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Public Authority  Mission Statement
The mission of San Francisco's IHSS Public Authority is to provide and promote a service delivery model of consumer-directed in-home support that maximizes the potential of older adults and people with disabilities to live independently and participate in their communities.
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Public Authority  Objectives
Although a legal entity separate from the City and County, the Public Authority was established by San Francisco Ordinance No. 195-85 under California Welfare and Institutions Code section 12301.6. These laws require this unique public agency to:

  • Create and operate a registry to provide lists of screened workers to IHSS consumers for potential in-home employment
  • Arrange training and support services for both workers and IHSS consumers
  • Become employer of record for IHSS independent providers, allowing worker organization and union representation
  • Provide formal opportunities for consumer and worker leadership in program and policy development
  • Participate in the overall improvement of personal assistance services*

San Francisco's Public Authority brings together IHSS consumers and workers in partnership to foster the development of high-quality personal assistance services. The governing body of the Public Authority serves as a meeting ground for consumers, workers, and representatives of city government.

* Personal assistance services is more broadly defined than IHSS services, and includes assistance to persons of all income levels in carrying out activities that could be performed by themselves were it not for their disabilities.

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Public Authority  Organization
The Public Authority is a collaborative effort that involves many individuals and organizations. Organizations that have provided guidance and support to the Public Authority include:

The Public Authority is guided by a Governing Body consisting of City representatives and a majority of users of personal assistance services.

As of July 2014, the Public Authority has sixteen (16) staff members, most of whom are responsible for providing support services to IHSS consumers and workers.

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Public Authority  Costs
Together, the Authority and DAAS IHSS administrative staff supported delivery of nearly 20.6 million service hours to San Francisco IHSS consumers in FY 2013-14. Over $349.8 million dollars were spent to provide these home care service hours to older adults and people with disabilities. Most of those funds (79%) were used to pay wages and employer payroll taxes for IHSS providers.

The Authority received and spent $53,399,833 (the remaining 21%) in FY 2013-14. The largest portion of these funds, $51,112,783 (95.72%), was used to pay for benefits for IHSS workers: $48,185,165 (94.27%) for health benefits and $2,927,138 (5.73%) for dental benefits. The Authority spent $996,342 (1.87%) for worker trainings, registry services, IP criminal background checks, and payroll processing, plus other program and miscellaneous expenses. The balance of the funds ($1,290,708 or 2.41%) was spent for staff payroll, benefits, taxes and expenses.

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Public Authority  Staff Responsibilities
There are currently sixteen (16) staff members at the Public Authority. Seven provide registry and support services to IHSS consumers and workers. Multi-lingual staff capabilities include English, Cantonese, Chiuchow, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The Executive Director reports to the Governing Body, staffs committees, manages and evaluates ongoing operations, and works with other organizations to identify and address policy, program and funding options. There is a Program Manager for Central Registry Operations. The Executive Assistant aids the Executive Director in her tasks.

The Administration Unit, headed by the Fiscal & Operations Manager, manages the day-to-day operations and the administration of health and dental benefits for all independent providers. The Fiscal & Operations Manager is also responsible for developing and managing the annual budget. The Benefits Coordinator's primary assignment is to manage eligibility information for IHSS IP health and dental benefits. The Support Services Counselors perform the day-to-day Registry work (supporting the crucial consumer/IP relationship by providing referral lists for hiring purposes and other advice), inform the community about the Registry, and recruit Registry workers. The Central Registry Operations Program Manager oversees the Registry and its On-Call Services. Home care provider applicants for the Registry are encouraged to take training courses at the Training Academy for Personal Caregivers and Assistants (TAPCA) that focus on IP work.

The Public Authority works with a number of consultants for legal counsel, audits, and program development. RTZ Associates has provided technical assistance in an array of areas from the beginnings of the Public Authority.

