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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« June 2004 | | August 2004 »
July 31, 2004

Budget done

Schwarzenegger signs the budget after using his line-item veto to trim about $40 million. With the spending plan put to bed, the governor plans to turn his attention to a massive overhaul of state government proposed by a panel he appointed in January.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:28 PM



Far and wide

bodybuilders.bmp

According to the blog Baghdad Dweller, these Iraqi bodybuilders are celebrating the 57th Birthday of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:21 PM



July 26, 2004

Enjoy the DNC

Blogging here will be extremely light this week.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:41 AM



July 22, 2004

Gov's ratings dip in new poll

From a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California:

--Schwarzenegger's approval rating is down since the PPIC's last poll, with 57 percent approving and 29 percent disapproving of his performance as governor. In May, 64 percent approved.

--Bush's numbers are 40-54, and Kerry leads him 49-38 with 5 percent for Nader.

--Sen. Barbara Boxer leads Bill Jones, 52-37.

Also, a number of interesting findings on environmental issues, which were the primary focus of the poll. Californians of all political persuasions continue to be quite green.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:00 AM



July 21, 2004

Lots of juice

Californians, for the third day in a row, set a record Wednesday for peak electricity usage, according to the California Independent System Operator, which runs the electrical grid. The state used 44,360 megwatts at 4:18 pm, breaking Tuesday's record of 44,330. The previous record was 43,609, set July 12, 1999. The ISO forecasts hot temperatures and high usage for the remainder of the week but says the state should have all the electricity it needs to keep the power on.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:45 PM



When do the TV ads begin?

The California Teachers Assn. has just fired a shot across the bow of the local government coalition -- and the governor. The cash-rich CTA, in a statement from union president Barbara Kerr, pledges to oppose "any measure that provides stronger protections for local governments than those provided to the public school children of California."

Posted by dweintraub at 4:48 PM



Lonely in the center

The governator is back in the building, having campaigned for his budget and the Republican way at a noon-time rally at a San Diego shopping center. Schwarzengger’s recent angry turn has many in the Capitol wondering whether he will decide to campaign all out this fall for Republican candidates for the Legislature, including those running in districts in which Democrats will be running for reelection.

I still think not. Here’s why: should Schwarzenegger succeed in taking out a Democrat or two, his relations with the Legislature probably wouldn’t improve much. They might even worsen. Despite all his rhetoric about big spenders, Schwarzenegger is at heart a centrist. He likes government and is happy to see it grow, though, perhaps, he would like to see it grow slowly enough to allow tax receipts to catch up with it. His beliefs on social issues and the environment, meanwhile, are squarely in the Democrat mainstream. His problem is that the Democrat lawmakers who are most vulnerable, who he might be able to challenge and unseat, also tend to be centrists. They are his natural allies. And if he defeats them, chances are the Republicans replacing them will be to the governor’s right on most issues. Which could actually make his job more difficult. If the gov really is peeved by the Legislature, look for him to put his energies instead into a reform agenda, perhaps redistricting reform, as a way to add more moderates from both parties and reduce the influence of the far right and the far left that gives him so much trouble.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:20 PM



The law of the playground

Carol Platt Liebau on the "girlie man' flap, in the Orange County Register. She hopes it's a sign that Schwarzenegger has learned he will never get very far making nice with Democrats.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:20 AM



July 20, 2004

Report: deal near on school contracting issue

AP is reporting that Assembly leaders and the governor have reached a "tentative agreement" on the contracting out issue. The story quotes Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy saying that the deal would allow districts to contract with private firms while still preserving workers wages and benefits. Details to come.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:54 PM



Senator: Judge rips prison contract changes

Sen. Jackie Speier is reporting this morning that the federal judge overseeing reform of the state prison system has sent a letter to Schwarzenegger expressing concerns about the terms of the renegotiated contract agreed to by the governor and the correctional officers.

According to Speier, Judge Thelton Henderson wrote that the changes represent "non-compliance" with his orders for internal reform, and he added that if "California is no longer willing to manage the necessary corrective actions, I must consider the appointment of a receiver over the CDC to bring California's correctional system into full compliance with the Court's orders."

Posted by dweintraub at 10:36 AM



Kumbaya, My Friends...

