Legislature(2015 - 2016)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/17/2016 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

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Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
SENATE BILL NO. 124                                                                                                           
     "An Act extending the termination date of the Alaska                                                                       
     Commission on Aging; and providing for an effective                                                                        
9:52:43 AM                                                                                                                    
DENISE  DANIELLO, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, ALASKA  COMMISSION ON                                                                    
AGING,  JUNEAU, explained  that the  sources of  funding for                                                                    
the commission  included General Funds, General  Fund mental                                                                    
health funds  and an interagency  receipt from  the Division                                                                    
of Senior and Disability Services,  as well as Mental Health                                                                    
Trust authority authorized receipts for one position.                                                                           
9:53:51 AM                                                                                                                    
JACQUELLI ZIEGENFUS,     ADMINISTRATIVE OPERATIONS MANAGER,                                                                     
DIVISION OF SENIOR AND  DISABILITIES SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF                                                                    
HEALTH  AND SOCIAL  SERVICES,  (DHSS)  explained the  fiscal                                                                    
note  in   detail.  She  noted  that   the  total  operating                                                                    
expenditures each  year was $539.7 thousand;  $42.9 from the                                                                    
General  Fund, $348.1  from interagency  receipts (this  was                                                                    
funding that was  passed on from the Division  of Senior and                                                                    
Disability  Services  to   the  commission),  $29.6  General                                                                    
Fund/Mental  Health, and  $119.1  from  Mental Health  Trust                                                                    
Authority dollars.                                                                                                              
9:55:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon  wondered why  there were  four personnel                                                                    
staff to support 11 board members.                                                                                              
Ms.  Daniello replied  that  the 11  person  board had  been                                                                    
supported by four staffers for  many years. She said that in                                                                    
2004,  the  commission  had been  under  the  Department  of                                                                    
Administration, and at that time  the decision had been made                                                                    
to transfer the commission over  to the Department of Health                                                                    
and Social Services with a  focus on advocacy, planning, and                                                                    
education  for   senior  programs.   She  shared   that  the                                                                    
commission provided  a significant amount of  service in the                                                                    
state by developing a state  plan for senior services, which                                                                    
required  substantial  staff  support  in  developing  needs                                                                    
assessment  activities, and  by conducting  community forums                                                                    
and  advising the  governor and  the  legislature on  senior                                                                    
programs.  She  detailed  the  important  work  for  seniors                                                                    
performed by the board and their staff.                                                                                         
9:56:57 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  specifically  wondered  how  often  the                                                                    
plans needed  to be rewritten.  She questioned the  need for                                                                    
four staff  positions to serve  the board. She  reminded Ms.                                                                    
Daniello  that  all other  state  agencies  had taken  a  22                                                                    
percent, year-to-year, Operating  Budget reduction. She said                                                                    
that  at  least  one  staff  member  should  be  immediately                                                                    
removed  from  the fiscal  note,  if  not two,  because  the                                                                    
interagency  receipts  were  actually General  Fund  dollars                                                                    
that came from other departments.                                                                                               
Ms. Daniello explained that the  four staff were involved in                                                                    
the development  and implementation  of the  state planning.                                                                    
She  shared that  there were  six goals  in the  state plan,                                                                    
with 24  strategies and 28 performance  measures. She shared                                                                    
that the efforts  were based on the  development of services                                                                    
to promote  the health and  safety of Alaska's  seniors. She                                                                    
announced  that she  was shocked  by the  potential loss  of                                                                    
personnel. She  said that the  commission worked  to educate                                                                    
Alaskans  about senior  issues  through  many campaigns  and                                                                    
coalitions.  She added  that employees  talked with  seniors                                                                    
about Medicaid  reform efforts and hosted  community forums.                                                                    
She  shared  that the  commission  hosted  a regular  senior                                                                    
legislative advocacy  teleconference, which helped  to guide                                                                    
policy and budget recommendations.                                                                                              
9:59:53 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon  wondered what was  specifically required                                                                    
of the  commission under  state statute  in order  to comply                                                                    
with the federal Older Americans Act.                                                                                           
Ms. Daniello  responded that the commission  was responsible                                                                    
for the  development of the  aforementioned state  plan, for                                                                    
the education of  Alaskans about senior issues, and  to be a                                                                    
visible advocate for seniors.                                                                                                   
10:00:24 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:01:42 AM                                                                                                                   
10:01:45 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  summarized AS 47.45.240, which  spoke to                                                                    
