels. CAPS has heard that members are paying the overages out-of-pocket. CAPS is exploring options to address this concern for members. You can help with this effort by ensuring you submit your excess lodging forms (10 days before you travel is best, but, in any case, do it as soon as possible) for situations where you are required to travel to a location with high lodging rates. If you submit an excess lodging request and receive a denial (written or oral) from your department for the excess lodging, contact CAPS ( and let us know the date of the trip; when you were notified of your trip; when you submitted your excess lodging form; and when, how, and why you were denied. Excess lodging is not always approved, but by submitting the form, you can help CAPS build the case for increased lodging rates in the next round of bargaining.

News Briefs.

California Horse Succumbs to EHV-1Officials at the California Department of Food and Agriculture have confirmed a 13-year-old Quarter Horse mare from San Bernardino County, California, with equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

How Much Cannabis Do Californians Use? Researchers Asking In Order To Set Safe Pesticide LimitsResearchers from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Sacramento State are trying to calculate how much cannabis the average California user consumes on a daily basis. The information will help them set more accurate safety levels for pesticide use on cannabis crops.

 

November 6, 2019

Friends,

My name is Scott Bauer and I’ll be representing Supervisors on the CAPS Board of Directors for the next two years.  It is a pleasure to serve my colleagues in this organization.  I’ve served the Board in many capacities over the years, beginning as a Board District Director in 2006 and finishing my rank-and-file service as Vice President in 2017.  I’m happy to be back representing my fellow state scientists and look forward to working with an amazing group of Board members and dedicated staff to advance the interests of our membership, the CAPS organization, and protect California’s natural resources and public health.

I would like to thank Valerie Chenoweth for her years of service with CAPS.  She has fought tirelessly for state scientists, given countless hours to promote science in our schools, and done a stellar job representing our organization in the media.  I appreciate all she has done for CAPS and will do my best to live up to her legacy.

We have much to do over the next few years, and I will reach out to you from time to time to seek help in advancing our interests.  We need help from subject matter experts to explain to people in power why our jobs are important and why competitive pay and benefits are critical to retain scientists and recruit the best and brightest.  I hope you will help CAPS and your fellow members when you are called upon to represent them and help us shine a bright light on the great work we do protecting public health, the environment, and California’s natural resources.

Thank you for your support and enjoy the following CAPS updates and information below.

Sincerely,

Scott Bauer
Supervisor Director

 

The quarterly CAPS Board of Directors’ Meeting was held last Saturday, November 2, 2019. Motions and notable items undertaken by the Board of Directors included:

  • Approving of the Minutes of the August 24, 2019 Board Meeting.
  • Appointing the CAPS Bargaining Committee (which is responsible for bargaining with the Administration on the Unit 10 MOU), consisting of Chair Margarita Gordus (Sr. Environmental Scientist (Specialist) – CDFW Fresno), and Members Justin D. Garcia (Environmental Scientist – CDFW Sacramento), David Rist (Sr. Environmental Scientist (Specialist) – DTSC Berkeley), Jimmy Spearow (Staff Toxicologist – DTSC Sacramento), Maureen Lee-Dutra (Veterinarian (General) – CDFA Tulare), and Daniel Ellis (Environmental Scientist – SWRCB Sacramento).
  • Re-appointing the CAPS Elections Committee (which oversees the Board of Directors’ elections) to allow work on practices for the next Board of Directors Election. The Committee Members remain: Chair Rae Vander Werf (Environmental Scientist – SWRCB Sacramento), and Members Vanessa Miguelino-Keasling (Research Scientist III (Epidemiology/Biostatistics) – CDPH Sacramento), and Jim Long (Sr. Environmental Scientist (Supervisor) – DWR Sacramento).
  • Appointing the CAPS Political Action Committee (PAC) (which directs CAPS’ political action funds for the purpose of furthering CAPS’ legislative objectives), consisting of Chair Kris Wiese (Environmental Scientist – CDFW San Diego), and Members Scott Bauer (Sr. Environmental Scientist (Supervisor) – Eureka), Margarita Gordus (Sr. Environmental Scientist (Specialist) – CDFW Fresno), Maureen Lee-Dutra (Veterinarian (General) – CDFA Tulare), and Monty Larson (Environmental Scientist – CDFW Fortuna).
  • Approving CAPS’ endorsement of legislative candidates as outlined in the November 1, 2019, memo from CAPS PAC Chair Kris Wiese to the CAPS Board.
  • Appointing the CAPS Representation Committee (which manages the CAPS representation policy and organization), consisting of Chair Justin D. Garcia (Environmental Scientist – CDFW Sacramento), and Members Monty Larson (Environmental Scientist – CDFW Fortuna), David Miller (Sr. Environmental Scientist (Specialist) – DTSC Sacramento), Daniel Ellis (Environmental Scientist – SWRCB Sacramento), and Rae Vander Werf (Environmental Scientist – SWRCB Sacramento).
  • Approving new CAPS Local Reps including Charles Striplen (Environmental Scientist – Water Resources Control Board Sonoma), Anna Costello (Environmental Scientist – CDPH Richmond), Carmen Tull (Environmental Scientist – CDFW Sacramento), and Jason Van Court (Research Scientist III – Department of Health Care Services Sacramento).
  • Establishing the CAPS 2020-2021 Board of Directors’ Meeting Schedule as follows: February 22, 2020; May 16, 2020; August 22, 2020; November 7, 2020; February 20, 2021; May 22, 2021; August 21, 2021; and November 6, 2021.
  • Establishing Patricia (Patty) Velez as a Life Member of CAPS, effective with her retirement.
  • Re-committing CAPS to engaging the Administration, the public, and other State Scientists with regard to Climate Change.

This was the first meeting of the current Board of Directors. The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 22, 2020 (location TBA).

Staff Quarterly Report Posted. The Quarter 3 Report detailing representation items of interest is now posted on the Members-Only Section of the CAPS Website here: https://capsscientists.org/members/.

News Briefs

Chicken-killing Newcastle epidemic nearly eradicated – After 17 months and 1.2 million euthanized birds, the chicken-killing Newcastle disease epidemic is likely nearing its end in Southern California. No new cases have been identified since Sept. 4 and euthanasia orders have been lifted, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

A year later, cleaning up toxics continues at isolated wildfire locations — Nearly a year later, crews are working to clean up the last toxic remains from the Camp Fire. The household and industrial chemicals in the soil and airborne ash are mostly gone, carried away by the truckload as part of debris removal. But around one in three lots that the government is in charge of cleaning has needed to be scraped because of higher-than-normal levels of contaminants in the soil, according to numbers provided to the Chico Enterprise-Record by the state’s CalRecycle.

 


by Valerie Chenoweth-Brown
CAPS Supervisory Director 2017-2019

October 31, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

It has been one of my great pleasures to serve as your Supervisor Director for the past 8 years on the CAPS Board of Directors. I have worked hard to ensure supervisory members’ concerns and voices are well represented in the workplace, with the legislature, and in our regular Meet-and-Confers with the Governor’s representatives from CalHR. It has been a pleasure to serve you all during this term. I am so proud of all that has been accomplished and all that will continue to be accomplished. I will continue to work on behalf of State Scientific Supervisors and Managers to actively represent our interests. I have faith in our leadership and staff and will continue to engage with them. Thank you for your support!

