The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 12, 2008
Blog back: Pithy comments, privatization and personal attacks

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

Dec. 4 Billwatch: State may freeze pay for workers making more than $150K


We appreciate the brevity and precision of this comment.

Dec. 8 Schwarzenegger warns of state worker layoffs

The more functions of government that can be moved to the private sector the better. Government jobs cost tax revenue, private sector create it. Outsource the DMV, and the majority of Caltrans.

It's not clear that outsourcing saves money.

The Professional Engineers in California Government offers information, like that found in this Senate staff report: "By whatever measure is chosen, state staff are less expensive than contract-out staff."

Meanwhile, the American Council of Engineering Companies California has commissioned its own studies, like this one, that asserts: We find that in fiscal year 2006-2007, the amount that the State must pay to utilize an in-house engineer ranges from $173,434 to $209,212, while the amount paid for an outside engineer averages $193,000.

One thing is for certain .. if Arnold wanted the populace riled up, he got it. I suspect that is his point. It reminds me of that old story about a college student who writes home with all manner of catastrophe -- I got my girlfriend pregnant, my car blew up, I've got meningitis ... etc. then ends with... NOT really, I just want to borrow $100 ... that doesn't seem so bad after all the other scenarios. Let's wait and see what is said in the next few days. Wait for the 'bait and switch.'

And then there's this comment ...

I once worked for the state and ... I was also part of a hiring team for my unit. ... I do understand first hand that there is dead weight in the state but there are also just as many if not more very hard workers with the state. There needs to be because of the slugs who would rather take 20 smoke breaks and read a book while others are picking up their slack. ... I agree that they need to be removed and the system as failed to allow that but you are categorizing ALL state workers as slugs and that is a bit unfair to those that do work hard.

Well said.

Dec. 8 More public employee concessions on the way?

And, no Jon, that last little paragraph lacking any concrete facts that would've shown just how vast the difference is between county and state workers does not cut it. You still close with the presumption that there's yet MORE state workers should sacrifice.

This comment closed a two-part post that accused us of a willingness to "twist any fact, contort any action in order to spin against unions," due to an anti-union agenda on the part of the newspaper and this blog.

Perhaps we should have included relative expense percentages that illustrated the heavier burden employee wages and benefits create for local governments. We'll plead guilty to hurried oversight while rushing to put up our post.

(By the way, we took pains to highlight the facts in yesterday's State Worker column. The piece was inspired in large measure by this blog post and the reaction to it.)

Dec. 9 'State WORKERS' vs. 'State Peace Officers'

Most state workers are underpaid. We are not underpaid because others are less underpaid. I think everyone acknowledges that "the badges" have done better than most public employees over the last decade.

"The badges" have done better because those who make the political decisions have put a higher value on those who control the rift raft (sic) and protect property than on those who make this a better and more just society.

The politicians have said the highest value is not to raise taxes. They have allowed the highways to fall apart. They have withdrawn investment in the future by under funding education. They cut up the credit card and replaced it with a second mortgage and send the bill to our kids. But they have not raised taxes. And we keep reelecting them.

The golden rule is still true. He who has the gold makes the rules.

Dec. 10 A 'cubicle cowboy' sings for food

This moron could have been working, but instead he did what most state workers do, goof off and write silly songs. It is time to either put these fat losers to work or let them go find real work.

Astounding. We understand the anger directed at state workers, particularly in these difficult economic times. We don't mind critics who nail us for the occasional spelling faux pas or misplaced decimal.

But personally attacking a man who is trying to help a charity feed poor people -- and a guy who does it in a creative and entertaining fashion -- strikes us a descending to a new low.

Dec. 11 The State Worker: Job cuts make unions rethink hard line

2009, the year unions go bust and the country will finally be free from the PC life of mediocrity. Next, send all pay raises, pensions, entitlements, days off etc to the ballot. We're all tax payers and their boss's (sic).........things will change fast.

We don't see any indication that unions will "go bust" next year. In fact, things could go the other way, especially if card-check legislation is passed. President-elect Barack Obama (who, by the way, received $29.2 million in campaign support from SEIU) favors the idea.

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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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