LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on May 23 confirmed the appointment of Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hofbauer, Councilmember 2nd District, as a North Patrol Division Representative alternate to the Contract Cities Liability Trust Fund Claims Board.
The Board reviews and approves the settlement of claims and lawsuits for money damages which are paid from the County’s Contract Cities Liability Trust Fund.
The Board consists of seven members nominated by the California Contract Cities Association and appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Representatives include city managers, city council members and the executive director of the California Contract Cities Association.
“It’s critical that these claims be thoroughly and objectively reviewed for validity,” Hofbauer said.
“The sheriff’s department, under the leadership of Sheriff Jim McDonnell, through his training and risk management teams and community station commanders and deputies, has worked diligently to reduce the number of claims against the department.”
“However, the amount of the individual claims, a reluctance of attorneys to settle, and an often adversarial attitude of some judges have resulted in larger claims coming before our Board,” Hofbauer said. “These claims are covered through increased surcharges on our sheriff contract; in our case, that’s currently about 10 percent on top of our $23 million dollar contract.”
“That surcharge was only 3 percent a few short years ago, but our society has become much more litigious, and that’s money that could be used for more deputies, body cameras, improved crime fighting technology and less lethal tools,” Hofbauer continued. “Although our community’s deputies are doing an outstanding job, and reflect only a fraction of the overall claims, the surcharge is spread across all the contracted cities.”
The Contract Cities Claims Board approves settlements above $20,000, up to and including $100,000. The Claims Board also reviews proposed settlements over $100,000 and refers such settlements, with a recommendation, to the Board of Supervisors for final action.
The Board meets the first Wednesday of the month at 11 a.m. in the Norwalk Community Meeting Center, 13200 Clarkdale Avenue, Norwalk.
The agendas for the meetings are posted no later than 72 hours in advance of the meetings.
Discussions with legal counsel concerning the proposed settlements occur in closed session. Actions taken and the votes of the members present are publicly reported as provided in the Brown Act.
[Information via news release from the office of Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hofbauer.]