the power, duties, and limitations of the commission:                                                                           
     (1)  approve   a  comprehensive  statewide   plan  that                                                                    
     identifies  the concerns  and needs  of older  Alaskans                                                                    
     and, with  reference to the approved  plan, prepare and                                                                    
     submit  to  the  governor  and  legislature  an  annual                                                                    
     analysis  and  evaluation  of  the  services  that  are                                                                    
     provided to older Alaskans;                                                                                                
     (2) make  recommendations directly to the  governor and                                                                    
     the   legislature   with    respect   to   legislation,                                                                    
     regulations,   and  appropriations   for  programs   or                                                                    
     services that benefit older Alaskans;                                                                                      
Co-Chair  MacKinnon   asked  how  often   the  comprehensive                                                                    
statewide plan was reviewed.                                                                                                    
Ms. Daniello responded that the plan was reviewed annually.                                                                     
10:02:38 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon asked  whether at the time  of review the                                                                    
plan was readopted, or was there was five-year plan.                                                                            
Ms. Daniello  replied that  the plan  was a  four-year plan.                                                                    
She furthered  that the commission gathered  data related to                                                                    
performance measures  associated with recognized  goals. She                                                                    
added that  the commission brought together  stakeholders to                                                                    
discuss any work that had been completed on the plan.                                                                           
10:03:02 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon read from the statute:                                                                                       
     (3) encourage the  development of municipal commissions                                                                    
     serving older Alaskans  and community-oriented programs                                                                    
     and services for the benefit of older Alaskans;                                                                            
     (4)  employ an  executive  director who  serves at  the                                                                    
     pleasure of the commission;                                                                                                
     (5)  help older  Alaskans lead  dignified, independent,                                                                    
     and useful lives;                                                                                                          
     (6) request  and receive reports and  audits from state                                                                    
     agencies  and  local  institutions concerned  with  the                                                                    
     conditions and needs of older Alaskans;                                                                                    
Co-Chair  MacKinnon asked  what type  of reports  and audits                                                                    
the commission received from state agencies.                                                                                    
Ms.  Daniello responded  that the  commission published  the                                                                    
annual  Senior Snapshot,  which was  contained in  an annual                                                                    
report that the commission  provided to the legislature. She                                                                    
said that for  the document, data was  gathered from variety                                                                    
of  demographic and  economic  health  indicators. She  said                                                                    
that other reports dealing with  health and safety were also                                                                    
prepared by the commission.                                                                                                     
10:03:40 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon read from statute:                                                                                           
     (7)  with the  approval of  the commissioner  of health                                                                    
     and social services, set  policy for the administration                                                                    
     of  federal  programs  subject   to  state  control  as                                                                    
     provided  under   42  U.S.C.   3001  -   3058ee  (Older                                                                    
     Americans Act), as amended;                                                                                                
     (8)  with the  approval of  the commissioner  of health                                                                    
     and social services, set  policy for the administration                                                                    
     of state programs as provided under AS 47.65 ;                                                                             
     (9) give assistance, on request,  to the senior housing                                                                    
     office  in the  Alaska Housing  Finance Corporation  in                                                                    
     administration  of  the  senior  housing  loan  program                                                                    
     under AS  18.56.710 - 18.56.799 and  in the performance                                                                    
     of the office's other duties under AS 18.56.700 ; and                                                                      
     (10)  provide   to  the  Alaska  Mental   Health  Trust                                                                    
     Authority,   for   its    review   and   consideration,                                                                    
     recommendations      concerning     the      integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive  mental health  program  for persons  who                                                                    
     are described  in (d)  of this section  and the  use of                                                                    
     the money in the  mental health trust settlement income                                                                    
     account  in   a  manner  consistent   with  regulations                                                                    
     adopted under AS 47.30.031 .                                                                                               
10:04:35 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon queried the personnel position titles.                                                                       
Ms.  Daniello  responded  that  there was  a  planner  2,  a                                                                    
planner 1, and an administrative assistant.                                                                                     
10:04:54 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon queried  the responsibilities  of the  2                                                                    
planner positions.                                                                                                              
Ms.  Daniello  explained  that  the  planner  1  focused  on                                                                    
planning  advocacy for  serving senior  mental health  trust                                                                    
beneficiaries. She  stated that  the planner 2  position was                                                                    
in  charge of  the  other responsibilities  under the  state                                                                    