In Solidarity,

Valerie Chenoweth
Supervisor Director
2011-2019

October 23, 2019

Board of Directors’ Meeting. The next Board of Directors’ meeting (the inaugural meeting of the 2019-2021 Board of Directors) is scheduled for Saturday, November 2, 2019, at the Holiday Inn Sacramento, Downtown-Arena (300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814), commencing at 9 a.m.

All members are welcome to attend; parking will be validated. The Draft Agenda and Proposed Motions can be found on the CAPS website in the Members Only section.

Know Your Rights. Voluntary Personal Leave Program. Included in the CalHR Manual, section 2114, is a program designated the “Voluntary Personal Leave Program” (VPLP), which allows State Scientific Supervisors and Managers the ability to reduce their pay by 4.62% or 9.23% in exchange for 8 or 16 hours of VPLP time each month, respectively. Those who enroll continue to work their normally scheduled work hours, but receive the VPLP time which can be used in the same manner as vacation or annual leave time. Scientific Supervisors and Managers hour cap will vary by Department, and may be removed from the program at any time with 30 days’ notice.

News Briefs
Nearly 600 ex-EPA officials want Congress to investigate agency over ‘inappropriate threat of use’ of authority – CNN
Nearly 600 former Environmental Protection Agency officials are calling on Congress to investigate the Trump administration’s “inappropriate threat of use of EPA authority” against the state of California over recent environmental policies.

Fired EPA scientists to release air pollution report they say agency unqualified to issue – NBC
Nearly one year ago, the Trump administration fired a panel of more than two dozen scientific experts who assisted the Environmental Protection Agency in its review of air quality standards for particulate matter. Now, as the EPA prepares its report on those standards later this month, 20 of those scientists met independently to prepare the release of their own assessment of current air pollution levels, with a focus on the particles from fossil fuels that can make people sick.

October 16, 2019

Elections Results Posted! The ballot count for the 2019-2021 CAPS Board of Directors was completed yesterday, October 15, 2019. The official and detailed results as verified by the CAPS Elections Committee and MK Elections can be viewed here.

Here is the complete list of CAPS Officers and Directors elected for the 2019-2021 term:

President:  Margarita Gordus, Snr. Environmental Scientist (Spec.), CDFW, Fresno
Vice President:  Daniel Ellis, Environmental Scientist, Waterboards, Sacramento
Treasurer:  Kelley Aubushon, Snr. Environmental Scientist (Spec.), CDFW, Fresno
Secretary:  Kris Wiese, Environmental Scientist, CDFW, San Diego
District I-SoCal:  Willard Garrett, Environmental Scientist, DTSC, Cypress
District II-Central:  Maureen Lee-Dutra, Veterinarian (General), CDFA, Tulare
District III-Sac Area:  Justin D. Garcia, Environmental Scientist, CDFW, Sacramento
District IV-Bay Area:  David Rist, Snr. Environmental Scientist (Spec.), DTSC, Berkeley
District V-NorCal:  Monty Larson, Environmental Scientist, CDFW, Fortuna
Director-At-Large:  Jimmy Spearow, Staff Toxicologist, DTSC, Sacramento
Director-At-Large:  David Miller, Snr. Environmental Scientist (Spec.), DTSC, Sacramento
Supervisor Director:  Scott Bauer, Snr. Environmental Scientist (Sup.), CDFW, Eureka

CAPS at the annual DWR Environmental Scientist Conference on October 22. The Department of Water Resources holds an annual conference for Environmental Scientists employed with the department. This year, the conference will host CAPS on October 22, the second day of the event, from 1PM to 2:30PM. CAPS will be available during these hours to meet with members and answer any questions they might have. If YOU are attending the annual conference, be sure to stop by and visit!

Board of Directors’ Meeting Minutes Posted. The Draft Minutes from the August 24, 2019 Board of Directors’ Meeting are posted on the CAPS Website. View them here.

The next Board of Directors’ meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 2, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown Arena (300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814), commencing at 9 a.m. All members are welcome to attend; parking will be validated. The Draft Agenda can be found on the CAPS website in the Members Only section.

News Briefs

Cleaning up Paradise as a grim anniversary nears. As California braces for peak fire season, the most extensive post-fire cleanup it has ever taken on is nearly complete. Crews have hauled off more than 3.6 million tons of debris – twice what was removed from the World Trade Center site after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City. Work is performed parcel by parcel, in prescribed phases. First, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control removes hazardous waste such as propane tanks and asbestos, commonly found in older buildings. Other state agencies collect air samples.

October 9, 2019

CAPS Member Needs Your Help! Department of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Scientist and CAPS Member Dana McCanne has requested catastrophic leave donations in order to continue receiving pay and benefits.  Section 3.10 of the CAPS MOU allows transfer of leave credits as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit. If donating Personal Holidays, they must be donated in whole-day increments per the donating employee’s time base. All other donations must be made in a minimum of one hour (1.00) increments. Sick leave cannot be donated. If you can spare even ONE HOUR, it would greatly assist this member.  CAPS thanks all who can assist.  For more details: Catastrophic Leave Donations.

Know Your Rights. Lump Sum Leave Cash-Out Upon Separation. Section 2.12 of the CAPS MOU allows State Scientists who retire or otherwise separate from State Service who are otherwise eligible to cash out their leave balance may instead ask the State to transfer a designated monthly amount from their cash payment into their existing IRC 457 (b) and/or IRC 401 (k) plan. State Scientists who elect to make this transfer bear full tax liability, if any, for the leave transferred which exceeds the annual limits. Check with a tax professional to ensure you understand the tax implications before doing so.

Board of Directors’ Meeting Minutes Posted. The Draft Minutes from the August 24, 2019 Board of Directors’ Meeting are posted on the CAPS Website. View them here.

The next Board of Directors’ meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 2, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown Arena (300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814), commencing at 9 a.m. All members are welcome to attend; parking will be validated.

Did YOU Know? CAPS has produced the first four in a series of “Did you Know” Flyers targeting new-to-state-service scientists, informing them of all of the subjects that CAPS representation covers with membership. YOU can help spread the word by posting these flyers in your cubicle and the union bulletin board in your break room. See the flyers on the CAPS website here.

News Briefs

State fines Chevron $2.7 million over oilfield leaks near McKittrick — California oil regulators levied more than $2.7 million in fines against Chevron Wednesday for alleged violations related to a series of west Kern oilfield leaks that shone a harsh light on the industry even as the state said they caused minimal environmental damage. The size of the civil penalty – the second-largest issued under the state oil division’s new office of enforcement – was attributed to risks created by the leaks, their pervasiveness, and the state’s intention to offset Chevron’s profits from selling oil contained in the more than 1.25 million gallons of fluid that since May have flowed to the ground in the Cymric Oil Field.

October 3, 2019

Healthcare Open Enrollment Ends THIS FRIDAY. The CalPERS Annual Health Care Open Enrollment Period for the 2020 calendar year commenced September 9th and ends this Friday, October 4, 2019. During this time, State Scientists (and all CalPERS members) may enroll in or switch their CalPERS Health Plan, add eligible dependents, or delete dependents. All changes made during Open Enrollment become effective January 1, 2020. You can see a list of each CalPERS plan, and your costs after the new state contribution rates are applied. See them here: https://capsscientists.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CalPERS-Health-Plan-Rates-2020.pdf

CAPS Member Needs Your Help! Department of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Scientist and CAPS Member Dana McCanne has requested catastrophic leave donations in order to continue receiving pay and benefits.  Section 3.10 of the CAPS MOU allows transfer of leave credits as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit. If donating Personal Holidays, they must be donated in whole-day increments per the donating employee’s time base. All other donations must be made in a minimum of one hour (1.00) increments. Sick leave cannot be donated. If you can spare even ONE HOUR, it would greatly assist this member.  CAPS thanks all who can assist. For more details: https://capsscientists.org/resources/catastrophic-leave-donations/

Congratulations on Your Retirement, Director Thomas! CAPS At-Large Director James Thomas has decided to end his thirteen-year career as a dedicated public servant. Director Thomas worked diligently as an Associate Health Physicist at the California Department of Public Health, ensuring the safety of Californians for years. CAPS wishes him a wonderful, restful retirement.

