SACRAMENTO COUNTY: Supervisors Tentatively Agree to Public Authority
Sacramento County supervisors Tuesday agreed to create a public authority for the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, in which more than 11,000 minimum-wage workers deliver home care for the county's elderly, blind and disabled. Although IHSS is currently administered by the county and workers' salaries are paid through local, state and federal funds, the home care providers legally are employed by their clients, not a government agency, the Sacramento Bee reports. With a public authority as their official employer, workers would be able to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. However, the supervisors' decision has one caveat -- the state must first follow through on proposals by Gov. Gray Davis to cover the cost of pay increases for in-home care providers. To avoid "getting the county into a financial bind," the board has said it will not officially approve an ordinance to establish the public authority until after the state budget deadline this summer. Supervisor Roger Niello explained, "There is no question about the virtue of a public authority, but there are questions that have to do with what are the costs and how do we pay them." The county's share of the proposed wage increases already would amount to about $3.3 million over the next few years in addition to $135,000 for operating the public authority. If the state Legislature acts on the issue, the county could establish the new entity as early as Oct. 1 (Davila, 2/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.