Joint Powers Authority
"Joint powers" is a term used to describe government agencies that have agreed to combine their powers and resources to work on their common problems. Joint powers agreements (JPAs) offer another way for governments to deliver better services.
Joint powers are exercised when the public officials of two or more agencies agree to create another legal entity or establish a joint approach to work on a common problem, fund a project, or act as a representative body for a specific activity.
A joint powers agency or joint powers authority (JPA) is a new, separate government organization created by the member agencies, but is legally independent from them. A JPA shares powers common to the member agencies, and those powers are outlined in the joint powers agreement.
History of Our Organization
The Ventura County Schools Self-Funding Authority (VCSSFA) was formed by the Public School Districts in Ventura County in 1982 as a State-Regulated Public Entity under Title 1, Division 7, Chapter 5, Article 1, of the California Government Code.
Prior to 1982, there were two separate Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs); one for Workers' Compensation and one for Liability and Property. The formation of these two JPA's by the local educational agencies of Ventura County was a direct result of the inability of the public school districts to purchase specific insurance coverages and/or the absence of affordable insurance coverages in the commercial market. The two JPAs were merged by their member districts in 1982 to form the VCSSFA. It was believed that the formation of the VCSSFA would:
- Provide broader coverages at lower costs than commercial insurance because JPAs are not driven by profit. Member contributions are driven only by the members' claims experience and risk exposures. JPAs also cost less to operate - their overhead expenses are lower than a commercial insurance industry.
- Allow member districts to control claims by utilizing professional claims administrators and implement strict litigation management protocols;
- Provide greater resources and effort toward Risk Management and Safety Services to assist members in their reduction of losses and related costs.
Prior to 1986, the administration of the VCSSFA was under the auspices of Ventura County Superintendent of Schools (currently named Ventura County Office of Education). In 1986, the VCSSFA's Board of Directors voted to separate the VCSSFA from the VCSSO and established the VCSSFA as a separate public entity with direct responsibility to the VCSSFA Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
The VCSSFA was established for the sole purpose of providing to its member school districts services and other programs necessary and appropriate for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of self-funded insurance programs to include, but not limited to: Workers' Compensation, General Liability, Auto Liability, Public Officials' Errors and Omissions, Property, Broiler & Machinery, Fiduciary Liability, and Risk Management and Safety Services relating to the aforementioned areas.
The VCSSFA is one of the best kept secrets within the educational community in Ventura County. The VCSSFA deals with liability and property issues that would otherwise confound and potentially do irreparable harm to school districts. The VCSSFA has a statewide reputation for excellence and ethical practices.
It is important to understand that the VCSSFA is not a commercial insurance company. It is a group of school districts that have decided to self-fund their collective insurance coverages, in accordance with a risk sharing arrangement, as they understand best what suits their local public educational needs.
The VCSSFA is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board consists of one Representative and one Alternate for each Member school district. The Board of Directors meets four time a year to approve the budget, plan offerings, expenditures, and to oversee the operations of the organization. A seven-member Executive Committee is elected from and by the Board at its annual meeting in June. The Executive Committee meets once a month or more often when necessary, and develops recommendations to the VCSSFA Board regarding the function and operation of the JPA.
The day-to-day administration is overseen by the Executive Director, with six additional employees, including a Director of Risk Management that provides Member districts with day-to-day client service, counsel and information regarding safety and liability concerns, as well as the coordination and administration of safety inspections throughout the county.
The VCSSFA also has a Risk Management Committee (RMC) which meets on a monthly basis. The RMC discusses and makes recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding Safety and Risk Management issues facing the Member districts.
As a Public Agency, VCSSFA is subject to and operates under the open meeting laws and the noticing provisions of the Brown Act. With the exception of its noticed Closed Sessions, all Board, Executive Committee, and RMC meetings are open to all members of the public.
In addition, VCSSFA has an annual review of its accounts and records by an independent, Certified Public Accountant; audited financial statements; and annually has all its Board and Alternate members file a Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700) with the State Fair Political Practices Commission.
Each Member District appoints a representative and alternate to the Board of Directors. The Board has established the practice and directed VCSSFA staff to observe the following communication protocols:
- All official communications from VCSSFA will be sent only to the VCSSFA Board Members. The Members will then be responsible for disseminating the information to his/her District.
- Any official communication from the Member Districts will come through the Member's designated VCSSFA representative, as they have been appointed by the district's Superintendent and district's Board President to be the legal and fiduciary representative to VCSSFA.
Board of Directors & Executive Committee
Overview of Programs
Risk Management Committee
Risk Management Committee Contact List