How Your Dues Are Spent. Each year, CAPS’ expenditures are audited by a professional financial, accounting and auditing firm, Lindquist LLP. Once the auditing firm has completed their annual audit, CAPS releases an infographic to allow you to see “How Your Dues are Spent.” The infographic for the 2018 Budget can be found now on the Members Only section of the CAPS Website.

News Briefs

Trump’s EPA blames homeless for California water pollution, demands action from NewsomThe Trump Administration continued pounding California officials over the environment, Thursday, blaming San Francisco and Los Angeles’ homelessness for polluting their cities’ water and demanding Governor Gavin Newsom address a wide range of shortcomings with drinking water supplies.  

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Expands Statewide Sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer and ElkThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife is increasing the scope of its monitoring and testing efforts for Chronic Wasting Disease in California’s deer and elk herds.

September 26, 2019

History of CAPS. You hear it about CAPS regularly, “a union created by State Scientists for State Scientists,” but what does that really mean? CAPS was established in 1984 by State Scientists who wanted to ensure that their voice was not lost among the cacophony of other units who were also represented by the same union at the time. The result: CAPS. Take a look at CAPS’ history here.

Start checking your mailbox! CAPS Board of Directors’ Election Ballots were mailed on Friday, September 20th. Ballots were sent to every State Scientist on Friday. Members will receive a ballot with instructions regarding how to fill it out and return it, and nonmembers will receive the same, but with an extra piece – a membership application. Only members may vote in CAPS’ elections. If you do not receive your ballot by this Friday, September 27th, contact CAPS () to request a duplicate ballot! Voting will take place by secret ballot via U.S. mail, returned to a PO Box owned by MK Elections, the independent elections service administering the election. Your ballot must be returned to the PO Box before the ballots are picked up for the ballot count on Monday, October 14, 2019.  

Know Your Rights. Leave of Absence. CalHR Manual, Section 2122 allows State Employees to take an unpaid leave of absence for a period not to exceed one year for a variety of purposes, except to take another job either within or outside of State Service. This allows you to take unpaid time off work without fear of losing your job.

News Briefs

Newsom bucks his party on water. It had to happen sooner or later. At some point, California’s “resistance” to President Donald Trump would move beyond flowery rhetoric, tweets and lawsuits and seriously affect Californians. It happened in the wee hours of Saturday September 21st, just before the Legislature adjourned for the year. Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1, the self-described California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2019, and Governor Gavin Newsom immediately signaled that he would veto it.

These California pension and perk bills had broad support. Why didn’t they reach Newsom? Three bills that would change California law to benefit public workers received broad support in the Legislature over the last year, but at the last minute didn’t reach Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. The bills would have made cities responsible for mistakes that inflate retirees’ pensions, expanded workers’ compensation benefits, and given broad legal privileges to communications between unions and workers.

In Review. Check out what you may have missed from past CAPS Updates here:

September 18, 2019. CAPS Is Going Social! CAPS now has an Instagram account! We would love for you to follow CAPS on Instagram @capsscientists and tag us in your photos that highlight state scientific work. Feel free to use these hashtags next time you’re posting something: #ScienceMatters #CaStateScientists

Read the rest of the entries, or see what else you may have missed on the CAPS Website here: https://capsscientists.org/members/caps-member-updates/ .

September 11, 2019

As you have likely seen in recent messages, we are working on updating the CAPS Supervisors’ FAQ. The project is underway and I believe it will have a lot of good information for those new to the so-called “Excluded” classifications. We’ll have answers to questions like, “Why should I, a supervisor, join the union?” “Where can I find my rights enumerated?” And, “What does CAPS do for me?” However, in order to ensure that we get the most benefit from our improved FAQ, we need your help. Think back to when you first became a Supervisory State Scientist – being thrust into that position was an entirely new experience for many of us. What questions did you have that would have helped you in your new role? I want to ensure that CAPS continues to work just as hard for our Supervisory State Scientists as we do for the Rank-and-File. If you’d like to help, please submit your questions to: .
Your Vote Counts. Supervisory CAPS members can vote for the Executive Officers and the Supervisory Director. The 2019-2021 CAPS Board of Directors Election is currently underway. Nominating Petitions were submitted in July, Candidate Statements were submitted in August and this month, YOU will receive a ballot! Contact CAPS today () to update your mailing address! If your address is incorrect or missing in the system you will not get a ballot. Voting will take place by secret ballot via U.S. mail only. Ballots are Mailed NEXT Friday – Update your Address by THIS Friday, September 13, in order to ensure that your ballot is received with plenty of time to make your voice HEARD!

News Briefs

What’s killing sea otters? Parasite strain from cats – Many wild southern sea otters in California are infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, yet the infection is fatal for only a fraction of sea otters, which has long puzzled the scientific community. A new study identifies the parasite’s specific strains that are killing southern sea otters, tracing them back to a bobcat and feral domestic cats from nearby watersheds.

Newcastle disease detected in local birds – Virulent Newcastle disease was detected last weekend at a property in central San Diego County after a private veterinarian submitted dead birds to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, according to state veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.

 

August 30, 2019

This past weekend, I attended a quarterly CAPS Board of Directors’ Meeting, and felt the need to report back to you some of the results of the motions undertaken by the Board at the meeting. Those included:

  • Approval of the Minutes of the May 18, 2019 Board Meeting.
  • Clarifying changes to the CAPS Policy Manual regarding Payments and Reimbursements (The updated Policy Manual can be found on the Members-Only Section of the CAPS Website.
  • Clarifying changes to the Policy Manual Section on Committee Appointments.
  • The approval of four new CAPS Local Representatives. Did you know that Supervisory State Scientists can be Local Representatives, too?
  • Approving CAPS’ endorsement of 69 incumbents seeking reelection, and one open seat candidate for the 2020 election, the list can be found here.
  • Voting to support and allow the Representation Committee to move forward with the CAPS Referral Program, which will provide a small recruitment incentive to existing CAPS members who recruit new CAPS members. More information about the referral program will be released as the program moves forward.
  • Authorizing the annual CAPS sponsorship of the Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair Foundation (dba NorCal STEM Education Foundation), which provides members all over Sacramento the opportunity to earn mentoring leave each year, and allows us to interact with tomorrow’s State Scientists.
  • Authorizing the Budget Committee to move the CAPS General Fund into an Edward Jones insured bank account, following the recommendation of CAPS’ annual audit.

Additionally, I reported to the Board that I had directed staff to submit an inquiry regarding the status of the proposals we made at our last meet-and-confer with CalHR, and that we had yet to hear back. As you may know, per the so-called “Excluded Employee Bill of Rights,” CalHR is obligated to meet-and-confer with CAPS’ Supervisory Committee when we request; however, state law only requires the State to consider input by supervisors, with no requirement that any agreements made be reduced to writing. Despite this rule, these items remain important to Supervisory State Scientists, and they hit rather close to home for me. I remain in a classification that was not part of the Like Pay for Like Work Lawsuit, and have instructed staff to assist me with reaching out to the Governor’s Representatives at CalHR via every avenue possible. If CalHR does not respond to our latest inquiries, I’ve instructed staff to submit a request via a Public Records Act Request. YOUR Supervisors Committee is committed to continuing to work for ALL Supervisory State Scientists, including YOU.

