Documented by Rachel Youdelman
What happened: Chanting and shouting members of SEIU 2015, the labor union for the county’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers, who have been regularly lobbying meetings for a living wage, briefly shut down the Fresno County Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting.
A 10-minute break was called about an hour into the meeting and about 30 people wearing purple SEIU 2015 T-shirts were escorted out of the room as they continued to chant, “Fresno County can’t you see? This is a health care emergency.”
Fresno County IHSS workers care for 19,000 elderly, blind and disabled residents in the county. They are currently paid $16.10 per hour to assist these individuals so that they can live safely in their homes.
The disruption began when Byron Lopez, a senior policy analyst for SEIU 2015, approached the lectern during the comment period on the award of a $14 million asphalt-concrete concrete.
“We need money for the roads, but we also need money for the caregivers,” he said then one of his colleagues began to shout and lead a chant, “What do we want? When do we want it? . . . “Shut it down! . . . Arriba la unión!”
The board was scheduled to sit as the IHSS Public Authority Governing Board for a conference with a labor negotiator on behalf of SEIU-Local 2015 in the meeting’s closed session.
Grand jury report examines use of Measure B funds within library system: The supervisors also quietly approved responses to the Fresno County Civil Grand Jury Final Report No. 2, “Has Measure B Benefitted the Fresno County Free Library? Measuring Performance.”
The item was among 27 items on the board’s consent agenda, which are approved in one motion without discussion.
Measure B is a 1/8 of one cent sales tax that was initially approved by voters in 1998 and renewed by voters in 2012 to continue through 2029. According to the Fresno County Library, it provides more than half of its annual budget.
The Fresno County Civil Grand Jury filed the report on May 10, which examined whether Measure B has benefited the Fresno County’s public library system.
The grand jury found that the supervisors have not sufficiently outlined their expectations of the Citizens Review Panel (CRP) by providing them with a detailed outline of their oversight responsibilities, and requested that the board fill four vacancies on the panel. According to the supervisors response, the CRP is an 11-member board with eight active members.
The supervisors agreed with several findings, including that the Fresno County Free Library (FCFL) is not meeting several requirements outlined in the 2012 Measure B ordinance, such as having a current operational service delivery plan document and long-term facilities plan.
The report also found that the number of registered users falls short of the average for comparably sized and budgeted library systems in the state, according to 2020-2021 State Library Statistics. But the supervisors’ response states that the FCFL has the highest number of registered users within the local San Joaquin Valley library system and that 2020-2021 was the last of a 10-year decline in registered users.
The grand jury recommended hiring outside firm to assist in developing a comprehensive long-term plan. However, the supervisors’ response was that they will not hire a firm and agree with the FCFL Librarian’s response to work with stakeholders, library jurisdictions and the state library to implement an operational service delivery plan.
Up next: The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will meet again Aug. 22.