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Rules and Regulations Subcommittee


April 10, 2008 at 10:30am

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 408

Present:  Breslin, Oneto, Gillespie

Absent:   None

Called meeting at 10:47 am

1.       Call to Order/Roll Call : Quorum

2.      General Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items not on the agenda)

  • Tariq:  4C1 we want more teeth in this clause.
  • Hansu: If and when the TXC merges with MTA, they will have authority to make changes.  My concern is that we basically are taking time to make these rules changes but may not take affect under the MTA. 
  • Com Breslin: We need to copy the MTA on the resolutions.
  • Dir Thigpen: There is currently no protocol to send things to the MTA Board.  Now going forward there is opportunity for public hearing.  MTA knows that this subcommittee is meeting and in my communications I have made it abundantly clear that this has been going on for over 6 months.  My understanding is that they are taking our recommendations. 
  • Com Breslin: With our timeline in mind perhaps I need to be more aware of getting the book produced before the merger takes place.
  • Dir Thigpen: To print it costs money.
  • Breslin: We can put this on the commission website.
  • Dir Thigpen: We will make sure that changes are posted.  Any amendments will be posted.
  • Dan Hinds: Scott Leon came to our office and pulled Prop K waybills which he indicated were random.  My problem is with the driving requirement, the consequences of what you are doing is so significant.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort to look at a medallion holder’s file.
  • Marty Smith: I would like to talk about the EER which requires the medallion holders to drive. We need to abandon the EER, we get on the average of 20 people looking for work each day, and we need those shifts.

3.      Adoption of Minutes from the March 31, 2008 Subcommittee Meeting: Adopted without objection.

4.   Consideration of Amendments to Taxicab/Ramped Taxi Rules & Regulations, Section 5, Color Schemes        [DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION; EXPLANATORY DOCUMENTS]

  • Com Breslin: I would like to take a look at the resolutions to see if we will put these forward to the commission.
  • Dir Thigpen: Rule 5A3 resolution.  I took the liberty of drafting this particular piece based on your prior discussions of the substance of what you wanted.
  • Com Oneto: Couldn’t we also discuss the sign off sheet from the drivers that they are receiving this?
  • Com Breslin: Instead of a sworn statement, to have them actually sign upon distribution?
  • Pres Gillespie:  Reads 5A3.
  • Dir Thigpen: It says "may require".
  • Pres Gillespie: We are taking responsibility away from the Color Scheme and putting it more on the city.
  • Dir Thigpen:  At A-Card renewal the city should be giving a copy of the rule book.
  • Com Breslin: How would you know if you lost the book, would you just contact the commission office?
  • Dir Thigpen: Most Color Schemes keep them and the commission office distributes them

Public Comment:

  • Mark Gruberg: No objection to the resolution.  I thought it was going to be under training for the schools to distribute the rules.
  • Com Breslin: We do intend for the schools to have a directive.
  • Dir Thigpen: I will amend this resolution that will reference this under that section.
  • Pres Gillespie: Leasing layers apply to everybody as to a lot of the rules in the book.
  • Unknown: What about titles, how much you pay for a shift.
  • Com Breslin: When we get to Section K are you suggesting that we address this?
  • Unknown: This is a fourth or fifth layer contract.
  • Com Breslin: Com Oneto suggested that we look at the layers one more time.
  • Tariq Mehmood: The numbers of the resolutions are the same.  In 6B3, we should keep it in the Color Scheme section.  By just putting it in just the driver section gets rid of Color Scheme responsibility.
  • Pres Gillespie: It will be the city’s responsibility.
  • Com Breslin: Move to approve.
  • Com Oneto: 2nd
  • Com Breslin: All in favor of resolution 5A3.