Staff Members (as of July 2014):

  • Kelly Dearman, Executive Director: Kelly Dearman is the recently hired Executive Director of the Public Authority. She comes to this position with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of economic issues, senior issues and issues affecting people with disabilities. She also has a rare blend of compassion, empathy and a sharp business acumen. Prior to accepting this position, Kelly served as the President of the San Francisco Human Services Commission. Additionally, she ran a small law practice specializing in elder issues and probate law. Moreover, Kelly and her sister operated a real estate company founded by her grandmother over 50 years ago. In 2008, she and her sister founded SF Urban CHC, a nonprofit providing first time home-buyer education and financial literacy for low to moderate income residents of San Francisco. She is looking forward to this next chapter in her life fighting and advocating for the rights of seniors and people with disabilities to live and thrive in the community. On a personal note, she is most proud of her life with her husband and two children.
  • Patrick Hoctel, Executive Assistant: Patrick Hoctel moved to the Bay Area in 1982 from Tucson, Arizona. He serves as Kelly Dearman’s Executive Assistant. Born and raised in New Orleans, he previously worked at the Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) and as an editor at the Bay Area Reporter. In 2001, he received a master’s in Gerontology from San Francisco State University. Patrick lives in the Dogpatch area of Potrero Hill with his partner of many years and their two children.
  • Loc Chau, Fiscal & Operations Manager: Loc Chau oversees information systems, human resources and finances for the Public Authority. His responsibilities include accounting, budgeting, financial reporting and management of agency assets. Prior to his job here, Loc spent over 13 years in the Bay Area nonprofit sector, holding various management positions in finance and accounting. He received his B.A. and M.B.A. from San Jose State University.
  • Maria Olivares, Program Manager - Central Registry Operations: Maria Olivares was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and moved to San Francisco as a child. Maria has worked in nonprofits for over 30 years, including a 20-year stint at Swords to Plowshares. Along the way, she also earned a B.A. in Social Sciences from San Francisco State and a law degree from Hastings College. Maria and her husband live in San Francisco and have two adult children. She describes her job as “challenging…not only doing team building with staff but also empowering the consumers, educating them about their rights and what services are available to them. I really believe that empowering people is what creates social change.”

  • Ophelia Ng, Benefits Coordinator: Ophelia Ng was born and raised in Hong Kong. She moved to San Francisco in 2008 after receiving a B.S. in Biology at City University of Hong Kong. Before joining the Public Authority, she worked at the Asian Family Support Center as a Family Services Coordinator. While there, she provided newly arrived Chinese immigrant families with information on the community resources available to them. Ophelia, who lives with her family in the Sunset District, reports that "I am happy when people around me are happy, so I will do my best to help and make everyone happy!"
  • Cheryl Durley, Payroll/Operations Coordinator: A native San Franciscan, Cheryl Durley was born and raised in the Bayview-Hunters Point area, where she still resides. Prior to coming to IHSS Public Authority, she worked at San Francisco General Hospital’s Outpatient Administration unit, United Airlines and for then Supervisor Sophie Maxwell’s office. Her experiences in these different positions eventually lead to her becoming an Administrative Assistant here; she is now the Payroll/Operations Coordinator for the Authority. Cheryl enjoys the variety of people on the IHSS staff and sees her job as an opportunity to help older adults and people with disabilities.
  • Poni Ma, DOJ Documents Technician: Poni Ma was born in Canton, China, and emigrated to the Bay Area in the late 1990's. She completed her B.A. in Studio Arts at Sonoma State University in the North Bay, and she now lives in San Francisco. She is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Poni worked at a nonprofit private preschool as an Administrative Assistant/Enrollment Specialist for over 4 years before joining the Public Authority in 2014. She enjoys working with children, their families and their communities. She is happy that "I have the opportunity to be part of the Public Authority and continue to pursue my passion to serve all the different communities."
  • Eren Gutierrez, Receptionist/Program Support: Eren Gutierrez moved to the Bay Area in 1993 from her home town of Tijuana, Mexico. She pursued her college education here, with an emphasis in Business Administration and Communications. Prior to joining the Public Authority in 2014, she had a fulfilling 15-year career in Sales and Customer Relations. For the past three years, she worked in a family business, where she interacted mainly with the Latino community, assisting them with social needs. She comes to this position with extensive experience as a Spanish-English translator, a vast skill set in team support, as well as a long history in her strongest area: Customer Relations. Eren currently lives in San Bruno with her husband of 10 years. She is looking forward to giving back to the community and is excited to be part of the Public Authority team.

