President's Report - April 2013

Tuesday, April 09, 2013  

It’s been a busy first quarter with the SCIF vendor management issue coming to a head but the Leg Committee and several board and regular members have been actively engaged in trying to counter it and work towards a different end than SCIF’s proposed arrangement.

On Friday at 1:00 pm, Francie Koehler, Jerry Desmond, Anthony Hopkins and I met with SCIF Senior Vice President Brian Watson and the consultant they hired to develop and administer the RFP for their new vendor management model, Dante Robinson, in the conference room of Mr. Desmond's downtown Sacramento office near the capital. In our pre-meeting it was acknowledged that this would not be a negotiation but more of a coming together to try and figure out each other's battle plans, as we never thought we would make any significant progress in our first meeting, especially in light of how far apart CALI was from where be perceived SCIF to be in their position on the new vendor management program. Our intention was to feel them out so we could begin planning for the next step in our campaign.

After three hours of discussion it was evident that SCIF was feeling the heat from the legislators our members had reached out and written letters to and we had come to understand that SCIF themselves now realized that things weren't going quite as they had planned with their new vendor management companies. It was apparent that they were under some pressure to make this right and were fully prepared to reasonably negotiate their position to repair the wounds of this process that were now created. And as we believed they had gone sideways on their promises to us in the past, I asked that they put a wet signature on a memorandum of understanding stating their new position and commitment to working with CALI while this process continues to progress. It was nothing we expected them to agree to but we felt as though we were in a position to push the envelope, so I asked... and they accepted. The following are the points that were agreed on in the signed memorandum of understanding:

On March 15, 2013, representatives of the State Compensation Insurance Fund [State Fund] and the California Association of Licensed Investigators [CALI] met and discussed State Fund's Vendor Management Program and Investigator Network. The discussions in this meeting culminated in a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] between State Fund and CALI. The key points of this MOU can be summarized as follows:

  • It is State Fund's objective to improve quality and consistency and this new process was not initiated solely in the interest of saving money.
  • State Fund utilized a Request for Proposal [RFP] process for the vendor management program that conforms with all of its previous RFP processes, including the confidentiality provision and timeframe.
  • It is State Fund's model that vendor management companies will act as conduits between State Fund and the licensed private investigator subcontractors.
  • The vendor management program will be an open network of California-licensed subcontractor private investigators who are not employees of the vendor management companies.
  • As an open network, there is no deadline for licensed investigators to become subcontractors. They will be able to do so even following this initial start-up phase and on an ongoing basis.
  • There will be no limit as to the maximum number of subcontractors.
  • The agreements between State Fund and the two vendor management companies have not been finalized.
  • The agreements are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of this year.
  • State Fund encourages California-licensed private investigators to become subcontractors of both vendor management companies to maximize their opportunities for work.
  • The prior explicit approval of State Fund will be required for the very rare situation where a vendor management company will utilize its own in-house employees to perform investigations.
  • It is State Fund's intention that the vendor management companies will utilize a fair process to assign work to subcontractor licensed investigators.
  • California-licensed private investigators who are subcontractors will be able to utilize their own employees to perform investigations, as allowed under the California PI Act.
  • State Fund will continue to review vendor management company contracts with subcontractor licensed private investigators to ensure their conformance with State Fund's intentions.
  • State Fund will exercise its authority to audit the vendor management companies and their metrics as necessary.
  • Wherever possible, State Fund intends to continue its existing relationships with licensed private investigators.
  • It is State Fund's intent that licensed private investigator subcontractors will maintain their own business identities as they perform investigations as subcontractors.
  • Licensed private investigator subcontractors will submit invoices to, and be paid by, the vendor management companies.
  • State Fund is committed to working with CALI on the investigator network with an open dialogue and ongoing meetings.

