Bulletin 2013-14 - Projected POST Budget Deficit FAQs

Since the release of Bulletin Number 2013-14, POST staff has received calls and emails seeking clarification of the spending reductions that will commence on January 1, 2014.  These questions were not unexpected; staff began developing this FAQs sheet as questions arrived.  Each individual was contacted with a prompt response, and their questions have been compiled to share with all POST stakeholders.

Read Bulletin 2013-14 Projected POST Budget Deficit

1. How will POST Plan I and Plan II courses (both Backfill Reimbursable plans) be affected by the reductions outlined in Bulletin No. 2013-14?
All Backfill Reimbursement will be suspended from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  However, other reimbursement provided for attending these courses (travel, per diem, commuter lunch, and lodging) will continue to be reimbursed at the usual rate.  

2. If a course ends before January 1, 2014, but the roster is not received at POST until after that date, will POST still reimburse for the presentation?
Yes.

3. Are any Plan III courses affected by the suspensions described in Bulletin No. 2013-14?
No.  Plan III courses will continue to be reimbursed with no reductions or suspensions.

4. Is it possible that the reductions outlined in Bulletin No. 2013-14, Projected POST Budget Deficit, may be eased before the end of FY 2014/15?
Yes.  If the measures outlined in Bulletin No. 2013-14 yield greater than expected spending reductions, OR if revenues to the POTF increase more rapidly than projected, the Commission could opt to ease some or all of the reductions before the end of the FY 2014/15.

5. Will POST continue to reimburse for Regular Basic Course (RBC), EVOC, and Resident Trainees?
Yes.  The Commission will not suspend or reduce support for any block of training required to qualify for a Basic Certificate.

6. Will private presenters be impacted by the reductions cited in Bulletin No. 2013-14?
In addition to community colleges, many private presenters host Plan III and Plan IV courses.  Plan III courses will not be impacted.  However, with the exception of contract courses and Team Building Workshops, Plan IV course reimbursements will be suspended from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, as described in the bulletin.  The courses may continue to be presented (some with a POST-approved, non-reimbursable tuition), but POST reimbursement will be suspended from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

7. What is a ‘contract course’?
Of the 4,500+ courses certified in the Course Catalog, approximately 105 are “contract training courses.”  These courses are certified as Plan IV courses, however POST pays the presenter for hosting the course.  Though there is a cost associated with the course, POST pays the presenter so the department does not have to request reimbursement for tuition, as occurs in Plan III courses.  The agency receives travel and per diem reimbursement in the same manner as with Plan III and non-contract Plan IV courses.  Contact any Regional Consultant if further explanation is needed.  

8. Will the Executive Development Course (EDC) or the Management Course be affected?  
EDC is a requisite course to attain an Executive Certificate.  The Management Course is required for one to receive a Management Certificate.  Courses that are required to qualify for any POST certificate will not be suspended or canceled.  

9. Are ALL Chief’s Workshops, Curriculum Update/Review Workshops, Training Managers’ Workshops, Team Building Workshops, symposia, and seminars included in the suspension that begins July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015?
This is a multi-part question.  Cumulatively, these events cost POST between $1.5 million and $2 million per year.  To achieve the spending reduction needed from this component of POST’s reimbursable programs, there must be a $500,000 spending reduction in FY 2014/15.  

Chief’s workshops, curriculum review workshops, symposia, and seminars scheduled up to June 30, 2014 may continue without experiencing a reductions in travel and per diem.   For FY 2014/15, Team Building Workshops have been reduced from 65 to 30.  All other workshops, symposia, and seminars will require special approval until July 1, 2015.  

Under normal circumstances, the POST Regional Consultant and a Bureau Chief approve these events; however, Executive Office approval will be required through the end of FY 2014/15.  Executives or Training Managers who believe there is an extraordinary need for one of these events are encouraged to submit an exception request to the Executive Director through their Regional Consultant.  A decision will be rendered within 10 working days of receiving the request.  For consideration: Agencies have over 8 months to plan and conduct one of these events before the suspension period begins on July 1, 2014.

10. How will the reductions outlined in Bulletin 2013-14 affect the Command College program? 
There is no plan to reduce appropriations to the Command College in Fiscal Years 2013/14 or 2014/15.  Agencies will continue to receive full reimbursement for students attending Command College.

11. Will the Supervisory Leadership Institute be impacted by the planned reductions?
No.  There is no plan to reduce the number of SLI presentations or class size and agencies will continue to receive full reimbursed for supervisors sent to SLI.  

12. The only Plan that is mentioned for suspension in Bulletin No. 2013-14 as being suspended is Plan IV.  Does that mean that Plan I and III courses will be excluded from the reductions outlined in Bulletin 2013-14?
No.  As previously mentioned, backfill reimbursement is being suspended.  However, all other reimbursement associated with Plan I and Plan II courses (travel, per diem, and lodging) will continue.  Backfill will be added back on July 1, 2015.  

13. What caused POST to be in the position of having to make spending reductions now, when the recession appears to be easing in other segments of the economy?
In the absence of an economic downturn, Commission revenues from the Penalty Assessment Fund to the Peace Officer Training Fund exceed $40 million per year.  In FY 2007/08, these revenues began to decline to today’s level of $29 million.  POST believes that the funds from the POTF will eventually return to pre-2008 levels.  Since POST relies solely on “Special Funds” (not General Fund revenues), there is no provision in law for a “bailout”.  POST cannot end a fiscal year with a deficit and there must always be something left in the “Reserve Account.”
 

14. My department’s training budget is very modest.  With the reimbursement reduction/suspension referenced in Bulletin No. 2013-14, will there be any special dispensation for departments that can’t keep all personnel in compliance with CPT requirements?
No.  POST maintains over 4,500 certified courses and four reimbursement plans.  Additionally, there are many certified courses that provide no reimbursement and are offered at no cost to participants.  Some of these are online, POST-sponsored courses and courses presented on the Learning Portal.  These courses, coupled with perishable skill courses, which remain fully reimbursable, should enable agencies to keep all officers in compliance at little or no additional cost to the department.  Parenthetically, conventional legal advice points to the fact that fiscal constraints do not absolve an agency from the responsibility to properly train its officers.  (Please refer to the POST Regional Map available on the POST Website).
 

Questions regarding Bulletin No. 2013-14 should be directed to the appropriate Regional Consultant or Contract Manager.