"You can't go kick somebody in the groin and then say, 'Come, let us reason together, come let us do this, let us join hands and sing 'Kumbaya.' It doesn't work that way in life. It doesn't work that way in politics and it doesn't really work that way in the Capitol."

--Senate Leader John Burton of San Francisco, responding to Gov. Schwarzenegger's depiction of Democratic lawmakers as "girlie men."

Budget talks stalled Monday but are expected to resume in private today, with the focus on the governor's call for freeing school districts to contract with private companies to provide bus transportation and other services. Schwarzenegger has no rallies planned.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:35 AM



July 19, 2004

Local pension woes, cont.

Orange County is the latest local agency to face a serious underfunding of its pension plan. Thanks to a combination of benefit increases and lower than projected investment returns, the county pension agency is looking at a $1 billion unfunded liability. The story is in the Los Angeles Times.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:26 PM



July 17, 2004

Arnold: Lawmakers are 'girlie men'

Schwarzenegger revved up an Ontario rally with a slap at the manhood of members of the Legislature and a vow to lead an Election Day revolt if the Democrats don't pass his budget.

"If these guys won't do the job, I'm going to announce each of you a terminator," Schwarzenegger said in reference to his well-known action film. "Nov. 2 is judgment day. That's when you go to the polls."

Here is the AP story in the Chron.

And here is a take from radio commentator Hugh Hewitt, who emceed the rally for Schwarzenegger.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:05 PM



July 16, 2004

Arnold to take licking

Schwarzenegger's likeness will soon appear on a postage stamp -- in his native Austria.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:28 PM



On the road again...

The latest Schwarzenegger road show to pressure the Legislature on the budget begins today in Long Beach and is scheduled for Ontario on Saturday and Stockton on Sunday.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:01 PM



Arnold and the tribe$

Here's another story saying Schwarzenegger might start taking campaign contributions from Indian tribes, breaking the pledge he made during last year's campaign. Supposedly, he needs to take money from some of the tribes that are now his allies to help fight two measures on the November ballot that would expand gambling and undermine the compacts he recently signed with five tribes. But why does Schwarzenegger have to personally raise and control that money? Wouldn't he better off simply serving as the spokesman for the campaign, making public appearances, even having input into the strategy, while others take responsibility for raising and spending the money? After the huge issue he made of his oponents taking Indian money last year, Schwarzenegger would deal a major blow to his own credibility if he were to now do the same.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:48 AM



July 15, 2004

'We are at a sticking point'

Not much new from Schwarzenegger. He says he is willing to stay as long as it takes to accomplish his priorities in the budget, including repealing or at least rolling back two laws passed last year by the Legislature and former Gov. Gray Davis: a measure making it easier for employees to sue their employers and one that limited the ability of school districts to contract with private firms to provide public services.

Schwarzenegger:

“I will stay here until 2006. I will stay here and I will stay here and I will stay here. And I will fight like a warrior for the people of California. And there is no one that can stop me. And anyone that pushes me around, I will push back. Including the Democrats. And the special interests. Trust me."

A few minutes after the press conference ended, the governor's staff announced that he plans to campaign publicly Friday for his budget -- in Southern California.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:22 PM



Budget developments

The governor is holding a hastily called news conference at 5:15 pm to discuss the budget.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:06 PM



'You can do anything with children if you will play with them'

That's George Will, quoting Bismarck, and describing how Schwarzenegger has built relations with the Democrats who control the Legislature. Will, who opposed the recall as an excess of democracy, still isn't sold on the new governor or California's infatuation with the ballot box.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:28 AM



Who wants what?

It's sometimes hard to keep track of all the moving parts in the local government finance debate. This release from Sen. Chuck Poochigian, beneath the spin, includes a clear chart that details how the three most recent proposals differ. The breakdown covers the governor's original deal with the locals, his latest offer and the Democrat alternative.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:37 AM



July 14, 2004

DOF: June revenues up slightly

The Department of Finance report on June revenues isn't as rosy as the picture painted the other day by Controller Westly. This is often the case as the two agencies use different methods of tracking the money coming in. Finance says general fund revenues were $373 million above the monthly forecast of $8.1 billion.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:51 PM



