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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Employer Perspective on SSN and “No Match” Letters

Most people I’ve heard today talking about the almost October surprise that Gloria Allred sprung on Meg Whitman don’t know what they are talking about. Since most folks never get to sign the front of a paycheck, they are uninformed about how businesses deal with hiring and firing of employees.

First, an employer will interview candidates for a job.  Then they will make an offer to hire someone. At that point the employee is supposed to provide the necessary documents for an I-9 form. The employer has to accept the documents at face value. There is no legal requirement to make copies of the documents or attempt to verify their authenticity. In fact the employer is subjecting himself to legal peril if they rescind an employment offer on the basis of identification documents. At most places where I have worked, we kept copies of the I-9 and supporting documents in the employee files. Also, there is no government agency that an employer can send the documents to for verification if they have a doubt.

Please note that you do not need to show a Social Security Number (SSN) as a condition of employment. The card is only one of a litany of documents that can be submitted for identification purposes.

Nothing more happens with an employee SSN until year end taxes are filed. The W-2s are submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the name on the W-2 does not match the name on file with the Social Security Administration, they will eventually send the employer a “Don’t Match” letter. This letter has language that many people would be surprised to see. Two points I would like to highlight concerning this letter. It is illegal to terminate an employee if their SSN does not agree with their name. The letter also makes it clear that this is a matter between the Social Security Administration and the employee.

“Employers should not assume that the mismatch is the result of any wrongdoing on the part of the employee. Moreover, an employer who takes action against an employee based on nothing more substantial than a mismatch letter may, in fact, violate the law.”

“An employer that receives such a letter and terminates employees without attempting to resolve the mismatches, or who treats employees differently based upon national origin or other prohibited characteristics, may be found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination.”

http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ICEinsert.pdf

In most cases, by the time an employer gets a “No Match” letter, the employee is no longer with the company. These letters are simply a multi-column list of social security numbers. The employer must look-up each number to find the name associated with the number.

If employer attempts to verify the name and SSN, the government will not help. They will only say if it matches or does not match. They won’t tell you what is wrong. This is especially frustrating when dealing with folks from south of the border. The SSN template cannot deal with the way Spanish people are named. SSA wants first name, middle initial and last name. I’ve seen Spanish employees that have six names by our government’s way of reckoning.

For example if you hire Mario de Jesus Garcia Esperonza, how do you make him fit the First name, middle initial, last name format? Also, many Spanish folks are barely literate in their own language and they know no English. It is common to see their first and last names transposed on their documents. Is he Valentine Edwardo or Edwardo Valentine? Again, SSA can’t deal with properly documenting Spanish names and won’t help correct errors when they occur.

One year I went thru this with 75 employees and we never could successfully resolve a single instance of “No Match”. The E-Verify system was not any better plus it was all tied to my personal SSN and not the employer tax ID number. I left the company over three years ago and as far as I know, my SSN is still tied to their employee verification account with SSA.

Lastly, the ACLU took the “No Match” letters to court in 2007 and got a favorable ruling that blocked the SSA from sending employers “No Match” letters. Here is their press release. http://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/court-blocks-government-implementing-flawed-social-security-no-match-rule

I don’t know how this court action was resolved or if it has been. It appears likely that the letters are still blocked. They certainly were when the current Administration came to power. Given the political leanings of President Obama, I doubt he would fight hard to have the government begin issuing these letters any time soon.

 

Posted by william on 09/30 at 02:33 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Doug Ose, Roger Neillo, Per Diem and the SD1 Special Election

As things heat-up in the special election to fill the California Senate seat vacated when Dave Cox died, it would be a good time to note the genesis of how state legislators and Per Diem became an issue.

In a word it was Doug Ose (pronounced O-see).

When Vick Fazio decided not to run for re-election for his congressional seat back in 1998, the Republicans sensed that the gains made in the district by Tim Lefever could finally more the seat from Democrat to Republican. Ose’s chief rival in the race was Assemblywoman Barbara Alby. Alby had refused to collect the Per Diem that she was entitled to collect as a legislator.

Per Diem is intended to allow legislators that live some distance from the Capitol to keep a residence near Sacramento while the legislature is in session. Since Alby lives only a few miles from the Capitol, she did not collect Per Diem on a regular basis. Ose took her Per Diem records and turned them into an attendance record and claimed that Alby had one of the worst attendance records of any legislator in the State. In short Alby did not do her job. Ose succeeded in crucifying Alby on the attendance issue and went on to win the seat.

In 2008, Ose again ran for Congress and Per Diem was once again the main issue. This time Ose went after Tom McClintock for collecting Per Diem when McClintock lived just down the road in Elk Grove. McClintock represented a southern California district and kept a second home in Elk Grove. This is what Per Diem was intended to be used for. Somehow Ose never skipped a beat when he did his 180 on the Per Diem issue.

Now Roger Neillo is making Per Diem an issue in the SD1 race. Can you guess who one of his biggest backers is? If you guessed Doug Ose then you got it right.