A copy of the Quarterly Report that is provided to the Board and presented during the meeting is available online in the Members-Only Section of the website.
News Briefs

A report shows Trump’s water plan would hurt California salmon. The government hid it – Los Angeles Times 
Federal officials suppressed a lengthy environmental document that details how one of California’s unique salmon runs would be imperiled by Trump administration plans to deliver more water to Central Valley farms. The July 1 assessment, obtained by The Los Angeles Times, outlines how proposed changes in government water operations would harm several species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including perilously low populations of winter-run salmon, as well as steelhead trout and killer whales, which feed on salmon.

California state workers are giving up a raise. New contract reflects pension debt concerns – Sacramento Bee
Its impact might be minor, but a state union’s offer to give up part of a raise to reduce pension debt is notable for what it might signal. The California Association of Highway Patrolmen, which represents about 6,700 uniformed CHP officers, recently reached a four-year agreement with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration that diverts about a half-percent of a 3.5 percent raise to go toward pension debt. The agreement is unique because it specifies the diverted money – about $25 million over four years – will go toward reducing the long-term unfunded debts for California Highway Patrol pensions.

August 22, 2019

CAPS Endorses Member Running for State Assembly. The CAPS Board of Directors has voted to endorse Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt, a CAPS member, in the special election to fill Assembly District 1 (AD 1), which covers large parts of the north east part of California from Modoc County to Placer County. The AD 1 special primary election will be August 27 with a general election on November 5, should it be necessary.

This special election became necessary due to the recent special election of former AD 1 Assembly Member Brian Dahle to the State Senate.

Betancourt is currently the Chief of the Cannabis Permitting and Compliance Unit at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She is also a farmer, small business owner, and rural advocate who resides in Shasta County. She studied environmental biology and management at UC Davis for her Bachelor’s degree, and has a Master’s of Science in watershed science from Colorado State University.

She has seen the challenges faced by rural communities, such as a changing economy, neglected landscapes, and limited rural infrastructure funding, and wants to be a voice in Sacramento to help these communities thrive.

This is what CAPS President Patty Velez said in Betancourt’s press release announcing CAPS’ endorsement:  “California is facing the existential threat of climate change, including air and water quality degradation and increasing dangers to public health. On behalf of CAPS’ 3,000 members, we are proud to endorse a scientist for California State Assembly District 1, and know she will serve our state and her constituents with distinction.”

If you are interested in volunteering for Elizabeth’s campaign, or would like more information, you may visit BetancourtForAssembly.com or call (530) 289-8571.

Supervisor FAQ. Am I Subject to the MOU between CAPS and the State of California? While State Scientist Supervisors receive many of the same benefits outlined in the Rank-and-File MOU, they are not subject to the terms and conditions of that particular contract. State Scientist Supervisors are so-called “excluded” employees, not subject to the Dills Act. Rights for Supervisory State Scientists are derived from a myriad of locations, including (but not limited to) the “Excluded Employee Bill of Rights,” the CalHR Manual, Government and Labor Code Sections, and more. Navigating those regulations can be a full-time job!

That’s where CAPS comes in. We employ a staff of labor consultants and lawyers whose actual full-time job is to ensure CAPS members’ rights are enforced; and who better to answer your questions about what rights you have than those tasked with enforcing those rights? There’s a small catch, though. These CAPS staff can only assist someone who is a dues-paying member of the union. There is a host of other reasons to maintain membership in CAPS, but having the protection of the union is a big one. Ensure your colleagues are members by sending them to: https://capsscientists.org/application/

CalHR Releases Open Enrollment Toolkit. Open Enrollment begins September 9, 2019 and ends October 4, 2019. During this period, eligible employees may enroll in, cancel, or change health, dental, and vision plans; add or delete dependents; enroll (or re-enroll) in a FlexElect program; and or enroll in a cash option in lieu of health and/or dental coverage if you have other qualifying health coverage. The CalHR Toolkit can be found here: https://www.calhr.ca.gov/benefits/Pages/open-enrollment-toolkit.aspx

Board of Directors’ Meeting Scheduled for August 24. The next Board of Directors’ meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown Arena (300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814), commencing at 9 a.m. All members are welcome to attend; parking will be validated. The Agenda and Proposed Motions can be found on the CAPS website in the Members Only section. Password is Summer2019. It is case-sensitive.

News Briefs

Bird owners take precaution to avoid deadly chicken disease spreading through California People who own chickens are taking extra precautions to protect their flocks, as a deadly bird disease creeps closer to San Diego County.  The California Department of Food and Agriculture issued a quarantine for birds in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties after reports of the disease. With all three counties surrounding San Diego, officials here have issued warnings to chicken owners to look out for symptoms.

California Cuts Carbon Emissions Even as Economy Hums — California’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped again in 2017, air quality regulators reported Monday, and the dive occurred without hurting the Golden State’s raging economy.  An annual report released by the California Air Resources Board says the state’s economy grew by 3.6% even as its emissions fell well below a target set by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.  This means California remains on track to meet its goal of cutting emissions to 431 million metric tons by 2020, and has a good shot at reducing emissions to less than 300 million metric tons by 2030.
In Review. Check out what you may have missed from past CAPS Updates here:

August 14, 2019. Know Your Rights. Travel Reimbursement. State Scientists are entitled to be reimbursed for actual, necessary, and appropriate business and travel expenses…” in accordance with CalHR rules and Online HR Manual sections 2201 (Travel and Relocation Policy), 2202 (Mileage Reimbursement), and 2203 (Allowances and Travel Reimbursements). These policies allow for State Scientists to be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred for authorized work trips such as airline tickets; lodging at “commercial lodging establishments such as hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, public campgrounds, or short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) that cater to the general public,” as long as it fits within the maximum short-term lodging reimbursement rates published within the HR Manual here; and meals as long as they fit within the travel time frames and maximum meal allowances published here. Sometimes, problems arise with the set lodging rate maximums. If you are traveling to a location and cannot find lodging that fits CalHR’s prescribed maximums, be sure to submit an excess lodging request before you book, to ensure you get reimbursed for the full amount of your trip. If you experience issues with travel reimbursements, be sure to contact CAPS: .

Read the rest of the entries, or see what else you may have missed, on the members-only section of the CAPS Website.

July 17, 2019

CAPS is the exclusive representative of Bargaining Unit 10 State Scientists, this includes State Scientific Supervisors and Managers. We fight for the unique needs of scientific professionals in state service, including yours.

Our needs as state scientific supervisory employees can be even more unique than those of our Rank-and-File direct reports or our other supervisory employee counterparts throughout state service. That’s why I choose to be a member of CAPS! In CAPS, those needs that are so particular to my classification have a much better chance of being heard and advocated for.

Navigating our rights can sometimes seem impossible – they’re not laid out neatly for us as we’re not subject to any specific contract like our Rank-and-File counterparts’ MOU. Instead, we are subject to the “Excluded Employee Bill of Rights,” the CalHR Manual, and various other Government Code and Labor Code sections. Finding the correct one to tell us the answer to our questions can be a nightmare – unless we have an advocate who is familiar with our unique needs. CAPS is that advocate.

