Hello, dear readers!
As you well know, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board currently lists five commissioners and two deputy commissioners. Now, those seven, even with all the hard work and diligence in the world, are way behind in issuing opinions, because seven people can only do so many record reviews, draft opinions, and decisions in any given amount of time. Your humble blogger is regularly swamped himself, but nowhere near the piles of work the commissioners face on a regular, daily basis.
Some rumors, whispered into your humble blogger’s journalistic ear and occasionally even screamed from the mountaintops by everyone in the world, is that panel disputes clog up the system more than any others. So, think twice before litigating the petty panel disputes and ruining things for the rest of us!
Anywho, the Legislature is well aware of the problem, and is hurrying with the speed of a snail on sandpaper to rescue us all.
Senate Bill 281, recently introduced by Senator Jeff Stone, would reduce WCAB commissioners’ salaries to $12,000 per year. Now, your humble blogger has considerable doubt that the proposed “section 11569.5” will ever be made law. However, with the current WCAB commissioners already responding to the name “Sisyphus” , can you imagine the motivational boost they can experience when a State Senator proposes that their contributions to California be valued at $12,000?
Can you imagine how excited new commissioners will be to throw their names in the proverbial hats, knowing that $12,000 waited to reward their labors?
Your humble blogger has had no contact with Senator Stone, but I would respectfully submit that whatever imagined savings such a law would net the State in unspent salaries, the damage that will be done by making a barely-floating system into a shipwreck will cost the state more. Workers’ compensation is expensive in the state at the outset. However, the final expense to employers for workers’ compensation often enough is a product of the inefficiency of the system.
Making it impossible to resolve disputes by gutting the WCAB commissioners is not going to make this system run any smoother. If Senator Stone would like ideas on improving Workers’ Compensation in California, your humble blogger has a few ideas, as does every member of our community. This is certainly NOT the way to go.
Some ideas, off the top of my head, include:
- Providing a stipend for workers’ compensation defense bloggers;
- Making WC Defense blogs mandatory reading;
- Declaring access to coffee a fundamental human right;
There’s more, believe me, but it’s Monday and we’ve all got to get to work!