All-in-all, I think Ose did a good job during his three terms in Congress. I did walk precincts for him and even got a thank you call from him for my letter to the editor supporting him back when Bill Clinton was bombing Bosnia. I still keep the wave file on my computer. However, Ose’s lasting legacy seems to be making Per Diem a political club to beat-up on other Republicans.

If all Neillo has is Per Diem to go after Ted Gains then I think he is sunk. Gains can beat-up on Neillo all the way to November on the fact that Neillo proudly voted to impose the highest State tax hike in the history of the country. Roger is proud that he was able to “collaborate with Democrats” in the Assembly. Those are not my words; they were uttered by Neillo ironically enough in Elk Grove just two weeks ago.

If you want to get even more ironic, the remaining wildcard in the race is Barbara Alby. She has made some noises about getting into the SD1 race. If she does that, then Neillo might have a chance of winning. Alby can’t win but she can split the Conservative vote and give Neillo an opportunity. We are days away from the end of the filing period. If Alby files it will likely be on the last day to do so.

Posted by william on 09/16 at 12:38 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Monday, September 13, 2010

Brett Daniels Endorsement of Jim Cooper—Emails, Lies and Audio Files

Brett Daniels was one of three candidates that ran for Sacramento County Sheriff on the June ballot. He also is a former member of the Citrus Heights City Council. He is running again for a City Council seat in Citrus Heights and sought the endorsement of the Sacramento County Republican Party (SCRP). The SCRP met for their regular meeting last Thursday (September 9th). The main agenda item was endorsement for non-partisan races.

The way the endorsement process worked was that a committee of five people—one from each supervisorial district—met and voted their recommendations. The full body then treated the recommendations as a consent calendar unless someone wished to consider a recommendation separately. Mr. Daniels was pulled from the list and on a separate vote; he failed to get the endorsement. This was based solely on his recent endorsement of Sheriff Candidate Jim Cooper. Cooper—a Democrat—is running against Republican Scott Jones. Jones got the SCRP endorsement over Daniels prior to the June election.

In fairness to Daniels, he was at the SCRP meeting and not allowed to speak. I can understand that he was frustrated by this and that he did not prevail in a group that would normally support him. Anyway, when I awoke on Saturday, I was greeted by the message below. It was sent not just to members of the SCRP but to other candidates and elected officials. It was addressed to the chairman of the SCRP.

Daniels began his lengthy email by criticizing the endorsements process and the fact that he was not allowed to speak at the meeting. Further frustrating him was the fact that one of the people leading the effort to block his endorsement is involved with the Scott Jones campaign. I think this individual should have kept his mouth shut and let others go after Daniels but he doesn’t even consider this a problem. (It is and just not in this instance but that is beyond the scope of this entry.)

Daniels claimed that he had inside information on Jones that caused him to change his mind. Below is that portion of his email. (Note some spelling errors in the emails below have been corrected but they are otherwise unchanged.)

Because a few vocal hypocrites have decided it’s ok to put party over principle, I have decided to share the information the I shared with the Endorsement Committee with the remainder of the central committee and have attached it to this message. This contained document clearly shows that Scott Jones engaged in an on-going criminal relationship with known ex-felons to provide confidential information for financial gain. Since the document (mainly the Affidavit for a Search Warrant, pgs 14-22) can be somewhat confusing to the general public, I offer to explain it to any one that cares to ask.

In talking with the Endorsement Committee, I didn’t even get the chance to explain another troubling fact about Mr. Jones that I became aware of during the primary involving another deputy who was convicted of a misdemeanor trespass charge after he lied about a 911 call to get into the home of a woman he hoped to pursue romantically, where her two daughters were alone. A federal civil case that resulted in a more than $200,000 settlement charged the deputy with rifling the woman’s dresser drawers after ordering the two girls - then 8 and 12 - to stay in the living room. The deputy’s conduct was so egregious that the judge issued a stern rebuke as she handed down his sentence. “You traumatized those two children,” she said, calling the deputy’s actions a violation of “public trust.” Mr. Jones was a close friend of the deputy, indeed previously lived with the deputy’s wife, and it was Mr. Jones who was in Legal Affairs that lobbied to keep the deputy on the department. It is widely known that Mr. Jones plans to have his friend serve as his Legal Affairs Officer.

Daniels concludes his letter with one last complaint. Namely, others endorsed that night endorsed Cooper so why was he singled out?

Lastly, an attachment was sent with the above email. The attachment is from the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association—the union that gave Jim Cooper about $200,000—and can be found here http://www.scdsa.org/images/files/Pages_from_100428_FILED_Motion_to_Unseal_Search_Warrant_Affidavits_PART_1.pdf

When people push my button on something, I’m not shy about firing off a response. Brett Daniels got such a response from me. I have nothing against Brett, but Jim Cooper is on my list of bad guys that need to lose elections. Here are few exerts from my response.

The disciplinary records of Scott Jones have been released to the public. The disciplinary records of Jim Cooper have not and never will be.