CAPS represents us in the workplace–protecting our rights! If a state scientific supervisory CAPS member requires assistance with workplace disputes, CAPS’ professionals, with the sole responsibility of protecting members’ rights, will be there to assist you.

Additionally, CAPS supervisory members continue to get a voice in how the organization is run via voting rights (supervisors vote for Executive Officers and the Supervisory Director on the Board of Directors); insurance benefits (CAPS members automatically receive $5,000 in life insurance benefits, $5,000 in accidental death & dismemberment insurance, $100,000 in travel accident insurance, and the opportunity to participate in low-cost group rate insurance); regular communications regarding your unique rights as a Unit 10 supervisory employee; and a host of consumer discounts.

I am a CAPS member, and if you are not already, you should be one too.

In Solidarity,

Valerie Chenoweth-Brown
CAPS Supervisory Director

July 10 2019

Thank you for your MEMBERSHIPCAPS is a Union made of highly specialized, technical professionals who take pride in their work and fight daily to ensure that the environment, California’s natural resources, and public health are protected. As I have long said, “If you like clean air, water, and food – thank a Scientist!”

Together we are stronger, and with a unified membership, we can more effectively work towards our goals. Currently, 48% of Supervisors and Managers in Unit 10 are CAPS members. Encourage your colleagues to join today!

For strength when it comes to meetings with the Governor’s Office, we need MORE members. We need to show solidarity with Rank-and-File and let the Governor know that State Scientists deserve equitable compensation, especially among our Masters and Ph.D. classifications.

You have rights under state law to express yourself. The Excluded Employee Bill of Rights (Government Code Section 3525 et seq.) guarantees you and all state supervisors the right to express yourself on matters of pay and benefits. Any state department that tells you not to is itself potentially violating state law.

For example, see Government Code Section 3538 which says: “The state employer and excluded employee organizations shall not interfere with, intimidate, restrain, coerce, or discriminate against supervisory employees because of their exercise of their rights under this article.”

Please encourage your supervisory and managerial colleagues to join CAPS today. 

Keep YOUR Union Strong.

 

July 3, 2019

Exempt Employee Emergency Response Work Gets the Recognition It Deserves. Pay Differential 421 – Emergency Response and Recovery Differential Pay was originally established after the crisis at the Oroville Dam spillway. Governor Newsom, recognizing the sacrifice and dedication of FLSA-excluded employees, has approved an expansion to the pay differential for all Work Week Group E and SE classifications at all departments for employees who are formally assigned to work on emergency response or recovery efforts as a result of a Governor-declared emergency.

Until now, employees in Work Week Groups E and SE have worked tirelessly without receiving overtime compensation for their time spent helping communities rebuild from tragedy. The differential provides double-time pay for the first two weeks of emergency response work and time-and-a-half pay for each week thereafter. Work Week Group E and SE employees must be assigned to an emergency response or recovery effort to qualify. This differential applies retroactively to October 31, 2018, and approval will be granted on a 3-month basis, subject to renewal, by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Official Notice on CDFW Sacramento to West Sacramento Move. CDFW gave CAPS official notice last week that it plans to move operations from several Downtown Sacramento buildings into facilities in West Sacramento. The relocation will impact 143 rank-and-file CAPS members and 39 supervisory members and is set to begin “on or after November 1, 2019.”  CAPS has already requested to Meet and Confer with Department representatives about the relocation.

CAPS has submitted comments from members on topics ranging from telework options and expansion, commute-time allowance, child care prospects, parking, bicycle parking, storage, cubicle size and others. Please send any additional concerns to CAPS at for presentation at the Meet and Confer with CDFW.

News Briefs

California teen bitten by sea lion in ‘rare’ attack officials believe linked to poisoning – Fox
A 13-year-old girl was bitten by a sea lion along California‘s central coast in a “very rare” attack that lead officials to believe the marine mammal had been poisoned after eating toxic fish.

A day in the life: State public health veterinarians at work — DVM 360
A typical day for Danielle Stanek, DVM, BS – and the state public health veterinarian (SPHV) for Florida – is never typical.

June 26, 2019

Supervisor’s Meet & Confer Held Monday. Your CAPS Supervisors Committee met on June 24th with Governor Newsom’s representative for excluded employees at CalHR. There was one member from the Governor’s team present and six CAPS supervisory members from different areas of the state, with varying backgrounds and classifications.  The committee presented proposals regarding the need for increased salaries and benefits. This was the CAPS Supervisors Committee’s first chance to meet formally with the new administration.

The Committee put forth the following proposals, generated largely from last year’s Member Survey:

Correct the Unit-wide inequity that was created when only 14 supervisory scientist classifications were provided general salary increases due to the Like Pay for Like Work court ruling. This resulted in 21% of the S10 classifications’, most with higher minimally required degrees, vertical historical relationships being thrown off from their S10 counterparts in bachelor’s level classes.

  • Correct the discrepancy from 2015 where the Like Pay for Like Work classes received 0.8% less than their engineering counterparts in their General Salary Increases.
  • Provide additional compensation to Supervisors who are sent to handle Emergency situations under Incident Command Structures.
  • Provide a Geographic Pay Differential for all S10 and M10 classes based on the Federal Locality Pay system.
  • Provide 3% Longevity Pay for supervisory employees employed with the state for 21 years or more.
  • Increase Voluntary Personal Leave Programs to match Rank-and-File’s benefit – up to 3 days useable per month.
  • Clarify supervisors’ uniform allowance.
  • Increase Professional Development Days to 5 and Professional Conference Reimbursement to $1,000 per year.

You can see the proposals on the “For Supervisors” section of the CAPS Website: https://capsscientists.org/supervisors-updates/proposals/.

PDD Reminder. A quick reminder: CalHR Manual, Section 2112, provides Unit 10 supervisory employees with two days per fiscal year “for activities such as professional association activities, professional and/or personal development seminars, etc.” The language additionally states that “PDD must be used within the fiscal year or calendar year it is granted and not accumulated or cashed out.” Be sure you use both of your Professional Development Days before MONDAY!

CalPERS 2020 Health Plan Rates Released. The CalPERS Board of Administration has approved new health care rates for 2020.  The overall average increase over the 2019 rates is 4.65%.  Many plans show improvements over the preliminary rates that were released last month, but not by much.  The state’s share of the premiums for CAPS-represented employees is based on a weighted average percentage of the four most utilized plans.  For 2020, the four largest plans are Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield Access+ HMO, PERS Choice, and UnitedHealthcare HMO.  If you wish to make any changes to your coverage for 2020, you may do so during the open enrollment period from September 9 to October 4, 2019.  The 2020 Rates can be previewed here.

The State Worker Blog at the Sacramento Bee also covered the story here: CalPERS health insurance will cost more next year, but not as much more as insurers wanted.

CAPSule on the Web. The latest issue of CAPSule is now posted on the CAPS webpage.  Watch for the June issue in your mailbox soon! If you’d prefer to go green, and opt-out of the paper copy of CAPSule, click here.

June 19, 2019

General Salary Increase: July 1, 2019. A General Salary Increase for Unit 10 Supervisors will take effect July 1, 2019. Like last year, those classifications excluded from the Like-Pay for Like-Work (LPLW) raises in 2014 will be receiving 5%; while those classifications that received the LPLW raises will be receiving 4%.

