A workers’ compensation office will remain in the Santa Barbara area after State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson helped broker a deal with state officials to prevent all of cases at the current Goleta office from being transferred to Oxnard, as had been planned. In September, the state’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced that it would be shuttering the the Goleta branch — the only workers’ comp office in the county — and merging its caseload and employees with those at the Oxnard location, which the DIR said was roomier and less expensive. (The Goleta branch, DIR spokesman Peter Melton said, costs about $20,000 a month.)
After the September announcement, the Goleta City Council expressed concern about the closure — citing the inconvenience of the trip to Oxnard, especially for those who are reliant on public transportation, and the lack of public input — and sent an opposition letter to the DIR asking for a postponement. Jackson later stepped in to discuss the issue with DIR officials, according to a statement released by her office. The new office will be in Santa Barbara four days per week; the location, according to a statement from the DIR, has not been finalized.
“I am grateful for the hard work of the Department of Industrial Relations, who heard and understood the concerns I and others shared about the closure of the Goleta office, “ Jackson said in a statement. “I am extremely pleased that they will be keeping a presence in Santa Barbara and providing vital services to workers at a significantly reduced cost to taxpayers and the state of California.”
Under the new agreement, the Goleta office will remain open until November 18, with the Santa Barbara office opening sometime in late December. Between the closure and the opening, clients will have to use the Oxnard office.