Mr. Cooper has subjected other Council members to the wrath of the Sacramento County Grand Jury because they dared to publicly disagree with him on Council issues. He has used bully tactics on other Council members both publicly and behind the scenes. He is a bully with a badge that abuses his public trust. In July, Mr. Cooper tried to remove Sophia Scherman as Mayor because she called a special meeting about a group home for juvenile sexual offenders that happened to be the same night he had a scheduled fundraiser for his Sheriff campaign. I know, I was at the Council meeting.

Mr. Cooper has been chastised by the Sacramento County Grand Jury on multiple occasions for his behavior on the Elk Grove City Council. I am confident from what I have seen and know of him that if his disciplinary records as a law enforcement officer were released that we would not be having the email exchange.

The document that you emailed us today is a political hit piece on Scott Jones that was filed in April of this year to try to influence the outcome of the June election. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association has pumped about $200,000 into the election and this document was filed at the same time their contributions began to flow into Cooper’s campaign. This is not coincidence but part of a carefully coordinated election campaign.

Mr. Daniels fired off a lengthy response. I want to focus on the first paragraph.

I am in complete agreement with you that Mr. Cooper has not handled himself properly in certain situations. He should have recued himself in all matters that involved the Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept, which he did eventually but should have from the beginning. I also agree that Mr. Cooper has at times not handled matters in the manner that I would. And specifically to the Ms Scherman issue, that issue was the result of Ms Sherman on several occasions stepping outside her boundary as a Mayor of a “strong-City Manager” form of local government and culminated when she called a “Special Meeting” with 24-hrs notice outside the parameters of recognized legitimate “Special Meeting” guidelines, regardless of the topic of concern (which I agree was a serious one nonetheless). Somehow, I think you know these things already but refuse to acknowledge them.

The comments on Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman were curious to me. They are almost verbatim what Jim Cooper, Steve Detrick and Gary Davis said when trying to oust Mayor Scherman. The phrase “strong mayor” was used many times to describe her calling of special meetings. I suspect that Daniels had been in communication with Mr. Cooper in the course of these exchanges. The assertion that Scherman did not have the power to call the meetings is a lie as I will illustrate in a moment. Cooper definitely found them damn inconvenient.

My final response to Daniels began:

As Mayor of Elk Grove Sophia does have the right to call a special meeting with 24 hours notice.
The City Council procedures manual clearly states under the heading for Special Meetings that “Special meetings and emergency meetings of the City Council may be called by the Mayor or majority of the City Council and held from time to time consistent with and pursuant to procedures set forth in the Ralph M Brown Act.”

The Brown Act states:
SPECIAL MEETINGS:
Twenty-four hour notice must be provided to members of legislative body and media outlets including brief general description of matters to be considered or discussed.

Brett Daniels was wrong to endorse Jim Cooper. In the June election he was the spoiler that prevented Scott Jones from winning. This forced a run-off in November. Daniels stated publicly that if he lost in June that he would endorse Jones. He has been around the block more that once as a politician and a deputy sheriff. For him to play dumb about the obvious “hit piece” by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association that was posted on their website back in April with much press and fanfare is unbelievable. Daniels was promising to support Jones after these documents were posted on the Internet and published in local media. Why is it dismissed as a “hit piece” in April and the silver bullet that slays Jones in July? There is more to this than Daniels has admitted.

To prove that I am right on all points stated here try these exerts from the debate held April 30th between Jim Cooper, Scott Jones and Brett Daniels. All quotes below and audio of the debate can be found here. http://hoguenews.com/?p=9976

As it relates to their resume, Bret Daniels was fired over his incident years back, while Jim Cooper and Scott Jones have been cleared of any wrong doing after extensive internal investigations more recently.

The scuffle has been Captain Scott Jones’ investigation – Cooper’s crew has been stating publicly that it was a cover-up, and Jones was never vetted properly by the department and the FBI.

While Jones has been taking the brunt of these shots from both Cooper and Daniels, Scott’s camp had asked for the personal records of Jim Cooper to be released for the public eye.
The first response from Cooper was no; doing so would be a violation of the union protection clause. Then, surprisingly during Friday’s 1380 KTKZ radio debate, Cooper made the announcement that he would be releasing his records.
The immediate complaint from Daniels and Jones was the limited release. Cooper was releasing some of his records, but he was holding back all of his internal investigation records from open review.

With Cooper’s news on Friday, it may tone down some of the rhetoric, but both Daniels and Jones believe his limited released is nothing more than window dressing.

As you can clearly see, Brett Daniels is lying about his July epiphany of Jones’ record. Further, when he says that Cooper has nothing left to release that he is lying. Daniels was the one leading the charge to get Cooper to release his records—including the internal investigation records.

Too bad Brett didn’t stay out of making any endorsement in this race if he had a change of heart about Jones. I would respect that a lot more than having him make a bunch of bald-faced lies not only to the Sacramento Republican Party but to a plethora of candidates and office holders in the county.

 

Posted by william on 09/13 at 02:41 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink
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