  • Yvonne Cunningham, Administrative Coordinator: Yvonne Cunningham was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and moved to San Francisco as a youngster. She has two adult sons and two grandchildren. Yvonne has a 40-year work history. Twenty of those years were spent at Columbia Pictures as an Office Manager/Secretary, and ten were spent at the State of Missouri-Department of Revenue (San Francisco office) as a Secretary. Before joining the Public Authority, she worked at Sword to Plowshares as the Administrative Coordinator. When asked about her job here, she replies that she "really enjoys working with staff and assisting callers over the phone."
  • Claudia Grubler, Support Services/On-Call Counselor: Claudia Grubler was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She worked as a Spanish tutor for two years at City College of San Francisco, while studying graphic design. Claudia has extensive experience as a Spanish/English translator, interpreter and telephone interviewer. As a Latina and a quadriplegic, she has found it particularly rewarding serving her communities in her work at the IHSS Public Authority. She also serves as a representative of the Affiliated Disabled on the San Francisco Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC) Executive Committee.
  • Shelia J. Auzenne, Support Services/On-Call Counselor: Shelia J. Auzenne was born in Alabama and has lived in the Bay Area most of her life. She now resides in the southeast section of the City with her husband. They have an adult daughter. Shelia has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She worked as a Case Manager for the Northern California Cancer Center (BACCIS) project and in a similar capacity at other agencies thoughout San Francisco (Bayview-Hunters Point Senior Services, Christian Church Homes, Catholic Charities and IHSS Consortium). Shelia notes that "advocacy is my niche. I receive a great deal of satisfaction from helping others."
  • Irina Selskaya, On-Call Program Coordinator/Support Services Counselor: Irina Selskaya was born in the Republic of Georgia. After obtaining a degree in Education, she worked in the Ukraine as an editor for the Center of Scientific and Technical Information and as an instructor at the College of Business Administration. Since 1998, Irina has been a Support Services Counselor at the IHSS Public Authority. She combines professional experience with a devoted commitment to the mission of the agency by meeting the needs of both workers and consumers.
  • Moon Van, Support Services/On-Call Counselor: Moon Van was born in Vietnam of Chinese parents. Before coming to IHSS in January 2000, Moon worked for the Unified School District, Housing Authority and the Chinese Newcomers Service Center. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Chiuchow. In her role as Placement Coordinator for the IHSS Public Authority, Moon’s goal is to continue to use her language capacity, experience, skills and knowledge to serve the community.
  • Vladimir Etalis, Support Services/On-Call Counselor: Vladimir Etalis was born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Eighteen years ago, he came to the United States with his wife and son from the former Soviet Union; they now live in South San Francisco. In the U.S., Vladimir has worked as both a Mechanical and Software Engineer and in Customer Service, as well as working as an IHSS Independent Provider (IP) for eight years. He also served as an SEIU-UHW steward, fighting for the rights of older adults and people with disabilities and other IP's. When talking about IHSS consumers, he explains that he enjoys "making their current lives brighter."
  • Emilio Ramirez, Support Services/On-Call Counselor: Emilio Ramirez was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala. He also has family ties to El Salvador and Guangzhou, China. He has lived in San Francisco on and off for about 15 years, and now lives with his wife and two-year-old son in the Excelsior District. He is fluent in Spanish and English. Emilio attended medical school in El Salvador for four years and became a CNA in the U.S. He worked as a home-care provider for five years, caring for clients, including those with terminal cancer, with a wide range of medical, psychological and social needs. He is a dedicated husband and father and considers his family a source of great joy. Emilio's mission in life is to help others, no matter the difficulties, and he is passionate about serving those most in need.
  • Jingle Tang, Support Services/On-Call Counselor: Jingle Tang was born in Hong Kong. She has lived in San Francisco for 9 years. She, her husband and their two cats now reside in the SOMA of San Francisco. She speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Jingle received her B.A. in Mass Communications in Perth, Western Australia. She recently worked with a group of surgeons in a clinic setting for five-and-a-half years. While there, she often helped older adults and people with disabilities. She was also a flight attendant with Cathay Pacific, where she learned how to be an excellent ambassador for Hong Kong. Jingle enjoys living in San Francisco and declares that "I am passionate about helping people enrich their lives. I am mostly interested in serving underserved communities."
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Public Authority  Governing Body
The Public Authority Governing Body is the official board designated to govern the Public Authority and make legally binding decisions on its behalf. The members include one Commissioner recommended from each of three San Francisco Departments: the Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Department of Public Health (DPH); one member recommended by the Mayor's Disability Council; a majority of current or past users of personal assistance services; and IP home care worker representatives. In order to have representation from the entire consumer population, the consumers are nominated with an eye to diversity, and older and younger (over and under 55, respectively) adult populations have equal representation.