Incentives

The New York Times reports that the new federal drug benefit is expected to lead employers to cut back on the insurance they give their retirees. Is that a surprise? The Medicare drug benefit was supposedly designed as an incentive for private employers to provide pharamceutical coverage. But that is difficult to do. Every government benefit ever created has been an incentive for people to stop doing for themselves whatever it is the government is offering to do on their behalf. Any rational employer who looks at the new drug benefit would be inclined to turn the company's retirees over to the feds rather than continue to pay for the benefit out of corporate coffers. You'd have to be a very crafty author to write a law that would overcome that kind of inertia. It's starting to look as if no such wordsmith was behind the Medicare prescription benefit.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:49 PM



Food for thought

This AP story in The Bee raises important questions about the possible introduction of agricultural pests into California if plans go forward to allow expansion of Mexico's avocado sales in the United States. But it also has an interesting twist on free trade. The California avocado producers who have the most to fear from Mexican imports actually think that they might benefit in the long run. How? The Mexican fruit, by flooding the market, could make avocados a staple in other parts of this country the way they have become in the southwest. And that, in turn, would create more sales for the domestic farmers.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:13 AM



July 13, 2004

Full court press -- for this?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and local government officials plan a full-court PR offensive Wednesday on behalf of their latest proposal for shifting local money to the state for two years and then blocking future such transfers.

Schwarzenegger today e-mailed hundreds of officials from around the state, calling on them to support the latest framework. And on Wednesday, officials in San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Jose will hold press conferences to try to bring pressure on the Legislature to side with the governor.

The framework supported by Schwarzenegger would not only prevent the state from taking local government money in the future, it would also lock in the distribution of property tax and sales tax – and all future growth – for each city, county and special district in the state.

So the governor who promised to attack California’s long-term, structural problems has abandoned that goal in this case in exchange for a couple billion dollars of short-term help with his budget problems. California needs a major overhaul of its entire system for financing state and local government. As part of such a reform, it might make sense to give the locals protection from future, arbitrary changes in the distribution of tax revenue. But instead of leading that discussion and using his power and popularity to enact it, Schwarzenegger is grabbing his $1.3 billion for two years and then trying to lock a dysfunctional system into the constitution.

The negotiations over this deal have gotten downright wacky. The latest proposal includes a complicated, convoluted series of conditions for when the Legislature could shift local money to the state via loans. Twice in ten years. No more than $1 billion each time. Declaration of emergency. Each loan must be repaid before another is made. This is nutty. They are talking about $2 billion in a state budget picture that would total at least $800 billion over a 10 year period. Why bother?

It would be far better to give the locals the iron-clad protection they seek – in exchange for a complete, rational overhaul of the entire system that fixes disincentives, connects responsibility for revenues to the spending of those revenues, and gives local governments a greater ability to raise money for their own programs, with voter approval. All of these things Schwarzenegger supports in principle. But he is not willing to fight for them, at least not now.

He has lost the chance to do that this year. There isn't time with the budget hanging in the balance.

So maybe the governor should just take the $1.3 billion, as he proposed in January, and let the locals make the case for their own ballot initiative, Proposition 65, in November. If that’s what voters want to do, then we’re stuck with it. But if it fails, then he can bring everybody back to the table on Nov. 3 and work on a true reform worth putting his prestige behind, and one that creates a legacy on this issue of which he could be proud.

Here is a copy of the latest framework.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:46 PM



Trading "a dime for three nickels"

That's how the correctional officers union views its recent deal with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to this piece in the LA Times. The article details the benefits that union members got in exchange for agreeing to defer part of their salary increase for a few months: more paid time off for union bosses, better health benefits, access to videotapes showing prison violence (to use for public relations purposes) and the big one: the right of middle management supervisors to dictate their own schedules to upper management, subject only to seniority, the way rank and file guards already do.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:53 AM



July 12, 2004

Westly: June revenues robust

The controller and the Department of Finance are not always on the same page, mathematically speaking, but Controller Steve Westly is reporting today that state revenues for June were well above the forecasts in the May Revision.

Westly says revenues for the month were $8.8 billion, which he says is nearly 10 percent above the forecast. He said retail sales and use taxes were 28 percent above the forecast (this kind of discrepancy can be a sign of accounting glitches), income taxes were 2.8 percent higher than projected, and corporation taxes were 7.1 percent higher.

For the 03-04 fiscal year, total general fund tax revenues were $75.5 billion, a 9.7 percent increase from the prior fiscal year, Westly said.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:27 PM



Local pensions busting the bank

More and more local governments are struggling to pay the increased pension benefits they have given workers in recent years.

