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Other Budget Issues

Last Updated: 1/19/2011
Budget Issue: Position authority for DHCCP
Program: Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program (DHCCP)
Finding or Recommendation: Reject request in the Governor's January budget proposal to make permanent the existing 15 limited-term positions for the planning and implementation stages of DHCCP. Instead, approve extending these positions by one year (through FY 2011-12) to allow the conclusion of the planning stage of DHCCP.
Further Detail

What is the DHCCP?  The DHCCP was established in 2008 to implement a gubernatorial directive to address both water supply issues and environmental concerns related to the Delta.  Specific goals of DHCCP include protecting and restoring Delta habitat and studying improved methods to reduce the impact of water conveyance on the Delta.

Governor's Proposal. The DHCCP's planning stage is currently being carried out by 15 limited-term positions in the Department of Water Resources (DWR) that are set to expire in June 2011.  The Governor's January budget proposal requests that those 15 positions be made permanent to complete the DHCCP planning and to maintain staff continuity through the program's implementation stages.  The planning stage was originally scheduled to be completed by December 2010, but has been pushed back until the end of 2011-12 due to delays in completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a document that will provide the basis for the issuance of endangered species permits for the operation of the State and federal water projects, on which DHCCP's environmental impact reports depend).

Recommendation. While the requested positions are integral to the completion of the planning stage of DHCCP, we think it is premature to approve these positions on a permanent basis, since staffing requirements for the implementation phase beginning in 2012-23 are not yet known. Delaying the decision  to make these positions permanent allows the Legislature and DWR to more accurately evaluate the staffing required for the implementation stage. As such, we recommend that the existing 15 positions be reauthorized on a one-year limited-term basis to allow for completion of the planning stage. The administration could then submit a budget request with the Governor's 2012-13 budget to address the staffing requirements for the implementation phase which will have by that time been more thoroughly evaluated and able to be justified.