AYES: Gillespie, Oneto, Breslin             NO: 0

  • Dir Thigpen: Resolution, 5A10 I worked on some language that would reference workers compensation.
  • Tom Owens: I’m going to recommend some amendments to the language.  Who qualifies employees; insert the words as required by state law.  Strike the words affiliated because it does not indicate a working relationship.
  • Com Breslin: How will the companies know?
  • Tom Owens: It’s a fact of specific determination they will have to address this with a workers compensation attorney. 
  • Com Oneto: Can we request the Color Scheme to address the State Compensation to see if there driver is an employee?
  • Tom Owens: It’s a more practical approach.
  • Com Breslin: My concern is that it won’t stop appeals and appeals, the system will continue the way it is.  Is there a way that we can get a workers compensation carrier to access the list? 
  • Com Oneto: If its issued by medallion but required by the driver.
  • Tom Owens: It covers employees working for that company.
  • Com Oneto: Can we request that the Color Schemes or the affiliated individual provide us with their coverage?
  • Tom Owens: We can adopt some reporting documents along those lines.
  • Pres Gillespie: As I understand it, we are the only jurisdiction in CA that has any regulation requiring workers compensation.  I really feel like we should have a common policy.  I more confused about this issue.  The cleanest way to fix this is to pass a state law.
  • Com Oneto:  No matter which way we go with this we are still going to have to know.  By medallion we need to know which ones have workers compensation.
  • Dir Thigpen: In the 1095 process they have to sign a sworn statement that they are in compliance with state law.
  • Com Breslin: Since the medallions are covered individually, as part of every application they have to apply for workers compensation.
  • Tom Owen: They won’t necessarily get us where we need to be.

Public Comment:

