Hank Weston: AB 1250 would significantly erode ability to provide services for the Nevada County’s most vulnerable
Nevada County sent a letter to the Legislature signaling its strong opposition to Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer).
AB 1250, at its core, seeks to stop counties from contracting with community based organizations (CBOs), nonprofits, local businesses and other private providers of quality local services that counties and their residents rely on. Counties contract with organizations and businesses that have the expertise, capacity or the ability to deliver services more efficiently.
AB 1250 has passed the Assembly and was heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on July 12.
The constraints contained within AB 1250 will jeopardize Nevada County’s ability to provide vital health care, social services and mental health services for our County’s most vulnerable. We routinely contract for services such as homelessness outreach, case management and emergency shelters; counseling and support for victims of domestic violence; medical care and case management for children with special health care needs; behavioral health services; and job training and employment for the unemployed.
Proponents of the bill claim it won’t limit contracting with non-government groups, but the clear intent of AB 1250 is to prohibit these private contracts. The bill imposes significant new restrictions and layers of bureaucracy designed to stop counties from contracting for local services.
For instance, the bill requires CBOs, nonprofits and local businesses to disclose personal information about its employees and officers, including salary and other private information. This not only raises significant privacy concerns, but it will chill private sector’s willingness to enter into contracts with counties to provide services. It also requires contractors to disclose extensive information on a monthly basis. These auditing and review requirements could create unnecessary gaps and delays in service delivery that can pose detrimental outcomes for the people benefiting from these programs.
By restricting counties’ abilities to provide services in the most cost-effective manner, AB 1250 will also increase costs for taxpayers and reduce funding available for other local services. AB 1250 would impact various County departments, including but not limited to Nevada County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Planning Department, Information and General Services (IGS) and other legal and administrative County divisions.
The role of local government is to determine the most effective way to deliver critical services in our communities. The author of AB 1250 claims that it will bring greater transparency to local government through the imposition of another layer of bureaucracy and administrative red tape on the County’s ability to partner with community service providers.
The requirements and burdens imposed by AB 1250 would likely reduce and eliminate some of the most effective and beneficial services currently provided to our residents through contract service providers.
Hank Weston, who represents District 4, is the Nevada County Board of Supervisors chair.
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Before I tell you about my Darling, I want to follow up on my column from two weeks ago.