Report 2012-120 Recommendation 7 Responses

Report 2012-120: State Water Resources Control Board: It Should Ensure a More Consistent Administration of the Water Quality Certification Program (Release Date: June 2013)

Recommendation #7 To: Water Resources Control Board

If regional water boards continue to include staff enforcement costs in the penalty actions they issue, the state water board should revise its staff cost rate to reflect actual staff salaries and overhead cost for the certification program.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2016

Amendments to the 2010 Water Quality Enforcement Policy (Policy) have been proposed that will either remove the consideration of staff costs from purview in Administrative Civil Liability actions, or provide an established method for assessing staff costs based on a declaration under penalty of perjury containing detailed time tracking information from each staff person working on the enforcement action, including documentation of the date and time for costs billed by each staff person who worked on the enforcement action, and the applicable hourly rate of that employee, including benefits and overhead.

The proposed alternative amendments must be considered and adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) after due notice and opportunity for public comment.

The 2016 Policy has been posted for a public comment period, which closes at noon on October 18, 2016. The 2016 Policy, Notice, Comparison between the 2010 Policy and the 2016 Policy, and a Statement of Reason can be accessed at the following address: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/public_notices/comments/index.shtml

We expect to bring the 2016 Policy before the State Water Board for adoption on December 6th, unless significant changes are made following the public comment period, in which case we will bring it to the Board in early 2017. Cris Carrigan, Director of the Office of Enforcement, is the lead responsible for implementation.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 6, 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

Staff will propose amendments to the 2010 Enforcement Policy to remove staff costs as a consideration in Administrative Civil Liability actions, rather than develop a method for estimating, tracking and recovering actual staff costs. The proposed amendment must be considered and adopted by the Board after due notice and opportunity for public comment.

Although enforcement staff's workload has been unexpectedly heavy with emergency drought regulations and orders, and with matters relating to the incorporation of the new Division of Drinking Water, transferred to the State Water Board from Department of Public Health, we remain optimistic that the amendment referenced in the response to recommendation 6 can be presented to the Board for its consideration by the end of the first quarter of the 2016 calendar year.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 03/31/2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

Staff will propose amendments to the 2010 Enforcement Policy to remove staff costs as a consideration in Administrative Civil Liability actions, rather than develop a method for estimating, tracking and recovering actual staff costs. The proposed amendment must be considered and adopted by the Board after due notice and opportunity for public comment.

Although the Board's agenda has been crowded with emergency drought regulations and orders, and with matters relating to the incorporation of the new Division of Drinking Water, transferred to the State Water Board from Department of Public Health, we remain optimistic that this amendment can be presented to the Board for its consideration by the end of the calendar year, if not in early 2015.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 3/31/2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


1-Year Agency Response

Staff is developing a proposal for an Enforcement Policy change that is being reviewed by management. Staff anticipates submitting the proposal to the Executive officers in Fall 2014. If approved, the Policy amendment will be developed for Board consideration.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2014
  • Response Date: June 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

UNDERWAY

Staff is developing a proposal for an Enforcement Policy change that is being reviewed by management. Staff anticipates submitting the proposal to the Executive officers in April, 2014. If approved, the Policy amendment will be developed for Board consideration.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/5/2014
  • Response Date: December 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

COMPLETE

Until Office of Enforcement completes development of new reimbursement rates, the Regional and State Boards will not be

seeking reimbursement for staff costs in Administrative Civil Liability actions.

UNDERWAY

Office of enforcement is evaluating the most appropriate way to track staff costs as discussed in the response to recommendation 5

  • Estimated Completion Date: TBD
  • Response Date: August 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

The state water board identifies that its decision not to seek staff costs in penalty actions is temporary, i.e. dependent on additional actions. We conclude that the state water board's implementation of the recommendation is still pending.


All Recommendations in 2012-120

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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