Governing Body Members (as of April 2014):

  • Board President: Kenzi Robi, Younger Consumer
  • Vice President: Luis Calderon, Younger Consumer
  • Treasurer: Gustavo Serina, Commissioner, Dept. of Aging & Adult Services
  • Secretary: Patricia Wooley, Worker/Provider Representative
  • Tatiana A. Kostanian, Mayor's Disability Council
  • Judith Karshmer, Commissioner, Dept. of Public Health
  • Melvin Beetle, Senior Consumer
  • Patricia Webb, Younger Consumer
  • Mike Boyd, Senior Consumer

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Public Authority  History
In the early 1990's, consumers, workers and advocates of In-Home Supportive Services around the state were looking for ways to improve the quality of the IHSS program. Some barriers to improvement were clear: difficulty for consumers in finding screened workers, very low wages for the workers, virtually no worker benefits, and a lack of training opportunities for both consumers and workers. They developed the idea of a Public Authority, an innovative way to address these concerns, and advocated for laws that allowed establishment of a public authority as a county option. As of January 2003, the existence of an IHSS employer-of-record (a Public Authority role) has been mandated for most counties by statute.

In May 1995, the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco City and County voted to create the first Public Authority with an independent Governing Body to manage and deliver in-home supportive services (IHSS).

From the beginning, San Francisco's Public Authority was a collaborative effort among consumers, workers, and other community advocates. These advocates were joined by the Department of Human Services, the county agency responsible for administering IHSS. A community agency, the IHSS Task Force of Planning for Elders in the Central City, received initial monies from the state and United Way grants to hire consultants for technical assistance in planning. With the guidance of a consumer-majority Governing Body and the newly hired staff, the Public Authority opened its doors to begin registry operations in September of 1996. On-Call services were begun in December 1997, medical benefits for IPs in March 1999, dental coverage in January 2000, and expanded consumer support services in late 1999. In December 2000, county-only funds were provided to allow use of the Registry for private pay consumers on a sliding scale fee.


