The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 14, 2008
Tell Arnold how to avoid furloughs, benefit cuts

A friend of ours who works for the state recently said that she pays $10 to $12 more for a case of copy paper through state-mandated vendors than what big box stores charge.

"I could get stuff so much cheaper at Target," she said.

The conversation reminded us of the comedy movie, "Dave," when Kevin Kline's presidential lookalike character whips out a pencil and notepad and, as high ranking federal officials squirm nervously, he rejiggers the government's finances and cuts billions in spending, all to save funding for a children's program.

Too bad government reform isn't that simple.

But let's pretend for a moment that you represent your bargaining unit in the current contract talks with DPA. Would you counter Schwarzenegger with your own cost-cutting proposals? If so, what alternatives would you suggest to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to furlough workers and pare back some benefits?

We'll start with a suggestion we've heard from a union official close to the negotiations: revive the personal leave program (for the history and details of the program, click here).

We know that state officials regularly visit this blog. Maybe an idea or two presented here could have some impact on contract talks.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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