Response to the Audit
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- CSU Chancellor's Office
March 29, 2018
Ms. Elaine M. Howle
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Ms. Howle:
The California State University (CSU) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the draft audit report California State University: It Has Not Provided Adequate Oversight of the Safety of Employees and Students Who Work with Hazardous Materials on behalf of the CSU system. This is a consolidated response prepared by the Office of the Chancellor in collaboration with the four CSU campuses your staff visited during the audit: Channel Islands, Sacramento, San Diego, and Sonoma.
The CSU takes seriously the health and safety of all of our employees and students. We are committed not only to providing a healthy and safe environment by complying with applicable laws and regulations, but to fostering a climate of collaboration and transparency to ensure that compliance. Towards that end, the Chancellor’s Office plans to conduct health and safety audits at all of the campuses beginning in 2019.
We appreciate the work your office performed to identify the issues outlined in this report and your staffs’ willingness to continue to work with us during the response period. We recognize that improvements need to be made and have already begun taking steps to address many of the recommendations. We concur with all of the report’s recommendations except for the recommendation regarding campus-level joint health and safety committees (safety committees).
Specifically, we do not agree that the safety committees are required as part of the CSU Collective Bargaining Agreement (agreement) with the State Employees Trades Council. The agreement allows for the establishment of these safety committees, but does not require them to meet regularly. Instead, the agreement states that the safety committees shall meet on a monthly basis or by mutual agreement. It is clear from the language of the agreement that the parties intended that meetings of the safety committees were to be at the discretion of the parties. Furthermore, the campuses have existing committees that discuss health and safety issues, though not in the specific form outlined in the agreement.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.
Timothy P. White
CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR’S COMMENT ON THE RESPONSE FROM THE CSU CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE
To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the response by the CSU Chancellor’s Office to our audit. The number below corresponds to the number we have placed in the margin of the Chancellor’s Office’s response.
We disagree with the Chancellor’s Office’s belief that campus-level joint committees are not required by the agreement with the union. As we state in our report, although the campuses have other committees that may discuss health and safety issues, CSU’s agreement with the union requires that each campus have a joint committee consisting of an equal number of management and employee representatives. The Chancellor’s Office correctly points out that the agreement does not require these committees to meet regularly, and we explain that the agreement states that the campuses’ joint committees are to meet on a monthly basis or by mutual agreement. We are disappointed that the Chancellor’s Office disagrees with our recommendation and apparently does not see the value in campuses’ having these committees. As we state, by having these committees the campuses could do more to ensure they receive feedback from employee representatives on conditions associated with the campuses’ work environments and use this feedback to more effectively recommend interventions—such as specific training based on recent incidents—to relevant stakeholders on campus.