STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
COMMITTEE ON JOINT BUSINESS AFFAIRS & LABOR
|Time:||02:34 PM to 04:43 PM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies|
Joint Budget Committee
Department of Labor and Employment
Department of Personnel and Administration
02:34 PM -- Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
Rico Munn, Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) introduced his staff and distributed a handout that includes a list of those mentioned (Attachment A). He explained that he was presenting pursuant to Section 2-7-201 (1) (A), C.R.S. which requires the Executive Director to present a description and explanation of the department's priorities for the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the presentation is made (also included in Attachment A). Each presentation must begin with the programs or services of the greatest importance and end with those of the least importance to the preservation of the health, life, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the state, as prioritized by the department. In its description and explanation of priorities, each department may include the following:
- A statement listing any other state, federal, or local agencies that administer a similar or cooperating program or service and outlining the department's interaction with such agencies;
- A statement of the statutory authority for and the history and objectives of the program or service;
- An explanation of the need for the program or service;
- A description of how the department accomplishes the objectives of the program or service;
- A statement of the amount of funding and number of employees required to accomplish each program or service; and
- A statement detailing what aspects of the program or service the department could reduce in the event that the funding for the program or service is reduced.
Mr. Munn talked about the department's role in increasing consumer confidence.
Director Munn explained the department's 2009-10 Strategic Plan and the strategic results of the programs offered by the department, including complaint resolution where he mentioned that the department resolved 20,000 complaints and recovered $35 million and $3.5 million in fines. He also talked about fee setting and explained that the legislature sets the appropriations and costs of program and the department determines fees.
Mr. Munn responded to questions from the committee. Representative Balmer asked about the department's budget and how much of it is federal funds. He said a little over half a million comes to the Division of Civil Rights. Representative Balmer also asked about combining boards like he did in a bill a few years ago where he consolidated the regulation of engineering-related professions, and consolidated the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors and the State Board of Examiners of Architects into the State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers, and Professional Land Surveyors.
Senator Veiga asked about the restoration of the Civil Rights Regional Office in Northern Colorado that was provided in the Joint Budget Committee Briefing document. Representative Balmer asked how many vacant positions the department has due to hiring freeze. The director stated the department has 21 positions that are frozen. Representative Rice asked Director Munn how many vacancies he feels should be filled. Director Munn stated that they have made some exemption requests that were timely and needed to meet deadlines. He explained that most of the exemptions were for contract experts for rate cases with procedural deadlines. The director stated that the positions are cash funded and that the department has the money to hire those individuals, but are trying to follow guidelines of the hiring freeze.
Senator Veiga discussed a recent bill that approved the increase in cabs and asked whether the staff is available and where are things going with the cab market. Doug Dean, Director of the Public Utilities Commission, talked about the impact of the bill. Mr. Dean explained that the investigator positions need to be filled, however, federal funding was cut in half.
03:24 PM -- Joint Budget Committee
Senator Tapia from the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) distributed the Summary of FY 2009-10 Joint Budget Committee Budget Briefings(Attachment B) and introduced the members of the JBC to the committee: Senator White, Senator Keller, Chair of the JBC, Representative Marostica, Representative Pommer, Vice Chair, and Representative Ferrandino. He said he would be speaking from the summary book. He showed the fiscal year 08-09 appropriations report and explained that the fiscal year ends June 30, but the 08-09 report was established on estimates which may need to be reviewed again because the projections may not be met. Senator Tapia explained the table on page one for each department and stated that the state runs on about $18.6 billion.
Senator Mitchell noted that there was much debate over the 08-09 budget and wanted to point out that it was a partisan vote. Senator Keller discussed the deficit at the federal level. A discussion ensued about last year's budget and vacancy savings by the departments.
Senator Tapia began talking about each department the House and Senate Business Committees oversee. He walked the committee through the Department of the Governor on page 20 of the summary report and pointed out the two divisions within that department the committee oversees: the Office of Information Technology and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Senator Tapia discussed the budget request between the Department of the Governor's FY 2008-09 appropriation and its FY 2009-10 request. Senator Tapia moved on to the Department of Labor and Employment on page 53 of the summary report. Representative Rice talked about the Unemployment Insurance fund. Senator Tapia talked about the Department of Personnel and Administration on page 75 of the report and pointed out that the biggest piece of the department is human resources. Senator Tapia concluded with the Department of Regulatory Agencies on page 93 of the report.
04:14 PM -- Department of Labor and Employment
Executive Director Mares of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment presented with the Deputy Director, Gary Estenson, of the Colorado Department of Labor and distributed a 2009 Legislator Pocket Guide (Attachment C). The director talked about the task of finding unemployed Coloradoans jobs. He also discussed the department's involvement in employee training programs and its involvement with veteran affairs. Mr. Mares responded to a question from Senator Harvey regarding how many people had used the veterans' program. Mares indicated that he would get back to him.
Director Mares discussed the department's "sectors strategy," and used the energy sector as an example. Senator Foster asked a question regarding a program for on-the-job training, where an employer pays half a salary while the state pays half the salary for a six month training period. Director Mares described a program in Economic Development related to schooling. Tom Looft, Head of Workforce Programs in the Department, stated that there is still a program such as the one Senator Foster brought up. It is a combination of on-the-job training and classroom training. Senator Foster asked if that program was well-known. Director Mares stated that they needed to do a better job of promoting the program.
Director Mares discussed the unemployment insurance program and stated that the recent number of claims are more than they have ever seen. He explained that claims are still being paid on time. The director advised the committee to call him directly if they have constituents who need help. There was a discussion about an electronic self-service project that is being developed. Representative Priola suggested that the unemployment line should extend its hours. Director Mares explained that the unemployment line cannot be open past 6 or 6:30 because that is when payments are processed.
04:42 PM -- Department of Personnel and Administration
Jennifer Oats and Director Richard Gonzalez of the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) distributed a folder about the department that gives an overview of all the different facets of DPA (Attachment D). He discussed the responsibilities of the department. Mr. Gonzalez walked the committee through the folder and discussed the various office's and divisions within the department including the State Personnel Board, Independent Ethics Commission, and Office of Administrative Courts. He discussed the State Ombuds Program who contacts each Executive Director and discusses issues that come up. Director Gonzalez talked about the Colorado Employee Assistance Program and how useful it can be. He also explained the State Archives and said that it is not a library and talked about the history that is contained there.