statute.  She  said  that  the  planner  2  position  worked                                                                    
directly with  her to  develop the  state plan  and provided                                                                    
additional planning and advocacy support.                                                                                       
10:06:21 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Bishop  wondered whether a reduction  in staff would                                                                    
jeopardize the federal  reporting requirement and jeopardize                                                                    
grant funding.                                                                                                                  
Ms.   Daniello  replied   that  it   would  compromise   the                                                                    
commission's  ability to  compile necessary  information and                                                                    
the overall  quality of  the state  plan. She  stressed that                                                                    
the state plan was a  comprehensive document and was used by                                                                    
other   state   and   local  agencies   that   applied   for                                                                    
foundational and corporate grants.                                                                                              
10:07:53 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair   MacKinnon  wondered   whether   there  were   any                                                                    
reductions that could be found in the commission's budget.                                                                      
Ms.  Daniello  replied that  there  had  been reductions  in                                                                    
travel expenses.  She added that  the commission  had worked                                                                    
to contain travel expenses.                                                                                                     
10:08:39 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  requested  the  travel  savings  dollar                                                                    
Ms. Daniello replied $3,000 in FY 17.                                                                                           
10:08:58 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  asked whether  cuts had been  made prior                                                                    
to FY 17.                                                                                                                       
Ms. Daniello replied in the negative.                                                                                           
10:09:05 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Olson  asked  whether  the  legislative  audit  had                                                                    
recommended a decrease in staff.                                                                                                
Ms.  Daniello responded  that  the audit  had  made no  such                                                                    
10:09:30 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Olson queried whether  auditors had question whether                                                                    
the work could be done with less staff.                                                                                         
Ms. Daniello replied in the negative.                                                                                           
10:09:43 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator   Bishop  requested   any  corrective   actions  the                                                                    
commission had taken to solve audit findings 1 and 2.                                                                           
Ms. Daniello  responded that the commission  had amended its                                                                    
policies  and   procedures  to  include   corrective  action                                                                    
strategies to  post all meeting  notices for both  the board                                                                    
and  the  committee.  She  said   that  the  commission  now                                                                    
required the  chair of  the commission, as  well as  for the                                                                    
legislative  advocacy committee,  to sign  off on  the watch                                                                    
list prior to its distribution.                                                                                                 
10:10:31 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  interjected  that for  the  past  three                                                                    
years the commission had been  asked to take a $3,000 budget                                                                    
Ms. Ziegenfus explained  that, in FY 17,  the commission put                                                                    
forward a $3,000 travel reduction.                                                                                              
10:11:16 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon   asked  whether  there  had   been  any                                                                    
reductions in the past three years.                                                                                             
Ms. Ziegenfus replied in the negative.                                                                                          
10:11:34 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:12:05 AM                                                                                                                   
10:12:19 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon reiterated  the  concerns  for the  four                                                                    
staff for 11 board members.                                                                                                     
10:12:54 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BILL  STOLTZE,   understood  the  fiscal  reasoning                                                                    
behind the committee's examination of the personnel.                                                                            
10:14:37 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair   MacKinnon   invited  Kris   Curtis,   Legislative                                                                    
Auditor, Alaska  Division of Legislative  Audit to  speak to                                                                    
the issue.                                                                                                                      
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE AUDIT, introduced herself.                                                                                          
10:15:14 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon stressed  that all  of the  councils and                                                                    
commissions  in the  state  were experiencing  repercussions                                                                    
from the fiscal crisis.                                                                                                         
Ms.  Curtis replied  that  Page 10  of  the audit  contained                                                                    
historical  expenditure  information,   including  how  much                                                                    
General  Funds and  federal funds  the commission  received.                                                                    
She said that the division  did not approach audits with the                                                                    
idea of recommending cuts to  positions; however, there were                                                                    
hundreds of  boards and commissions  in the state  that were                                                                    
not currently  up for a  sunset review, and that  perhaps it                                                                    
was time  for a full  review of boards and  commissions. She                                                                    
felt that  an evenhanded review  of the staffing  levels and                                                                    
needs  of commissions  was  a wise  idea  given the  current                                                                    
fiscal climate.  She testified that  the elimination  of one                                                                    
