2015 Legislative Developments: Public Employment

The California Legislature has enacted a number of new laws that will impact employers and employees in 2016. In eight installments, Kronick will provide you with helpful summaries by category. The sixth installment covers legislation affecting Public Employment.


VI. Public Employment

A. SB 331 (Mendoza): Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act (CRONEY)

This bill enacts new Chapter 4.5 (commencing with section 22175) of the Public Contracts Code. CRONEY applies to a local agency that has adopted a COIN ordinance, i.e., an ordinance that requires as part of the collective bargaining process under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, openness and transparency in labor negotiations.

For local agencies that have adopted a COIN ordinance, the local agency must take the following steps with respect to any contract that has a value in excess of $250,000:

  1. The local agency must appoint an unbiased independent auditor to review the cost of any proposed contract who shall report regarding his/her recommendations with respect to the contract. The report shall be made available to the public at least 30 days before the contract may be considered by the governing body of the local agency.
  2. The local agency must disclose all offers and counter offers within 24 hours on its public web site.
  3. The local agency must disclose the names of all persons who participated in the negotiations for the contract.
  4. Each member of the local agency’s governing body along with all staff members must disclose all communications in which they have participated regarding the contract.
  5. The contract may be adopted only after a minimum of two meetings during which the public has an opportunity to comment on the contract.

B. SB 29 (Beall): Mental Health Training for Peace Officers

This bill adds section 13515.28 to the Penal Code.

The new code section requires POST to mandate that field training officers who are instructors in field training programs have at least eight hours of crisis intervention behavioral health training. The training must address issues relating to stigma, must be culturally relevant and appropriate, and must include the following topics: mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities, distinguishing those conditions from substance abuse disorders, proper responses, conflict resolution, appropriate language when interacting with emotionally distressed persons, available resources, and the perspectives of individuals and families with experience in these subjects.

For field training officers assigned or appointed prior to January 1, 2017, the training must be completed by June 30, 2017. Thereafter, the training must be completed within 180 days of appointment as a field training officer. 

C. AB 229 (Chang): State Employee Travel Reimbursement

This bill adds new section 19822.4 to the Government Code.

The new code section mandates reimbursement for expenses incurred in using such services as Uber, Lyft, or airbnb.

D. AB 215 (Alejo): Maximum Cash Settlement for Local Agency Employment Contract

This bill amends section 53260 of the Government Code. The code section requires that all contracts of employment between an employee and a local public agency include a provision that limits the maximum cash settlement an employee may receive upon termination of the contract, regardless of the duration of its term, to an amount equal to the monthly salary of the employee multiplied by the number of months left on the unexpired term up to a maximum of 18 months. For school district superintendents the maximum is 12 months.

The statute provides that the above amounts are maximums and does not prescribe payments of lower amounts.

The new requirements apply to any contract executed on or after January 1, 2016.