Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the County of San Diego Fiscal Year 2021-'22 Budget in June. The budget funds 600 new SEIU-represented positions and hazard pay and teleworking stipends. The budget also rose to the moment we are living in by addressing racial justice and equity.
"My coworkers and I stepped up when we were needed in order to support the families that were devastated by the pandemic - eligibility workers never stopped working hard to serve our communities," said Tim Macedo, SEIU member and Human Services Specialist at the El Cajon Family Resource Center. "As an employee that choose a profession that is dedicated to serving others, I applaud the decision to support the County Work Task force to ensure that we have the outreach, education and staffing to maximize enrollment in all of our programs."
Make no mistake, the budget that Supervisors approved would not exist without almost a year of organizing. We signed petitions, testified, emailed and brought attention to our demands with caravans and vigils.
After this win, it is important to shift our focus to the upcoming County contract negotiations. We are building 40 organizing committees at worksites throughout the County to make sure that everyone has a voice and senior County bosses know that we are united. If you haven't gone to an organizing committee meeting yet, ask your steward for details on the next meeting.
This budget will improve the quality of vital County services and relieve excessive workloads by adding staffing to Detention Medical Services, Eligibility Services, CWS, Homeless Services and more. Additionally, this budget commits to racial justice and equity by creating an Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement, increasing language access and creating an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.
While this budget is one we can be proud of, it is not perfect. We will continue to work on recruiting and retaining staff at Edgemoor, ending mandatory overtime in detention facilities and increasing public defenders staff and everywhere else where it is needed.
Here are some highlights from the CAO’s Proposed Budget and Change Letter
- Full funding of Hazard Pay and Teleworking Stipend
- Detention Health Care Staff: Increase of 141 new staff for current year, 196 during two-year period
- Self-Sufficiency Services: Increase of 100 new staff
- Public Health Staff: More than 100 new staff for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases
- Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities: Increase of 185 staff to support this new initiative
- Behavioral Health Services: Increase of 56 new staff
- San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital: Increase of 23 new staff
- Adult Protective Services: Increase of 21 new staff
- In-Home Support Services program: Increase of 21 new staff
- CWS: Increase of 35 new staff
- Public Works: Net increase of 20 new staff
- District Attorney: Increase of 5 SEIU-represented staff
- There’s more: Estimated increase of 30 SEIU-represented staff countywide
The proposed includes a commitment to equity and racial justice by including funding for the following initiatives
- Establishing an office of Labor Standards and Enforcement to protect workers from bad employers
- Establishing free phone calls in detention centers
- Creating a process to reevaluate county contracting criteria, so we can stop outsourcing
- Establish an office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
- Youth Corps Program supporting job opportunities for the next generation
- Increasing access to County services by funding for translation and interpretation services across County departments
- Expanded Budget for Office of Equity and Racial Justice
- Expanding Language Access for county meetings and services
- Mobile Crisis Response Teams and included to provide a nonpolice response for mental health crises
- Establish Office of Evaluation, Performance and Analytics