position from the  commission would not result in  a loss of                                                                    
federal funds.  She stressed  that a  cut to  the commission                                                                    
would be  a cut to  the services provided to  the population                                                                    
that they served.                                                                                                               
10:18:03 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  surmised that the co-chairs  should send                                                                    
a letter requesting  a review for how staff  was utilized to                                                                    
support  boards  and  commissions   across  the  state.  She                                                                    
wondered  when such  an assessment  could be  ready for  the                                                                    
Ms. Curtis responded that the  Division of Legislative Audit                                                                    
had also faced  budget cuts, and she did not  think that the                                                                    
work  could be  completed by  next legislative  session. She                                                                    
added  that the  new  IRIS system  would present  additional                                                                    
challenges to  the division.  She added  that the  last full                                                                    
review of boards and commission had been conducted in 1992.                                                                     
10:19:33 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  said that the discussion  would continue                                                                    
into the interim.                                                                                                               
10:20:24 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon wondered  whether the  committee was  in                                                                    
support   of  reducing   the  personnel   by   one  or   two                                                                    
individuals.  She asserted  that she  was not  targeting the                                                                    
commission, but had to find cuts somewhere.                                                                                     
10:21:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Kelly wondered  whether the  fiscal note  could be                                                                    
adjusted  in conference  committee  once it  was altered  in                                                                    
finance committee.                                                                                                              
10:21:26 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair   MacKinnon   replied   that  she   would   contact                                                                    
Legislative Legal about the inquiry.                                                                                            
10:21:56 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Micciche  wondered why  the budget  had increased                                                                    
$100 thousand since FY 12.                                                                                                      
Ms. Daniello replied  that most of the  increase was through                                                                    
the  personnel service  line. She  shared  that 3  of the  4                                                                    
staff had served on the  commission for 10 years. She stated                                                                    
that the planner  2 was a recent hire. She  noted the steady                                                                    
reduction in travel expenses and  services. She attempted to                                                                    
offer ideas for cost savings.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon said no.                                                                                                     
10:23:42 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Micciche probed the increase  from FY 12 that was                                                                    
reflected in the audit.                                                                                                         
10:24:09 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms.  Curtis responded  that the  chart reflected  the actual                                                                    
numbers,  not  the budget,  which  meant  that the  increase                                                                    
could be  the reflection  of the commission  expending their                                                                    
full  authorization. She  added  that  vacancies were  often                                                                    
reflected by a dip in personal services totals.                                                                                 
10:24:43 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms.  Daniello added  that the  planner 2  position had  been                                                                    
vacant  for  an extended  period  of  time, and  was  vacant                                                                    
during  the  time  when  the  commission  was  preparing  to                                                                    
develop the state  plan. She stressed that  the position was                                                                    
critical to  the development  of the plan,  and it  had been                                                                    
decided that the  position would be contracted  out in order                                                                    
to complete the plan.                                                                                                           
10:25:19 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  wondered  how  long  the  position  was                                                                    
Ms.  Daniello  replied  that the  position  was  vacant  for                                                                    
approximately eight months in 2015.                                                                                             
10:25:37 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  queried any recommendation  Ms. Daniello                                                                    
could offer on  how to reduce the commission's  budget by at                                                                    
least 20 percent.                                                                                                               
Ms. Daniello  replied that  there could be  a sharing  of an                                                                    
administrative position  with another agency.  She suggested                                                                    
furlough days or a cut to her own salary.                                                                                       
10:26:40 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  wanted a discussion  to be held  off the                                                                    
record.  She stressed  that it  was  a goal  to analyze  the                                                                    
boards and the costs thereof.  She hoped that there would be                                                                    
a consolidation.                                                                                                                
10:28:14 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Olson   hoped  to  discuss  the   subject  further,                                                                    
specifically, how cuts in personnel would affect services.                                                                      
Ms. Curtis  replied that it  depended on how  the commission                                                                    
implemented  the cuts.  She  shared that  there  would be  a                                                                    
consideration of priorities.                                                                                                    
10:30:07 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon discusses housekeeping.                                                                                      
SB  124  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    

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