1991 PECC IHSS Task force is established, having identified a need to focus on this crucial program
1993 State law allows counties to form public authorities
1994 Board of Supervisors passes resolution to draw down $250,000 in state funds to explore public authority option; $50,000 spent in planning
May 1995 Ordinance to establish IHSS Public Authority in San Francisco
July 1995 Consultants begin Central Registry design project
October 1995 First meeting of the Governing Body of the Public Authority
January 1996 IHSS hourly wage increase, 58 cents over minimum wage ($4.83)
February-July 1996 Initial Public Authority staff positions filled and office opened
May 1996 Independent providers vote to have Health Care Workers' Local 250 of SEIU be their union. First union contract ratified by IP workforce
Late July 1996 First worker applications for Registry are recorded for screening
Late September 1996 First consumer referral lists created of screened, matched workers
October 1996 With minimum wage increase, IHSS wage now only 36 cents over minimum wage ($5.11)
October 1996 Public Authority and Local 250 undertake interest-based bargaining
March 1997 With another minimum wage increase, IHSS wage now only 29 cents over minimum wage ($5.29)
July 1997 Board of Supervisors appropriates additional funds to keep IHSS wage 54 cents above minimum wage ($5.69)
December 1997 Emergency worker replacement (on-call) service begins
July 1998 Board of Supervisors raises IHSS wages to $7.00 an hour and commitment to health care benefit
March 1999 San Francisco Health Plan (SFHP) HealthyWorkers offered to IHSS workers
October 1999 IHSS wages increased to $9.00 per hour
January 2000 Dental Plan available to IPs
June 2000 Consumer Mentor program started
July 2000 IHSS wages increased to $9.70 per hour
December 2000 Registry services offered to private pay consumers on sliding scale fee basis
June 2001 PA Executive Director Donna Calame elected Co-Chair of SF Hospital Discharge Planning Task Force
April 2001 Wage increase to $10.00 per hour
September 2001 PA begins extending On-Call services to the San Francisco Senior Center's Homecoming Project
September 2001 PA hosts 3rd Where there's a Will, there's a Way Conference, 663 individual and 51 agency participants. (First two were in 1999 and 2000, respectively)
April 2002 PA launches an IHSS enrollment campaign targeting San Francisco Latinos and culminating in April with Latino IHSS Awareness Month
August 2002 IHSS wages increased to $10.10 per hour; Registry software becomes Internet-based
October 2002 Vision and Voice newsletter reaches 20,000 consumers and workers
February 2003 California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA) is formally established; PA Executive Director serves as interim President
March 2003 PA begins offering health and safety classes to workers in collaboration with the Shirley Ware Education Center of SEIU Local 250
June 2003 Website is re-designed and updated
July 2003 PA's Consumer Mentor Program plans training workshops
July 2003 Continuing level of HEALTHYWORKERS benefits preserved by PA paying higher premium
September 2003 PA Executive Director is elected as CAPA's first president
September 2003 PA hosts 4th Where there's a Will, there's a Way Conference, with over 750 individuals and 54 agency participants
October 2003 Vision and Voice newletter reaches 25,000 consumers and workers
October 2003 Worker wages increase to $10.17 per hour
November 2003 PA begins collaboration with the Shirley Ware Education Center of SEIU Local 250 to create a suite of trainings for home care workers and to provide stipends for workers who attend the classes
December 2003 Worker wages increase to $10.28
January 2004 PA launches new Worker Training Program in collaboration with the Shirley Ware Education Center of SEIU Local 250, IHSS Consortium, and Arriba Juntos. In FY 2010-11, the PA began cooperating with the development by the Department of Aging & Adult Services (DAAS) of a Training Academy for Personal Caregivers and Assistants (TAPCA). We stay connected on training and workshop content and encourage our independent providers (IP's) to participate
September 2006 PA hosts fifth Where there's a Will, there's a Way Conference, with hundreds of IHSS consumers and IP's in attendance, plus an extensive Resource Fair
July 2007 PA hosts "got RIGHTS? Fulfilling the Promise of Human and Civil Rights for People with Disabilities" symposium, which attracts over 200 federal, state and Bay Area policymakers, legislators, IHSS directors, agency representatives, consumer advocates, home care workers, and city and state department officials, who come together to share ideas about how to best fulfill our nation's legal and moral obligations to people with disabilities
January 2008 Worker wages increase to current rate of $11.54 per hour. (This amount includes both wage and paid time-off)
October 2008 The PA's Consumer Peer Mentor Program is re-instituted to provide support services to San Franciscans with disabilities transitioning from institutional living to the community. Many of the individuals who initially benefit from the program are long-term residents of Laguna Honda Hospital
June 2011 Vision and Voice newsletter reaches 39,000 consumers and workers
July 2011 PA holds "IHSS Under Pressure: Community Living at Risk" conference, with hundreds of IHSS consumers and their workers in attendance. The conference, which celebrates the PA's 15th anniversary, focuses on the future of IHSS as well as how to best advocate for the program
June 2012 Vision and Voice newsletter reaches 40,000 consumers and workers. Alerts them to state's plan to "lift and shift" IHSS into Managed Health Care Organizations
April 2013 Vision and Voice newsletter informs IHSS consumers and providers about the court settlement that prevented implementation of drastic cuts to the IHSS program
September 2013 Worker wage increases to $11.75 per hour. This amount includes both wage and paid time-off (PTO)
February 2014 Nearly 500 people attend the Public Authority's "IHSS: Into the Future - Advancing Disability Rights" conference that focuses mainly on the upcoming shift of IHSS into a managed care services delivery model and how best to address that change
April 2014 Kelly Dearman becomes only the second Public Authority Executive Director, succeeding Donna Calame
May 2014 Vision and Voice newsletter reaches 43,000 IHSS consumers and providers. This issue reports on the February conference, the change in leadership and the On-Call Program
June 2014 The Public Authority's Consumer Peer Mentor Program (CPMP) goes on temporary hiatus due to a funding shortfall
September 2014 Worker wage increases to $12.00 per hour. This amount includes both wage and paid time-off (PTO)

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