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SCREA Calendar 2022

Below is the 2022 calendar for the SCREA Board of Directors.

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Please note the SCREA Board meets the first Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Members are welcome to attend these meetings.

View/Download Our Latest “News Briefs” Newsletter for Winter 2021-2022

Click Below to View/Download: Winter 2021-2022 News Briefs Newsletter

View/Download Our Latest “News Briefs” Newsletter for Fall 2021

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View/Download Our Latest “News Briefs” Newsletter for Summer 2021

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View/Download Our Latest “News Briefs” Newsletter for Spring 2021

Click Below to View/Download: Spring 2021 News Briefs Newsletter

View/Download Our Latest “News Briefs” Newsletter for Winter 2020

Click Below to View/Download: Winter 2020 News Briefs Newsletter

View/Download Our Latest “News Briefs” Newsletter for Fall 2020

Click Below to View/Download: Fall 2020 News Briefs Newsletter

Sacramento County Dedication Ceremony Honoring Kiyoshi “Pat” Adachi, SCREA’s Past President

By Martha J. Hoover

This past May 12th, 2017, a year after our beloved SCREA President Kiyoshi “Pat” Adachi unexpectedly past away, the County of Sacramento, Department of Transportation, honored him with a ceremony dedicating the Antelope Road Railroad Overcrossing in his memory.  Several of Pat’s current and retired co-workers attended the ceremony along with two of his nieces and their husbands, and his many retiree friends from SCREA.

This Dedication is especially significant due to the fact that it is the first time a Road Structure is named after a County Employee/Retiree.  Pat was known to be an excellent engineer and was the Department’s expert on bridge design.

As our SCREA Secretary, Linda Kimura recently stated, “The ceremony was a very proud moment for SCREA and all of those in attendance.  All the words spoken gave high praise to Kiyoshi for his dedicated career with Sacramento County.  His involvement in many engineering projects were too many to mention, but this overcrossing/bridge on Antelope Road was a project he designed himself and is used by several thousand travelers each day.  It crosses over several railroad tracks and connects the Antelope Neighborhood to Foothill Farms and Citrus Heights.”

Mike Penrose, Deputy County Executive, presided over the dedication ceremony event.  As Mike stated in his opening remarks “We are here to dedicate the bridge, but to also celebrate the career and life of Pat Adachi, who was a well-respected engineer for the County of Sacramento, Department of Transportation.”  When Pat worked for the County the Department was known as the Department of Highways and Bridges.

In 1992, Pat Adachi retired as a Senior Civil Engineer after working 37 years for the County.  He began working for the County on December 12th, 1955. As Mike Penrose stated, “As an engineer myself, I can tell you that’s about as long and distinguished as a career can get.”

In April of 1990, Pat approved the Final Plans for this Antelope Road Railroad Overcrossing.  He was head of this bridge structure project from its conception to its final completion in 1990.

Out of respect for Pat, Mike Penrose provided the following detailed information using engineering terminology.  “The Bridge structure is 379 feet long and is 86 feet wide – accommodating six traffic lanes.  The structure is made of a continuous three reinforced concrete column bents and two reinforced concrete seat abutments with integral wingwalls, founded on CIDH piles.”  I had to perform an Internet search to find out what CIDH meant – “Cast-in-drilled-holes” it’s when a borehole is drilled into the ground and then concrete (and some sort of reinforcing) is placed into the borehole to form the pile.

On our SCREA Website, www.saccountyretirees.com you will find photos taken of the dedication ceremony along with a photo of the installed KIYOSHI “PAT” ADACHI Memorial Signs which are installed on the east-bound and west-bound sections of the Bridge.  In addition, a copy of the Final Bridge Plan with Pat’s signature on it, is on the SCREA Website.

I never worked with Kiyoshi until I retired from Sacramento County.  To me he was a kind and gentle man.  He always cared more for others than for himself.  It was a privilege to have known him for the nine years I served with him on the SCREA Board.  He treated current County employees and retirees as his family.  His presence in this world is sorely missed by one and all who knew him.

 

SCREA Drops Lawsuit Against County (we lost, they won and it wasn’t fun!)

SCREA DROPS LAWSUIT AGAINST COUNTY

We lost, they won and it wasn’t fun!

By Mike DeBord

The SCREA Board of Directors decided not to appeal a Summary Judgment ruling regarding our lawsuit against the County to retain retiree medical subsidies.   A Federal Judge ruled on September 30, 2013 that there was insufficient evidence that the County intended to provide retiree subsidies in perpetuity.