The LA Daily News, continuing its aggressive coverage of this issue, reports that nearly 1200 retired LA County employees receive pensions of more than $100,000 a year.

The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, reports that CalPERS has approved plans for at least eight local governments to defer their contributions to the retirement fund in the coming year.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:40 AM



July 9, 2004

The trials of Isis

The saga over Education Secretary Richard Riordan's bizzare comments to a 6-year-old girl keeps getting stranger. Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, a Democrat from Compton, was calling for Riordan's resignation because he thought the girl Riordan humiliated -- who is named Isis -- was black. Once he learned she was white, Dymally backed off. Huh?

"To err is human; to forgive is divine," Dymally said in a statement. "I have requested a meeting with Secretary Riordan to further discuss the issue."

Posted by dweintraub at 11:11 AM



July 8, 2004

No budget til Monday, at least

Legislators left for their districts and the governor prepared to go to Austria -- to attend the funeral of the late president -- while their staffs negotiate in search of an agreement to end the budget deadlock. Here is an AP report.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:58 PM



Appeals court to hear open primary case

A state Court of Appeal has granted a hearing to the backers of the open primary initiative on the November ballot who are challenging the validity of Proposition 60, the competing measure drafted by the Legislature in an attempt to kill the open primary proposal.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:22 PM



Coast clear

The California Coastal Records Project, the folks who posted thousands of photos of the coast online and drew the ire, and lawsuit, of Barbra Streisand, have just expanded their site to include archive shots from 1972. You can now compare a spot along the coast today to what it looked like 30 years ago. Check it out here.

My sons took surfing lessons here two weeks ago. Anybody recognize the spot?

santa cruz.jpg

Here is the same spot, a few hundred feet up the coast, in 1972.

santa cruz 72.jpg

Posted by dweintraub at 10:23 AM



How Bush could respond to Lay charges

This SF Chronicle piece says the Ken Lay indictment hands Kerry a juicy issue. But does it? Lay, of course, was a big supporter of George W. Bush, among others (Ann Richards, Gray Davis, etc). But couldn't Bush smash this one right back over the net if, rather than ducking questions about his old pal, he came out loud and bold and said:

"I hope the indictment of Mr. Lay sends a message across the land that business leaders who break the law aren't safe from prosecution by my administration. Even if they were among my biggest supporters. A free market can't function if people are commiting fraud, and we intend to make sure that anyone who does so pays the price for it. I'm sorry to see my old friend end his career this way. I'm saddened that he went wrong. But that's just the way it goes. Sometimes people you thought were good do bad things. And when they do, I believe they have to pay the consequences."

End of story.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:48 AM



July 7, 2004

CNN says Ken Lay indicted

CNN is reporting that former Enron Chairman Ken Lay has been indicted by a grand jury.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:44 PM



All over the map, and ballot

Taking an unusually activist role on the ballot measures in the November election, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the official ballot arguments in favor of one proposition and against three others. Schwarzenegger will support Proposition 69, which would expand the collection of DNA from criminal suspects and convicted felons. He opposes two measures that would expand casino gambling -- Propositions 68 and 70. And he opposes Proposition 66, the measure to limit the reach of California's Three Strikes sentencing law.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:15 PM



Violent crime down, property crime up

The rate of violent crime in California fell in 2003 while property crime increased slightly, led by a large jump in motor vehicle theft, according to a new report from the California Department of Justice.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:15 AM



July 6, 2004

Bad sign

The Contra Costa Times reports that the number of welfare recipients is climbing again in the East Bay after years of declining caseloads.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:30 AM



July 5, 2004

This was inevitable

At a meet and greet at a Mexican restaurant in Dixon today, Schwarzenegger was recognized by the 5-year-old grand daughter of the city's mayor.

"You are the kindergarten cop!" said Ashley Everett.

"I am the kindergarten cop," the governor replied, "And you know something, nothing changed, because that's what I am in the Capitol still. I have 120 children."

He also said the legislators need "a time out."

