To the Honorable County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors:
Our union is extremely disappointed to learn that COBRA benefits for the dependents of the deceased December 2nd victims will end on 12/31/18. These dependents and surviving spouses have to deal with their loss on a daily basis. Many of them are in the middle of treatment for various mental health issues stemming from December 2nd, as well as the normal day-to-day medical and dental issues that come up. We believe that health benefits are the last thing these families should have to worry about while moving forward.
Many of these issues were brought to the County via the Workers Compensation task force, which never came to a consensus, completed an analysis, or returned a report on findings to the Board. It’s important mission or objectives were ultimately not met, once Dena Smith and Ken Hernandez left the task force.
Studies show that symptoms of PTSD often do not appear until up to ten years after an incident. Our union wants to make sure that these families have, at the very least, minimal resources provided in health benefits to cover any future & current mental health treatments.
Additionally, one of the items our union requested from the County beginning in February 2016 was an independent and all-encompassing after-action report that would include a plan for mental health services going forward, based on input from the surviving victims and families of the deceased. This request was made on behalf of the victims, and our union believes was reasonable in light of the tragic and unique circumstances. No such report was completed. Our union also supplied County leadership with legislative examples (authored after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, Connecticut, as well as a sample after-action report written in the case of the Aurora, Colorado shooting). Our union believes it is within your authority to grant continuous coverage for these dependents through age 26 (or whatever age is stipulated under current law). It is time to do the right thing for these brave individuals. Let’s work together to get it done.
Teamsters Local 1932