PARTIAL VICTORY IN AB109 ALLOCATIONS AND POLICY

At their January 8, 2013 meeting, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors took action on the recommended “guiding goals” and allocations of AB109 for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The advocacy efforts of the Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform (ACCCJR) and other community stakeholders was able to accomplish some significant changes in the allocations as well as several other policy decisions that the Board of Supervisors included in their resolution.

A major theme of the meeting was the Board’s recognition that the process was flawed, lacked transparency, that the County needs to do better in the future and that we should expect to see a different process for year three funding.

The Board received several documents from the CCP-EC and county agencies including the following

  1. General transmittal letter from the CPO, on behalf of the CCP-EC, containing their recommendations and proposed allocations (Attach_#34_Probation_YEAR_TWO_PUBLIC_SAFETY_REALIGNMENT_FUNDS_11.6.12)
  2. A Letter from Health Care Services requesting funds for the Realignment Innovation Fund (Attach#35_HCSA_RIF_11.6.12)
  3. A Letter from the Sheriff requesting funds for staffing (Attach_#36_Sheriff_Realignment_Budget_Adjustment_11.13.12)
  4. A letter from the CPO requesting funding for staffing (Attch_#37_ Probation_FUNDING_PROBATION_STAFF__11.7.12)
  5. A second letter from the CPO modifying the recommendation to provide more funds for community-based services (Probation_Recs Use_of_the_201213_AB109_Funds_1.4.13)

The following is a summary of the Board action.

 NO YEAR TWO PLAN BUT THREE GUIDING GOALS

The CPO’s November 4th transmittal letter to the Board presented “three guiding goals” rather than a year two plan (Attach_#34_Probation_YEAR_TWO_PUBLIC_SAFETY_REALIGNMENT_FUNDS_11.6.12).  The three goals include:

  1. Protect the public through transparent and accountable administration and services.
  2. Ensure effective and supportive transitions from detention to the community.
  3. Develop innovative and therapeutic supports for clients focused on health, housing and improving access to family sustaining employment.

The CPO’s letter promises that a full year two plan is forthcoming and will be presented to the Board.

 FUND ALLOCATIONS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES

In our alternative budget proposals (see the prior posting on this blog), ACCCJR had argued that a minimum of 40% of the state funds be allocated to community-based services through community-based providers.  The original Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee (CCP-EC) recommendation was that $4.5 million of the $29.2 million of the state funds be allocated to this purpose.  In a supplemental letter sent to the Board on January 4, 2013, CPO Harris indicated a change in the CCP-EC recommendation to increase the allocation to $6.7 million (Probation_Recs Use_of_the_201213_AB109_Funds_1.4.13).  This represents about 23% of the state funds; while below the ACCCJR recommendation of 40%, it does reflect some movement on the issue and means an increased amount of funds for community-based services.  At its January 14, 2013 meeting, the CCP-EC discussed the allocation of the additional $2.2 million and made a preliminary decision to allocate an additional $1 million to employment services, $an additional $1 million to the Realignment Innovation Fund and $220,000 to reimburse smaller community-based organizations providing services to AB109 clients.  At that meeting the  CCP-EC also made a decision to allocate $1.4 million of the $1.7 million in year one and two planning and training funds to  the County Information Technology Department to upgrade the county’s criminal justice data system, leaving  about $300,000 for all other planning and training needs.

One of the elements of the approved budget was funds to hire a Realignment Coordinator, something that the ACCCJR has advocated for as being essential to the development of a coherent and coordinated reentry system in the county.

POLICY DECISIONS IN RESOLUTION

In addition to approving the allocation recommendations of the CCP-EC, the Board of Supervisors added several policy provisions to the resolution including the following:

  1. LINE ITEM BUDGETS FOR YEAR ONE AND YEAR TWO: By the end of January, every county agency must develop a line item budget for both the 11-12 and 12-13 fiscal years detailing how they plan to or have spent AB109 funds.  This will be interesting since the 2011-12 year has already been completed and expenditures made so all that can be produced is a detailed line item statements of how the funds were used.  However, the requirement to produce a detailed budget for 2012-13, something that ACCCJR has advocated for, will provide the public and the Board with a much better sense of how the expenditures align with the strategic framework.
  2. REVIEW OF CBOS’ PAST PERFORMANCE IN CONTRACTING PROCESS: The Board incorporated into their resolution a letter from Supervisor Carson calling for more detailed review of information on CBO’s past performance in the process of contracting with them for AB109 services (Carson_letter_realignment (2)_1.8.13).
  3. BUDGET DETAIL FROM THE SHERIFF: The Board resolution also requires the Sheriff to provide the Board details on the use of AB109 funds for the department’s 21 positions and detail how the positions relate to accomplishment of the intervention framework (three guiding goals) the Board approved as part of the CCP-Executive Committee recommendations.
  4. COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD FOR CCP-EC: The Board resolution requires the CPO to explore creation of an advisory board to the Executive Committee, similar to Contra Costa County, which ensures community participation.
  5. CCP-EC REPORTING TO THE PUBLIC PROTECTION COMMITTEE: The Board clarified its intent that In the future, the Executive Committee must report regularly to the Public Protection Committee, providing an additional mechanism for community participation.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

While much was accomplished by the Board action on July 8, 2013 there remain a number of questions and issues that still need to be resolved.  Here are a few:

Overall Budget Allocations

While I admit to my inability to ever make the budget figures add up during this process, I am even more confused at this point about how all the allocations add up to $29.2 million.  It is unclear where the additional $2.2 million in community services funds came from.  Hopefully the end of January line item budgets will provide insight into this.

Expediting Contracting

Now that the Board has adopted allocations for AB109, the next challenge is getting the contracts executed to get the money to community-based providers.  As a part of its adoption of the CCP-EC recommendations, the Board also adopted recommendations of the Procurement Sub-Committee of the CCP-EC on methods of expediting the contracting process.

Unexpended Year Two Funds

Since we are so late in the process of contracting for community-based services, we need to make sure that funds that cannot be contracted out by the end of the fiscal year remain available for community based services and not swept up to cover expenses of county agencies.

Future Use of AB109 Funds to Close Public Protection Budget Gaps

A big issue underlying the conflicts over AB109 funds this year is the decision to use $18.4 million to close the public protection budget gap.  We need to make sure that this becomes a one-time practice so that for year three there are far more funds for providing services to AB109 clients.

 

While some progress has been made in redirecting the allocation of funding, there is still much work to be done in getting a plan for the county and getting to the very important policy change opportunities that AB109 provides.

 

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