  • Hansu Kim: I agree with the way Tom interpreted it.  We want every driver to have workers compensation.  The question is are independent contractors employees?  To make a blanket statement that Color Schemes have to have workers compensation, you can’t do that.
  • Com Breslin: If you are single shift driver does that mean you cannot go to the airport?
  • Hansu Kim: It is literally taking money and putting a lighter to it, you are losing money. 
  • Tom Owen: It’s something we would have to look at further.  We have to figure out what the justifications are. All drivers would have to be employees.
  • Com Breslin: Some airports require a certain code of dress to pick up at the airport. 
  • Tom Owen: There is certainly a policy for people to choose a certain business model.
  • Jim Gillespie: I come down to challenge that. I guess the only comments are to clarify there is really no legal way that requires independent contractors to have workers compensation.  I’m still with the way it stands.  It’s really because of our area and the jurisdictions here.  When you say that you have to carry workers compensation you are over stepping legal boundaries.
  • Pres Gillespie: Yellow cab is self insured, what does that process involve?
  • Jim Gillespie: You have to show a net worth for auto liability.  You have to hold money on deposit to cover your losses. We are do it based on our financial position.  We do this through the State workers compensation investor relations.
  • Marty Smith:  The workers compensation; Tom did a good thing with the changes.  We need to look at the contract that the companies have with the drivers to determine if these drivers are independent contractors.  We want workers compensation or industrial accidents. In our company everyone is a Color Scheme so our Medallion Holders are not covered. 
  • Pres Gillespie:  So you just get that for your Medallion Holders?
  • Marty Smith: No, you get it for all your drivers, it covers the vehicle.
  • Com Breslin: I always thought that the contracts were a protected arena.
  • Marty Smith: If a Medallion Holder drives they cover them.   If he is gates & gas, industrial accident covers the driver up to $500K.
  • Com Oneto: Are there different levels in industrial accident insurance, Tom Owen, since that isn’t State Law "industrial accident" can we require this coverage at a certain level?
  • Tom Owen: We can set insurance requirements for permittees.  We would have to provide our accepting of the industrial accident. 
  • Com Breslin: Is this by Color Scheme or Medallion?
  • Marty Smith: That would be by medallion.
  • Tom Owen: Simply looking at a contract does not determine if someone qualifies.
  • Pres Gillespie: Can we get a copy of those 18 steps?
  • John Lazar:  We went to the State level; I don’t have a copy with me.  Workers compensation I would continue to have unless the San Francisco city says that you cannot be sued.  We are scared to be challenged if we don’t have the right coverage.  AIG says that everyone is covered under our workers compensation.  We are paying $250 a month per cab.
  • Pres Gillespie: You get it because you don’t want your assets placed in jeopardy. 
  • Marty Smith: We can make industrial accident the bottom line.
  • Charles Rathbone: EDD has published a document under the Taxi Driver Regulation page.  I will suggest what business model is acceptable.  What is in the interest of the people of San Francisco?  What you might want to do under section 5K lease, maybe you only want to have a Gates& Gas business model.  There is no way to escape the workers compensation.
  • Carl Macmurdo:  I think that there is an important service provided by the long term lease model as well.  I think that on a separate issue is that all the drivers are protected. As far as the 18 point test, it’s very confusing.  Some of these companies that have accidents that don’t have workers compensation just close there business and kick the driver to the curb.  Then the medallion holder may be liable for that, so it applies to them as well.  It’s really not clear that workers compensation is required.
  • Mark Gruberg: The courts require that Desoto, Luxor and Yellow have workers compensation due to a court case from the mid 90's.
  • Com Breslin: As required by law or for everybody?
  • Mark Gruberg: It must be clearly written in their contract, which is in the court decision.  The notion that you would create an alternative parallel acceptable system is only going to worstin the problem.  Every company is going to latch on to that.  The commission is now creating a body of interpretation around workers compensation and I think you going down the right path.  There needs to be a level playing field in this industry.
  • Pres Gillespie:  Would you support the resolution?
  • Mark Gruberg: It’s really nothing to what is already written in the MPC.  I don’t think your doing very much by this exercise.  I think the commission needs to continue down this path.
  • Pres Gillespie: You have to display the certificate and be in compliance with State laws. This intent is to be more specific. 
  • Mark Gruberg: Section 1147.4 says that you have to be in compliance with State law.
  • Dan Hinds:  I was General Manager of DeSoto at that time during the Tracy case.  The agreement said that we weren’t going to use the independent contractors to deny workers compensation.  Under that leasing agreement I think that that qualification needs to be made.  At National cab we pay roughly 200K per year on workers compensation.  We have a business model question here.  We pay by medallion and workers compensation charges us for each.  Going back to the comment that Hansu made is to limit access to people at the airport.  Those exceptions are going to be limited to single users.
  • Pres Gillespie: When you get the airport sticker who gives that to you?
  • Dan Hinds: GTU.
  • Dir Thigpen: We never had a MOU with GTU.  I would like to establish a MOU.  I will draft that.  Basically what we can do is that we can have even if they pass inspection TXC has to sign off and certify that these vehicles pass the inspection completely.
  • Tariq Mehmood: Black & White Checker sent a letter to the TXC that so many medallions are covered under workers compensation.  Through this I will request Dir Thigpen to send them a letter of what medallions are single shift.  Airport means that they have to add a clause in there laws that all cabs have to be covered under workers compensation.  Where are the rules that keep them in the loop for a 1 month period?  If they let it lapse they should be a fine.
  • Hansu Kim: In my opinion this is the most difficult situation.  Many companies don’t cover workers compensation and I think Dan said it best.  This is very important to address and create an even plain field of cost.  Addressing this problem will go a long way on availability.
  • Pres Gillespie: Mark, you affiliated with Regents for dispatch, how did you go about this.
  • Mark Gruberg:  Workers compensation wrote us a policy.
  • Pres Gillespie: I want to make sure that permit holders are covered.
  • Mark Gruberg: Under Green Cab every driver is covered and our coverage is by medallion number so if you are driving that cab you are covered.
  • Marty Smith: Under the State Fund medallion holders are not covered. 
  • Tom Owen: We were just talking about liability insurance.  You don’t have to prove that the company did something wrong to get workers compensation.
  • Pres Gillespie: I want to be clear about when workers compensation starts and where it ends.
  • Tom Owen: It’s however the courts define the employment. 
  • John Lazar: I’ve had 3 claims with Medallion Holders.  All three insurance companies cover medallion holders. 
  • Dir Thigpen:  The problem of brokers is 5th generation.
  • Com Breslin: The airport sounds like a good incentive.
  • Pres Gillespie:  I’m starting to agree with Mark Gruberg; I wonder from our staff what percentages of cabs are in compliance. 
  • Dir Thigpen: I’m not prepared to answer that question; we can have a staff report on the April 22nd meeting.    We have a situation right now with the airport so we need to improve this dialogue.
  • Marty Smith: Bay and Regents have been rewarded while we all were in full compliance.  If a medallion holder is not driving the cab even if he’s single shift he has to have workers compensation.
  • Dir Thigpen: MPC has something regarding transfers.
  • Com Oneto:  What we have is that they only have to show proof of work compensation on that particular medallion.
  • Tom Owen:  If your ready to say you are not going to allow single shift its better to address that head on.
  • Dir Thigpen: Reads- MPC section 1125.
  • Pres Gillespie: We can deny a Color Scheme change based on public interest.
  • Com Oneto: What single shifter is going to be receiving another medallion?
  • Dir Thigpen: There is just one more section; Subsection D; No change shall be made by approval of Taxi Commission.
  • Com Breslin:  This conversation was long overdue. 
  • Dir Thigpen: Next meeting is on May 7th.
  • Pres Gillespie: I won’t be at the meeting I’ll be gone from May 1st to the May 7th.
  • Com Breslin: We can talk about this at the commission meeting.
  • Tom Owen: It will be better to agendize the subject of Color Scheme changes.  I think it will be very informative to have an Insurance representative come and give a presentation at the meeting.
  1. Adjournment 12:35



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