State Budget Plan Includes Reimbursement for Local Government Agencies Required to Participate in MMBA Fact Finding
by David G. Ritchie on April 14, 2020
The requirement in Government Code 3505.4, as amended by AB1606 (2012), that local government agencies participate in Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (“MMBA”) Fact-Finding when certain conditions are met after reaching impasse has been determined by the Commission on State Mandates to be a state-mandated activity with reimbursable costs. The initial program established by AB 646 in 2011 had previously been held not to be a mandated requirement.
Consequently, the Governor’s 2020-21 budget proposes to include a $1 Million General Fund to reimburse local government agencies for costs related to their participation in fact-finding. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the annual cost of the mandate will range between $336,000 and $1.8 Million but are difficult to estimate given the range in number of fact-finding requests from year-to-year (the Public Employment Relations Board reported a low of 15 cases in 2011-2012 up to 59 cases in 2012-2013). A greater number of cases are expected to occur during recession years than the 40 annual average, as declines in government revenue may contribute to a reduced willingness to agree to increases in employee compensation.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office has issued a recommendation that reimbursement continue to be funded on an annual basis moving forward. Local government agencies having already participated in fact-finding since May of 2017 when the test claim was filed by the City of Oxnard, CA may be able to obtain reimbursement for those mandated activities.