CAPS’ Supervisory Committee will be meeting with Governor Newsom’s representatives for a Meet-and-Confer on Monday, June 24th to discuss CAPS Supervisory and Managerial compensation, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

CAPS Insurance Premium Adjustment. Some CAPS members who have insurance through CAPS with The Standard Insurance Company will see an increase in their insurance premium deduction effective with their pay warrant received at the end of June (July 1 warrants for retired CAPS members).

Members who turned 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, or 60 since July 1, 2018 will see an age-related premium increase as specified in-plan documents. (Please note that The Standard Insurance Company does not send individual letters notifying affected individuals of these increases.)

Everyone should periodically review their estate plan to ensure loved ones are financially secure in case of death or disability.  If you want more information about CAPS low-cost insurance benefits, or obtaining a quote on insurance coverage- with the convenience of payroll deduction-please contact CAPS (), or visit the CAPS web page: https://capsscientists.org/benefits/insurance/

Bianca Petzold Named to CAPS’ Staff Leadership Post. The CAPS Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Bianca Petzold is now serving as CAPS Staff Director, headquartered in Sacramento.  Ms. Petzold has served CAPS members at the bargaining table, in the Legislature and state agencies, and individually since 2012.  She is a graduate of the University of California at Davis.

As the Staff Director, Ms. Petzold reports directly to the CAPS Board, develops strategies to enhance members’ pay and benefits, defend their pensions, and protect their jobs.  She also oversees CAPS’ daily operations and acts as CAPS’ primary liaison with the state departments, boards, and commissions that employ a total of over 3,000 State Scientists working throughout California.

Ms. Petzold assumes the Staff Director role from Chris Voight.  The Board welcomes Bianca to her new role and thanks Chris for his many years of dedicated service to CAPS.

News Briefs

The Los Angeles Times inspects the intersection of public health and public relations in, “To stop a virus, California has euthanized more than 1.2 million birds. Is it reckless or necessary?”   The story explains how social media has helped to organize backyard chicken owners angry that their pets have been euthanized to fight virulent Newcastle Disease.  While the science behind the policy is sound, “the California Department of Food and Agriculture has tried in vain for the past year to educate the public about the outbreak,” the Times reports. “But there is no central database of the estimated 100,000 backyard chicken owners in California. Instead, agency staff has visited almost 150,000 homes and dozens of feed stores and community events. They’ve given more than 100 presentations at churches and held almost 20 town hall meetings.”

 

June 12, 2019

Use Your Professional Development Days before July 1. CalHR Manual, Section 2112, provides Unit 10 supervisory employees with two days per fiscal year “for activities such as professional association activities, professional and/or personal development seminars, etc.” The language additionally states that “PDD must be used within the fiscal year or calendar year it is granted and not accumulated or cashed out.” As such, make sure you use both of your Professional Development Days before July 1, when you will once again have two days available to you. If you have a question regarding how to determine whether you’ve used your professional development days this year, contact your personnel specialist. If you have any additional questions about PDD, contact CAPS at .

Request Use of Your Personal Holiday before July 1. The CalHR Manual, Section 2112, requires the State to credit each full- and part-time excluded employees with a Personal Holiday on July 1 each year. If an employee’s request is reasonably denied, they may be able to carry their personal holiday to the next fiscal year, or cash out the holiday on a straight time (hour-for-hour) basis – it’s up to each department to determine how to proceed. “Excluded” employees are only allowed to carry over a maximum of two personal holidays at any time. Be sure to request your Personal Holiday before July 1, when a new Personal Holiday will be credited to you.

Summer Consumer Discounts! Membership comes with benefits, one of which includes a host of consumer discounts curated by CAPS for your benefit. Some good discounts to capitalize on now that the hot weather is here include: Anheuser-Busch Theme Parks/Sea World – adults pay the kids’ price, and kids admission is even less; Boomers Parks – theme parks with locations in Livermore, Modesto, Santa Maria, El Cajon, Fountain Valley, Irvine, San Diego, and Upland in California, as well as Boca Raton, Florida and Houston, Texas; California’s Great America; Knott’s Berry Farm; Legoland California (Carlsbad); Monterey Bay Aquarium; Whitewater Rafting (Northern California); and much, much more! Visit the Members-Only Section of the CAPS Website and view the Consumer Discounts to find out more information.

 

June 5, 2019

Department of General Services Releases 10-year Plan. CAPS received notice last week of the release of the Department of General Services (DGS) Portfolio Plan. This document is a 10-year strategic plan for the 21-building portfolio of state-owned buildings managed by DGS. The Plan specifically identifies that DGS intends “to sell some of the most aged and deficient DGS-managed properties.” The notice was sent to CAPS because the buildings under consideration are currently occupied and could require relocation to newly constructed, purchased or leased space. The Plan does not provide the specific timing for each move.  DGS says that “each move will be case-specific and differ based upon the situation” and expects “between 18 months and two years to successfully relocate the existing state agencies.”

This notice did not yet trigger the state’s Meet and Confer obligation. The membership will be informed as soon as CAPS receives any formal notices of relocation for any buildings affecting State Scientists.

You can review the DGS Portfolio Plan here.

No Updates On CDFW West Sacramento Move. CAPS members have continued to relay news regarding the planned CDFW move from many buildings in Downtown Sacramento to West Sacramento. Currently, it appears the first large-scale move will begin around November 1, 2019. CDFW has not yet formally noticed CAPS of this or any of the planned West Sacramento moves, but will certainly need to do so with at least 30 days’ notice. Rest assured, CAPS will request a Meet and Confer as soon as possible after the notice is received.

CAPS continues to collect member comments as we await the formal notice. Please send your concerns to CAPS at .

Meet and Confer to be Scheduled with Pesticide Regulations. The Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) noticed CAPS regarding an update  to their formal written Telework Policy on May 22, 2019. CAPS has reviewed the updates to the formal Telework Policy and believes some of the language is inconsistent with the current MOU. CAPS attempted to informally request revisions to the document; however, DPR has opted for the formal route. A Meet and Confer will be held regarding the Policy.  If you are at DPR, please review the policy here (CAPS’ issues are highlighted in the document). Then provide any additional concerns or comments to .

Labor Relations Assignments at CalHR. Earlier this month, interim Labor Relations Officer assignments at CalHR were released for each of the 21 Bargaining Units. This list confirmed that returning as the Excluded, Supervisory Labor Relations Officer is Kate Van Sickle. CAPS has reached out to Ms. Van Sickle and relayed a request for the CAPS Supervisors Committee to hold a meeting with her prior to the end of the fiscal year.

News Briefs

California eyes 1,4-dioxane in certain consumer products – Chemical Watch
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is considering listing specific consumer products containing 1,4-dioxane a priority product under its Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program. According to the state agency, 1,4-dioxane is a likely human carcinogen that is highly mobile and persistent in water. It is not removed by most wastewater and drinking water treatment processes.
In Review. Check out what you may have missed from past CAPS Updates here:

May 29, 2019. CAPS Submits Support Letter for Family Care Leave Expansion. Last week, CAPS President Patty Velez sent a letter in support of Governor Newsom’s proposed expansion of Family Care Leave to Excluded Employees within state service with some caveats, including to expand the benefit to all rank and file Unit 10 employees.

