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:
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.
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.