Posted by dweintraub at 10:44 PM



A way out for the gov

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in a bind. His proposal to take $2.6 billion from local governments over two years – then return to the status quo and lock it into the constitution – has run into opposition from Democrats in the Legislature. Some don’t like the deal because it would condemn the state to a dysfunctional distribution of local tax revenue. Others don’t like it because it would give city and county revenues more protection in the constitution than even the schools now have, meaning health and welfare and higher education would be first to the chopping block the next time state finances head south. The governor came close last week to negotiating an alternative with Democrats but found himself chewed out by a bipartisan group of mayors on a testy conference call, then retreated. Now both sides are mad at him.

Maybe it’s time for Schwarzenegger to go back to square one on this issue. His original sin was in delegating a very important matter to staff members without insisting that they aim high, for the historic reform of state and local finance that was within his reach. Instead, he appears to have told them to do whatever it took to get $1.3 billion a year for two years from the locals and buy peace with them over the long term. Unlike on other major issues he has faced, his bond and balanced budget plan, for instance, or workers compensation, Schwarzenegger doesn’t seem to have deeply engaged personally in the nuances of the local government issue. And now he is paying the price.

Schwarzenegger probably could use brute force to get his original plan through, if legislative leaders would put it up for a vote. But if he’s smart, he’ll instead go back to his allies and tell them to negotiate a fair deal with opponents. The best outcome would be for him to find a way to swap a bit of sales tax for property tax without hurting local governments, giving them less incentive to swoon over big-box grocery stores and other sales tax generators. Even that modest change would be historic, and help prove that Schwarzenegger is serious about solving some of the state’s intractable problems. Remember, this is not just a Democrat issue. Libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Assemblyman John Campbell of Irvine and Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby support the policy. But Schwarzenegger can’t do it without facing down his new friends in the city lobby, who refuse to negotiate on anything, anywhere, anytime.

If he could get real reform, Schwarzenegger could then argue more strongly for locking the new formulas into the constitution. The locals would get their protection, while people concerned about the distribution of sales tax and property tax would get their reform. Schwarzenegger would deservedly get credit for doing something that no other governor has been able to accomplish.

If he can’t or won’t go that far, then the next best thing would be a plan that protects local revenues in the aggregate while leaving open the possibility for future reform. That’s not really progress. But it’s better than the ballot measure that local government officials have qualified for November.

Schwarzenegger has shown himself a master at finding political victory in strange places. All he has to do to record his biggest win yet is to admit he made a mistake, step back from his destructive alliance with city officials and cut a deal that would be good for the entire state, not just one very vocal interest group.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:48 PM



Firefighter bennies near 60% in LA

In LA County, it now costs nearly $60 in benefits for every $100 in salary paid to firefighters. As a result, it's cheaper to pay overtime -- at time and a half -- than to hire new firefighters to relieve manpower shortages, says this story is in the Daily News.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:35 AM



July 2, 2004

Gov names 8 to CSU board

Schwarzenegger has appointed five Democrats and three Republicans to openings on the CSU Board of Trustees.

They are:

Jeffrey Bleich, a partner in the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, as well as an adjunct professor at the Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley. He is a Democrat.

Herbert Carter, past president of California State University, Dominguez Hills and a special consultant to the California State University. He is a Democrat.

Carol Chandler, a partner in Chandler Farms and a former instructor at Fresno City College. She previously served on the University of California Board of Regents and has been involved for over 25 years in California Women for Agriculture. She is a Republican.

Moctesuma Esparza, executive producer of Esparza/Katz Productions and chief executive officer MAYA Cinemas of North America, Inc. He is a Democrat.

George Gowgani, former associate dean of the College of Agriculture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He is a Republican.

Raymond Holdsworth, former president of the California Chamber of Commerce, now oversees AECOM's worldwide companies. He is a Republican.

Melinda Guzman-Moore, a partner in the law firm of Goldsberry Freeman Guzman & Ditora where she practices business, tort, labor, and employment law. She is a Democrat.

As student member: Corey Jackson, a junior at California State University, San Bernardino, Jackson, 22, is a Democrat.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:06 PM



Governor names two to Regents

Schwarzenegger has just appointed his financial adviser, Paul Wachter, and a leading Central Valley businessman, Fred Ruiz, to the UC Board of Regents.

Watcher, who is Schwarzenegger's personal financial adviser and manager of his blind trust, is the president and CEO of Main Street Advisors, which he founded in 1997. He is not registered to any political party.

