Curtailment of Delta ISB Activities
As discussed at recent Delta ISB meetings, the current appointment structure of Delta ISB members necessitates greatly curtailing the agenda and activities of the Delta ISB to a much lower level. Substantial delays in many of the Delta ISB’s anticipated and legislatively mandated reviews, products, and activities are expected. The Delta ISB is committed to supporting science for the Delta’s problems and problem-solving, and looks forward to returning to its high level of productivity as soon as the State fully resolves this issue.
I am writing to provide information regarding the recent reclassification of Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) members to being employees of the State of California compensated at $100 per diem, rather than independent contractors as had been the method of compensation prior to 2020… This change was initiated in 2020, when a routine review of Council contracts and further analysis identified that pursuant to California law, members of a state board should be classified as state employees, as described in more detail below.
Request re: Unapproved Exempt Position Classification Created by the Delta Stewardship Council…
In 2020, the Delta Stewardship Council decided that members of the Delta Independent Science Board (“Delta ISB”) were to be exempt employees, with a salary of $100.00 per diem. Our review establishes that when it took this action, the Delta Stewardship Council acted beyond the scope of its authority and contrary to applicable law and procedure. For a decade, the Delta Stewardship Council has contracted with the Delta ISB members to obtain and reimburse their services. Nothing has changed. There is no legal basis for
precipitously classifying them as exempt employees of the Delta Stewardship Council, entitled only to $100 per diem.
Furthermore, these actions crippled the Delta ISB’s legislatively mandated work in FY 2020-21 as they resulted in funding cuts of over 90% to the Delta ISB…
We respectfully request CalHR revisit and rescind the action of setting a $100 per diem salary for Delta ISB members under Government Code section 19818.6. The duties and responsibilities of Delta ISB are not similar other state boards. Delta ISB members are required to be “nationally or internationally prominent scientists with appropriate expertise to evaluate the broad range of scientific programs that support adaptive management of the Delta.” (Wat. Code § 85280(a)(2).) The legislature also intended that Delta ISB members themselves provide oversight the “scientific research, monitoring, and assessment programs that support adaptive management of the Delta through periodic reviews of each of those programs…” (Wat. Code § 85280(a)(3).)Paying Delta ISB members $100 per diem is also not comparable to the previous compensation for the Delta ISB. From 2017-2020, the Delta Stewardship Council requested authorization to pay members for up to two meetings a month, 7 days of work per meeting, eight hours per day, at the Delta Stewardship Council’s contract rate for independent scientific experts.