Grand Jury Concludes the Eligibility Workers Position Needs Reclassification

After a nine-month investigation, the 2023-2024 Shasta County Grand Jury concludes the high vacancy rate of the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Eligibility Worker position is primarily due low wages and job stress.

The report, “Shasta County Eligibility Workers are Undervalued,” was released today on the Shasta County Grand Jury Website www.shastacounty.gov/grand-jury/page/reports-responses

Superior Court annually appoints 19 county residents to the Grand Jury to serve as citizen watchdogs over local government.

Juror interest prompted the review. As Eligibility Workers are the first contact for the underserved population, the grand jury was concerned understaffing might negatively affect some of the most vulnerable in our community. The grand jury found the shortage of Eligibility Worker 1 employees does delay HHSA from meeting the needs of clients and complying with state mandates to address client needs in a timely manner.

The Eligibility Worker 1 is defined as an entry level position, but the career has changed over the last 10 years and now requires complex special skills.

During the course of its investigation, the grand jury became aware of a proposal to reclassify the Eligibilty Worker position and update the job description. Reclassification would increase the starting wages. This proposal, which was prepared by an upper management HHSA employee, was presented to the county administration over a year ago, but no action was taken. The proposal was evaluated to be a true reclassification, which would address the issues of job complexity and low wages.

Among the Grand Jury findings:

• Reclassification of the Eligibility Worker 1 position to match the current complexity of the job is necessary to increase wages.
• Increasing the wages of the Eligibility Worker 1 position to match the current complexity of the job would improve retention and lower vacancy rates.
• Inadequate staffing leads to additional stress for the workers and delays services for clients.

Among the Grand Jury’s Recommendations:

• The Shasta County Board of Supervisors approves and implements the existing proposal to reclassify the the Eligibility Worker position by December 31, 2024.

Under California law, the Board of Directors must respond to the Grand Jury’s report within 90 days.

Press Release

-from press release

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