May 8, 2019

 
Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out.
CalHR has authorized Departments to analyze whether they have the funding to participate in the Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out Program for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year. CalHR Manual Section 2104 allows eligible employees in participating departments to submit a written request during the month of May in order to receive payment at their regular salary rate in exchange for up to 80 unused leave hours.  Eligible leave may be a combination of vacation or annual leave, personal leave (personal leave 1992, 2003, 2010/11/12 and voluntary personal leave), personal holiday, or holiday credit.  Payment for all leave hours are made using existing departmental appropriations. Therefore, each department’s participation is subject to the availability of departmental funds. The following Departments have so far reported their participation at up to 80 hours: State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Conservation, Department of General Services, Office of the State Architect, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, CalRecycle, the Air Resources Board, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Department of Water Resources. Other Departments have indicated their participation at up to 40 hours: CalTrans. Some Departments have indicated that they will not be participating at all this year, so far those include: the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the DMV. For future updates on which Departments are participating in the Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out, visit the CAPS website.

Wildlife Scientist Needs Your Help.  Rebecca Barboza, a CAPS member at the Department of Fish and Wildlife, is in need of catastrophic leave donations. The following leave credits may be donated as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit. If donating Personal Holidays, they must be donated in whole day increments per the donating employee’s time base. All other donations must be made in a minimum of one hour (1.00) increments and sick leave cannot be donated.  If you wish to donate any of your leave credits, other than sick leave, please click here.  Ms. Barboza and CAPS thanks you in advance for your support!

News Briefs

Fate of baby bear in viral video rests on California wildlife expertsReno Gazette Journal
The fate of a baby bear shown on video approaching a snowboarder at a ski resort earlier this month rests with veterinarians with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who are still observing the bear at a lab in Rancho Cordova, just outside Sacramento.

CDPH Urges Californians Traveling Internationally to be Fully Vaccinated against Measles – Santa Barbara Independent
The California Department of Public Health today urged Californians to make sure they are vaccinated against measles, especially anyone who plans to travel internationally.

In Review. Check out what you may have missed from past CAPS Updates here:

January 30, 2019. So, if not in the MOU, where are my rights? Supervisory and managerial scientists should refer to the CalHR Online HR Manual to find their enumerated rights. And, reach out to CAPS () if they have any questions.

May 1, 2019

This month’s Capsule is now available.  Watch for the April issue in your mailbox soon!

REMINDER: March For Science is Saturday, May 4!  Marches are being planned throughout California for Saturday, May 4, 2019.  Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego have announced their marches already: https://capsscientists.org/march-for-science/

While CAPS isn’t the principal organizer of any of the marches, CAPS does support them with the following message: SCIENCE MATTERS. SCIENTISTS MATTER. CALIFORNIA STATE SCIENTISTS.

The CAPS Member Action Committee (MAC) needs HELP ensuring CAPS’ message on behalf of State Scientists is delivered at each March. Will YOU attend?  CAPS will facilitate communications among those attending .  If YOU are planning to attend a March please let us know here: https://forms.gle/V8oXdZLTbHfs4Lg18
 
Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out. CalHR has authorized Departments to analyze whether they have the funding to participate in the Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out Program for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year and to inform the unions during the month of April. The CAPS MOU allows eligible employees in participating departments to submit a written request during the month of May to receive payment at their regular salary rate in exchange for up to 80 unused vacation or annual leave hours.  Payment for all leave hours are made using existing departmental appropriations, therefore, each department’s participation is subject to the availability of departmental funds. The following Departments have reported their participation at up to 80 hours so far: State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Conservation, Department of General Services, Office of the State Architect, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the Departmwnt of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery. Other Departments have indicated their participation at up to 40 hours. So far this includes: Department of Transportation. Some Departments have indicated that they will not be participating at all this year, so far those include: the California Department of Public Health, and the DMV.

Board of Directors’ Meeting Minutes Posted. The Draft Minutes from the February 9, 2019 Board of Directors’ Meeting are posted on the CAPS Website. View them here.

The next Board of Directors’ meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the Courtyard Marriott Airport Natomas Hotel (2101 River Plaza Dr, Sacramento, CA 95833), commencing at 9 a.m. All members are welcome to attend!

News Briefs

Fate of baby bear in viral video rests on California wildlife expertsReno Gazette Journal
The fate of a baby bear shown on video approaching a snowboarder at a ski resort earlier this month rests with veterinarians with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who are still observing the bear at a lab in Rancho Cordova, just outside Sacramento.

CDPH Urges Californians Traveling Internationally to be Fully Vaccinated against Measles – Santa Barbara Independent
The California Department of Public Health today urged Californians to make sure they are vaccinated against measles, especially anyone who plans to travel internationally.

In Review. Check out what you may have missed from past CAPS Updates here:

April 11, 2019. Voluntary Personal Leave Program. Included in the CAPS MOU, section 3.19, is a program designated the “Voluntary Personal Leave Program” (VPLP), which allows State Scientists the ability to reduce their pay by 4.62%, 9.23%, or 13.85% in exchange for 8, 16, or 24 hours of VPLP time each month, respectively.

March 27, 2019

Wildlife Scientist Needs Your Help.  Rebecca Barboza, a CAPS member at the Department of Fish and Wildlife, is in need of catastrophic leave donations. The following leave credits may be donated as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit. If donating Personal Holidays, they must be donated in whole day increments per the donating employee’s time base. All other donations must be made in a minimum of one hour (1.00) increments and sick leave cannot be donated.  If you wish to donate any of your leave credits, other than sick leave, please see https://capsscientists.org/resources/catastrophic-leave-donations/.  Ms. Barboza and CAPS thanks you in advance for your support!

CAPS Member Needs Our Help.  OSPR State Scientist and CAPS member Chih (Allen) Tsao is requesting catastrophic leave donations from fellow state scientists in order to continue receiving pay and benefits. Section 3.10 of the CAPS MOU allows transfer of the following leave credits as catastrophic leave:  CTO, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, CTO, or Holiday Credits.  (Sick leave cannot be donated).  If you donate Personal Holiday time, the hours must be donated in whole-day increments per the donating employee’s time base.  All other donations must be made in a minimum of one hour increments.  CAPS thanks all who can assist.  See this page for more details.

This month’s Capsule is now available.  Watch for the March issue in your mailbox soon!

February 6, 2019

By Valerie Chenoweth-Brown, Supervisor Director

In my most recent message, I relayed to you that CalHR had informed CAPS that the Educational Pay Differential should be included in January’s pay and that the checks retro to November 1, 2018, have been processing and should be issued before the warrant at the end of the month.

Well, our January pay warrants flooded in and many members shared varying stories with CAPS regarding the differential. We contacted CalHR again, demanding answers for the inconsistency our members were seeing and were informed that the current delay is at the departmental level. CAPS is in contact with the departments, encouraging them to resolve the delay as quickly as possible for this much-deserved differential.

State Scientist Day Date Announced. State Scientist Day is near and dear to my heart, as I believe that showcasing the important work of our members should always remain a top priority for our organization. That said, I’d like to announce that the 31st Annual State Scientist Day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, 2019. All departments that employ state scientists are invited to participate. If your Department is not currently involved, consider this message an official invitation. To see if your Department is hosting a booth at State Scientist Day, or to sign up, contact CAPS at .

January 30, 2019

Supervisors and the CAPS MOU. There’s a reason CalHR refers to supervisory and managerial classifications as “excluded.” It’s because certain supervisory, managerial, and confidential state employees, among others, are excluded from the Ralph C. Dills Act, which gave collective bargaining rights to California State Employees. Instead, supervisory and managerial classifications (through the organizations that represent them, like CAPS) are given the right to meet-and-confer with CalHR regarding wages, hours and working conditions via the “Excluded Employee Bill of Rights” (Government Code Sections 3525 – 3539.5). CalHR and these organizations do not reach formal written agreements, nor do they negotiate official contracts.