In summary, CALI got everything we were asking for except that SCIF use California based vendor management companies, to which Mr. Watson stated that depending on how the future played out it was possible that California companies may be utilized to provide that service and that this is just the first phase of a new business model they were going to try. We believe that this can be considered a victory for our profession in California and I would like to thank everyone that participated in this process such as CW Sellers for all of his work behind the scenes including getting his Assembly Member personally involved on our behalf, Anthony Hopkins for attending the meeting and presenting qualified and intelligent arguments against some of the procedures SCIF's vendor management companies intended us to utilize, Francie Koehler and Jerry Desmond for all of the day after day work they did at the capital and organization of the letter writing campaign, and to everyone of our members that wrote a letter and sent it to their Senators and Assembly Members.

When we walked the halls the following Monday for Leg Day, several of the legislators we met with were familiar with this issue because of the letters we wrote and is why SCIF was so anxious to come to the table and make this right. In light of this new development, when we met with our legislators that day, instead of campaigning against SCIF spotlighting our previous grievances, we explained that they came to the table and agreed, in writing, to many of the conditions we had asked for so we were now asking them, the legislators, to hold SCIF to their word and send them letters expressing their desire to see SCIF follow through with their promises. We also encouraged them to express their desire to see California companies be chosen as the vendor management companies if there was ever a change in that lineup.

Is this battle over? We aren't calling it an outright victory and throwing down our swords to begin the celebration, but we do feel as though our investigators are much further along than they were before out meeting and we intend to hold SCIF's feet to the fire. SCIF has committed to meeting with us regularly until this new model is in full motion to ensure that the needs and concerns of our members are addressed and our next meeting is scheduled for April 22nd in Sacramento.

Some of the other projects I’ve been working on are:

  • I asked Jerry Packer to create a place on the CALI website that we can upload documents and templates like retainer agreements, requests for information, etc., to be viewed, downloaded and customized by any members needing to increase their document resources. Renee Cervo has been emailing documents to Jerry for the past week to begin uploading. If you have any documents that you believe would be helpful to other members, or would like to have access to documents that would help you, please email Mr. Packer’s office at info@cali-pi.org with "Document Resources” in the subject line.
  • I’ve tasked Jerry’s office with creating a contact information capture page on our website where potential speakers can go and fill in their contact info for the conference committee and district governors to use when they are looking for qualified speakers.
  • Jerry’s office has been working to put the PDF membership directory together and should have it out by the mid April.
  • All financial information has been forwarded to the accountant to complete the regular review that we have done every few years.
  • As requested by LA District Director Ryan Clock, several past board meeting minutes have been uploaded to a newly created page on the CALI web site for current board members to view at their leisure.
  • I asked Jerry Packer to start sending out regular "drip” type notifications to the membership like reminders, "Did You Know” announcements and helpful hints regarding features of the website and membership that many of our members are unaware of. We agreed on 15 to 20 topics that will go out every couple weeks or so and Jerry created a template in Constant Contacts that carry the messages. You should see the first one next week.

I would like to recognize some board and/or committee members that I feel have excelled in their positions, in no particular order:

  • Director at Large, Roberto Rivera for being right on top of every issue regarding unlicensed activity by responding to every lead with a confirmation of receipt and follow-up with his findings.
  • Education Committee Chair, CW Sellers for his diligence and vision with NLITE, and his ELITE and Mentor Programs, which are still under construction. I have been contacted by several other state organizations asking for information about the training programs that are CW’s brain children.
  • San Diego District Director, Joseph Travers for continuing to have phenomenal district meetings and always volunteering to get involved in CALI projects by offering his enormous array of resources.
  • Bylaws and History Committees Chair, Anne Fields for her knowledge of CALI policy and history. She has a tremendous understanding of decisions made and motions previously past to help us moving forward.
  • Chairman of the Board Frank Huntington for running structured and efficient meetings and always being on top of the agendas, motions and discussions.
  • VP of Administrative Services, Ken Childs for doing one of the most difficult jobs on the board. Ensuring that 14 people from all over the state do their jobs is not an easy task.
  • Legislative Committee Chair, Francie Koehler. I have a hard time believing that we will ever have another member that is willing and able to put as much time and energy into our legislative interests as Francie has and continues to do, for free. I just can’t imagine how much less further along CALI would be legislatively if it weren’t for Francie.

I hope to see everyone at our annual conference in June so please start planning on attending. Have a great and prosperous day!

Michael Julian, CPI PPS
President