SCREA had provided the court with significant supporting documentation and many declarations by former County employees.  What we were unable to provide to the court (and the primary reason that we did not appeal the judge’s decision) were Board of Supervisors resolutions or other written communications that clearly documented the County’s intent to provide retiree subsidies in perpetuity (forever).  Employees and retirees had relied on verbal understandings, three decades of past practice, statements by County employees, and “trust”.

We trusted the County and the County let us down!

Our lawsuit wasn’t the first legal action related to the loss of retiree medical subsidies.  Back in 2007, the County eliminated the retiree medical subsidies for employees who retired after June 1, 2007.  But the County refused to bargain this issue with the unions.  Some of the unions then filed charges of unfair labor practices with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).  These unions won their case on June 30, 2009.  The County was required to re-instate the retiree subsidies and pay interest (make whole anyone who was impacted by the unlawful change).  The County did so, but only for those members of unions that had filed formal charges against the County.  All of the management, administrative and other unrepresented employees, as well as all of the members of bargaining units that didn’t file formal charges against the County, got nothing.  They received no reinstatement of the retiree subsidies.  This action by the County sent a strong message to the unions, its workforce and to SCREA.

We then met with the Interim County Executive and he refused to allow discussion of this topic and threatened to end the meeting with SCREA representatives if we brought it up again.  When the County subsequently terminated the retiree subsides, SCREA Board members met with our attorney and our attorney requested the opportunity to discuss these issues with County Counsel.  We received no response.  We then drafted a lawsuit related to our retiree subsidies and provided a copy of the lawsuit to County Counsel and asked him again for the opportunity to discuss the matter before we filed it with the court.  Again we received no response.  SCREA then filed the lawsuit.  It is unfortunate that all opportunities to discuss this topic prior to court action were not accommodated.

It is important to note that in 2010, the Management employees felt strongly that it was necessary to unionize and voted overwhelmingly to become an exclusive bargaining unit.  The following year, the Administrative employees also did the same.   These previously unrepresented Management and Administrative employees are now in bargaining units like the other County unions and are now covered by formal labor contracts rather than just trusting the County.

SCREA Board Members have painfully learned in the past few years that long-term “past practice” and “trust” cannot be relied on.  Important policy issues like retiree health and dental subsidies should be reduced to writing in understandable language by the County and distributed to all employees and retirees, and there should to be a formal process to address these kinds of issues.  The County Management and Administrative employees now have that kind of formal process since they became exclusive bargaining units, but SCREA cannot formally bargain on behalf of County retirees.

In the past, we have achieved success by meeting with County officials and Members of the Board of Supervisors, and have presented at the Board of Supervisors meetings when retiree related topics were on the agenda.  On more than one occasion, the Board of Supervisors even voted in favor of our position on retiree issues rather than approving the County Executive’s recommendations. But more recently, as illustrated above, discussions with County officials have become more difficult.

The loss of the retiree health subsidies doesn’t just affect current retirees, it also affects current employees (future retirees), many of whom were hoping we would prevail.  In the end, I think employees, retirees and County all lost something important in the last few years….the element of ”trust”.   I hope that in the future there will be opportunities to re-build the trust between the County and those who work, or have worked, for them.  In the meantime, your SCREA Board will continue to represent all County retirees to the best of our abilities.

Other Related Court Decisions

SCREA wasn’t the only retiree organization to recently get disappointing news regarding legal decisions involving the loss of retiree medical benefits.  The Retired Employee Association of Orange County, on February 13, 2014, lost their appeal on a case involving the elimination of “pooled health premiums”.  After decades of past practice and much supporting evidence, the California Court of Appeals ruled against retirees who had filed suit against San Diego County after the County eliminated blended insurance premiums for retirees under 65 years old, an action that increased retirees’ medical premiums dramatically.

Legal issues in this lawsuit against Orange County had previously been to the California State Supreme Court in 2011 where a unanimous decision had been issued that found that “a county may be bound by an implied contract under California law if there is no legislative prohibition against such arrangements, such as a statue or ordinance”.  Further, the State Supreme Court stated that “a contract is either express or implied”.  In other words, a contract can be formed by either words or conduct.  However, the recent legal rulings show that decades of “past practice” and other supporting evidence do not protect County retirees’ rights regarding the loss of their medical benefits.

Yet another appeal was lost involving Sonoma County retirees – a case similar to Orange County retirees.

Also, a lawsuit was filed and won in Court on behalf of a retired police officer who sued the City of San Diego because it placed a cap on the premiums it would pay on her retiree health benefits.  While the retirees initially won their lawsuit, they recently lost on the City’s appeal to the California Court of Appeals.  A press report in San Diego reads: “Potentially precedent setting ruling opens the door for governments statewide to slash worker benefits”.

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