Ruiz, according to the governor's office, founded Ruiz Foods with his father in 1964, and the company has become a leading manufacturer of prepared frozen Mexican dishes and the largest employer in Tulare County. He is a Republican.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:52 PM



The missing link

According to the firm's web site, 5.5 percent of the Carlyle Group, one of the primary villains alleged to have provided the Saudi-Bush link in Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11, is owned by the California Public Employees Retirement System.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:21 PM



A horse designed by committee?

The language of the proposed constitutional amendment dealing with local government finance is now circulating. This proposal is a merging of the desires of the governor to get some quick money for his budget, the desire of local governments to protect their revenue sources in the future, and the desire of local finance reformers in the Legislature to keep their options open for re-arranging those revenue sources in the future.

The proposal would shift most of the vehicle license fee to the state in exchange for shifting an equal amount of property tax to the locals. It would leave under local control VLF revenue equal to .65 percent of the value of each vehicle. This was necessary to protect the integrity of local bonds secured with that revenue source. The language does not seem to cap the fee at that level, which Schwarzenegger had proposed doing, to end the debate over whether the VLF is triggered up and down during fiscal good times and bad. So it appears that it’s a state revenue source that could be increased in the future by a vote of the Legislature, or possibly by a governor invoking the disputed trigger mechanism.

The proposal protects local property tax revenue from future state raids, unless the governor declared an emergency and the Legislature, by a two-thirds vote in each house, voted to borrow the money. Any such shifts would have to be repaid within three years.

The proposal protects the overall level of sales tax revenue that local agencies get now. But it is silent on the distribution of that tax. It does not appear to allow the state to trade sales tax for property tax in the future, even if such a trade is revenue-neutral. But it might leave the door open to some kind of change that would, for instance, distribute some of the sales tax based on population rather than the location at which it is collected.

The language says only that “revenues derived from the tax imposed under the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law…shall remain with local entities for local purposes.”

It doesn’t say those revenues must remain with the local entities where the tax is collected.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:13 AM



July 1, 2004

Deukmejian: prison system 'dysfunctional'

The governor's prison reform commisison released its report today, with more than 200 recommendations for improving an operation that former Gov. George Deukmejian described as "dysfunctional." Here is a link to the full report.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:58 PM



State's deal with gaurds disclosed

The worst kept secret in Sacramento -- the modestly renegotiated labor agreement between the state and the correctional officers -- was made official this afternoon. Here is the press release from the Department of Personnel Administration described the reworked deal, which is supposed to save the state $108 million over two years.

The Department of Personnel Administration announced today that it has reached agreement with the correctional officers union over wage concessions saving the State $108 million over the next two years.

“Our agreement with the correctional officers provides much-needed relief to California’s budget,” said DPA Director Michael T. Navarro. “We commend the union for its cooperation in helping us achieve the twin goals of fiscal responsibility and good-faith bargaining.”

State correctional officers, whose current contract was negotiated in 2001, were due to receive a 10.9 percent pay raise July 1, 2004. Under the agreement with Governor Schwarzenegger, 5 percent of that raise will be delayed until January 1, 2005, and 0.9 percent will be delayed until June 30, 2006. The contract expires July 2, 2006.

The agreement by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association to accept a smaller raise for the first six months of the fiscal year will reduce the contract’s cost by $63 million in 2004-05. Deferring the remainder of the increase until 2006 cuts an additional $20 million of the contract’s cost in 2005-06. In addition, the State will reduce its contribution to the officers’ deferred compensation fund in 2005-06, lowering the contract’s cost by another $25 million.

In return for CCPOA’s agreement to delay salary increases, DPA agreed to a handful of other contract changes with a combined 2-year cost of $1.8 million. One such change allows the union’s chapter presidents, who work at State correctional facilities, a day of paid leave each week to work on-site to resolve employee grievances, and be prepared to respond to emergencies if the need arises. The agreement also provides one-time assistance payments to employees displaced by the closure of three Youth Authority institutions.

Under other provisions of the agreement, Corrections management is granted greater flexibility to shift personnel between Youth Authority and Department of Corrections. This change would mitigate the impact of layoffs in the event they become necessary. Layoffs would not be implemented at the Department of Corrections unless the State’s inmate population drops more than 6 percent by January 1, 2006.

The State also agreed to establish a training program in partnership with local community colleges to offer instruction in subjects important to correctional officers, such as report writing and controlling blood-borne pathogens.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:39 PM



 
 

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