The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 6, 2009
State Fund bonus hits a snag

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SCIF logo blk.JPGThe $250 award that State Compensation Insurance Fund President Jan Frank said the fund would give all of its employees has hit a bump with the Department of Personnel Administration.

From what we hear, this has been stewing for the better part of three weeks, starting with a letter from DPA to State Fund questioning the award, which would cost a tad less than $2 million total. The money would from insured clients' premiums.

Regular TSW users will recall we blogged about the Encore Award last month in this post.

On Wednesday, we spoke with State Fund spokeswoman Jennifer Vargen. She confirmed what we'd been hearing, namely that DPA had raised objections to the award. ("It's not a bonus," Vargen said.)

Shortly after that conversation, fund Human Resources Manager Andreas Acker sent out this e-mail to State Fund employees:

Hello,

The Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) has questioned State Fund's authority to issue Encore Awards for all employees.

We believe that with our quasi-state status, we do have the authority to implement the reward and recognition program we established. We based the decision to present this award to all employees in recognition of your continued service and commitment to our policyholders, brokers and injured workers during these challenging times.

You have gone above and beyond to ensure that California employers have a strong and stable option for their workers' compensation insurance, to make business possible and to protect employers and employees.

Given the DPA's challenge, there is additional legal review in process. We hope to have this resolved quickly and will keep you apprised.

Andreas Acker
Human Resources Manager

Meanwhile, we called DPA spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley to get the department's side of the story. "We have a program for individuals called the Superior Performance Award, which is limited and not a bonus. The payouts at SCIFdon't fit that program. We're reviewing that issue involving SCIF employees," Jolley told us.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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