So, if not in the MOU, where are my rights? Supervisory and managerial scientists should refer to the CalHR Online HR Manual to find their enumerated rights. And, reach out to CAPS () if they have any questions.

What about “exempt?” CalHR uses the classification of “exempt” employees in two ways; first, it can refer to employees who are appointed, and thus exempt from civil service. But, to make things a bit more confusing, “exempt” is also a term that refers to an employee’s wage status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and whether or not they qualify for overtime. So, potentially, a state worker could be an exempt, exempt employee.

If an employee is exempt under the FLSA in state service, their classification falls into Work Week Group E (WWG E) – these employees do not qualify for overtime. WWG E employees would be referred to as “salaried” in the private sector. Conversely, if an employee is not exempt under the FLSA, in state service, they fall into Work Week Group 2 (WWG 2), also known as “hourly” employees. Hourly employees qualify for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week.

In summary, most supervisory and managerial classifications are excluded classifications, which may or may not be exempt from the FLSA. CAPS represents scientific supervisory and managerial “excluded” employees in regular meet-and-confers to discuss our members’ wages, hours, and working conditions, in an effort to improve them for ALL state scientific supervisory and managerial members.

CAPSule on the Web. The latest issue of CAPSule is now posted on the CAPS webpage. Watch for the January issue in your mailbox soon! If you’d prefer to go green, and opt-out of the paper copy of CAPSule, click here.

January 23, 2019

I strive to keep you up-to-date on the current events at CAPS as often as possible. Today, I’d like to provide you with an update on the Educational Pay Differential that so many of us are still patiently awaiting.

As I’ve mentioned, CAPS has been following up with CalHR repeatedly regarding the status of the back pay and when members could expect to see the differential in their pay warrants. CalHR has informed CAPS that the Educational Pay Differential should be included in January’s pay. The checks retro to November 1, 2018 have been processing and should be issued before the warrant at the end of the month. We welcome the news; the pay warrant at the end of the month hopefully will confirm CalHR’s projections on the timing of the differential.

In my last message, I relayed the importance of CAPS Membership for State Scientist Supervisors and Managers. Today, I’d like to provide an example of how that membership can pay off, even in seemingly simple situations.

Transitioning from a Rank-and-File employee to a Supervisory position in state service may mean a lot of different things — you may have a team to lead, timesheets to keep track of, and a myriad of other new duties; nevertheless, some things still stay the same. For example, as a new supervisor in state service, you still serve a probationary period. Yes, you return to probation for 12 months while you settle into your new position. As you know, this is when you are vulnerable to reviews that could send you packing. It is especially important to maintain your union membership during this time so that your rights can be protected. Additionally, as a new supervisor, you become the middle person between your direct reports, and those to whom you report. This relationship can be very tricky to balance. Recently, a CAPS Supervisory Member had such a problem:

A CAPS Supervisory Member in the Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisory) classification had issues with her supervisor. After returning from a weekend, her supervisor agitatedly confronted her early in the morning for her communication style and for not finding an obscure note he had left for her late on the previous business day. She was caught off guard during the exchange and wisely requested a formal setting where these professional issues could be discussed. However, the member was uncomfortable going into a closed-door meeting with her supervisor to discuss issues that could become disciplinary.  Because of this, she contacted CAPS.

She spoke with CAPS staff who informed her that she was allowed a representative in the upcoming meeting. During the meeting, it was discovered that the problems stemmed from something as simple as a forgetful manager, and solutions were discussed. The member stated that the tone of her supervisor completely changed when there were others present in the meeting, allowing for a positive outcome.

CAPS members can feel secure knowing their union has their back for workplace issues big and small! KEEP YOUR UNION STRONG. ENCOURAGE YOUR SUPERVISORY SCIENTIST COLLEAGUES TO JOIN CAPS TODAY.

In Solidarity,

Valerie Chenoweth-Brown, Chair
CAPS Supervisor’s Committee

January 9, 2019

Governor Newsom’s Inauguration. After being sworn in as California’s 40th governor on Monday, Gavin Newsom wasted no time before reaffirming California State Government’s commitment to the environment, public health and fiscal responsibility. “People’s lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe – they all hang in the balance. The country is watching us,” he said.

Later, the governor said that California was a global player in commerce, human rights, and environmental protection. The governor cautioned that the state must continue to prepare “for uncertain times, pay down debt, and preserve the fiscal [budget] reserve,” but he promised his administration “will be bold, aim high and work like hell to get there — progressive, principled and always on the side of the people.”

Right to Membership. I keep hearing it, over and over again. When many of our colleagues promote to Supervisory and Managerial positions, they are instructed, or erroneously believe, that they can no longer be a member of ANY union, let alone retain their membership in CAPS. All State Scientific Supervisors and Managers have the right to maintain and/or seek union membership. It’s covered in the “Excluded Employees Bill of Rights,” specifically in Government Code Section 3530. It says, in relevant part, “Excluded employee organizations shall have the right to represent their excluded members in their employment relations, including grievances, with the State of California…”

CAPS has represented supervisors in their employment with state management since it was founded in 1984. I truly believe that membership in CAPS is the right choice for EVERY state scientist. CAPS fights to improve and protect the rights and employment conditions for all of us – at the worksite, with our management, with CalHR on salary and benefit issues, before state boards and commissions, in the Legislature, with the media, and in court when necessary.

Membership in CAPS is just as relevant for Supervisors and Managers as it is for the Rank-and-File. We have the right to have input on our pay and benefits, and to professional representation when necessary. With CAPS, we are no longer “Excluded,” we are one voice, louder than any one of us can be alone.

In Solidarity,

Valerie Chenoweth-Brown, Chair
CAPS Supervisors’ Committee


January 4, 2019

Dear Colleague,

With the new year upon us, I find it helpful to reflect on the past year in anticipation of the next.

Raises for Non-LPLW Supervisors on July 1. First, we saw the Supervisors who did not receive the Like-Pay-for-Like-Work (LPLW) pay increase in 2014 receive a 5% General Salary Increase (GSI), commensurate with our Rank-and-File counterparts. Those who had received the 2014 increase were held from the raise — CalHR’s explanation was that the Supervisory Engineers had not yet seen an increase for 2018.

Constant Contact with the Governor’s Representatives. Your CAPS Supervisor’s Committee met with the Governor’s Representatives (CalHR) on August 13th and presented our proposals (see them here). CalHR told us to expect an answer after the rank-and-file finished bargaining. When that deal was ratified, and we’d still heard nothing from CalHR, I followed up – several times.

Finally, on December 12th, CalHR released Pay Letter 18-35, extending the Engineers’ 4.5% GSI to those remaining Supervisors and Managers who had not yet received an increase in 2018. The GSI is retroactive to July 1, 2018; you should see those increases soon in your regular pay warrant. Back pay will be issued as a separate check, which should also be forthcoming.

Governor Newsom’s Inauguration January 7. Governor Gavin Newsom will be officially inaugurated on Monday, January 7th. Our Supervisors’ Committee intends to meet with his representatives as soon as possible this year. Hopefully, Governor Newsom will extend fair and equitable pay for ALL state scientific supervisors and managers.

I have high hopes for this new Administration. By hitting the ground running as soon as we can, hopefully 2019 can truly be counted as a Happy New Year!

In Solidarity,

Valerie Brown, Chair
CAPS Supervisors’ Committee