To ensure that it resolves sufficiently its backlog of test claims, incorrect reduction claims, and the boilerplate amendment request, the Commission should work with Finance to seek additional resources to reduce its backlog, including test claims and incorrect reduction claims. In doing so, Commission staff should prioritize its workload and seek efficiencies to the extent possible.
The Commission worked with the Department of Finance to submit a Budget Change Proposal (BCP) for the addition of two new staff; an Attorney III and a Sr. Legal Analyst. The BCP was included in the adopted 13/14 budget and the new positions were filled in July 2013.
Prior to the BCP approval, the Commission took several steps to reduce the backlog using existing resources. Specifically, since 2001 the Commission has prioritized its workload and sought efficiencies through the preparation of an annual Backlog Reduction Plan. When the BSA audit findings were issued in October 2009, the Commission still had pending 53 test claims, 32 of which were large claims pleading regulations and statutes dating back to 1975 (i.e. the 2002-2003 claims) and 146 incorrect reduction claims (IRCs). As of this writing, there are 25 test claims and 82 IRCs pending, including new filings. Additionally, all test claims prior to 2007 have been decided and all test claims prior to 2010 will be decided by the end of the 2013 calendar year. The plan contemplates presenting all test claims filed through 2012-2013, with the exception of the 10 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit test claims (which are pending litigation), to the Commission for decision by March 2014.
Once the test claims are completed, the Commission will be able to focus its efforts on completely eliminating the IRC backlog. Based on current pending caseload and staffing levels, Commission staff expects that the IRC backlog may be eliminated during the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
The Commission has received additional resources and is making significant progress in reducing its backlogs.
Commission staff discuss staffing and resource needs with Department of Finance staff and our Commission members on an ongoing basis each year. The Commission has submitted a Budget Change Proposal (BCP) for the 2013-14 budget year requesting additional staff resources.
Please note that the Commission and its staff took several steps to reduce the test claim backlog using existing resources. Beginning in 2011, staff has prepared an annual Backlog Reduction Plan to eliminate the backlog. When the BSA audit findings were issued in October 2009, the Commission still had pending 53 test claims, 32 of which were large claims pleading regulations and statutes dating back to 1975 (i.e. the 2002-2003claims). As of this writing, all 2002 test claims have been decided and the last of the 2003 test claims are scheduled for hearing on December 7, 2012. There are currently 36 test claims pending decision. The workplan indicates that the currently pending backlogged test claims may be decided by 2014 or 2015.
Staff also established a workplan to eliminate the incorrect reduction claim (IRC) backlog. The Commission has made progress on the IRC backlog, completing 61 IRCs since October 2009. Commission staff continues to work with the State Controller's Office and claimants to resolve the remaining 121 incorrect reduction claims. Though this process may take significantly longer than anticipated in the Commission's earlier workplans, we are making positive strides towards completing these claims and will continue to do so.
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.