Had Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deliberately flouted his own Dec. 19 executive order by hiring expensive private sector lawyers to defend lawsuits that state worker unions launched to kill his administration's furlough and pay cut plan?
An SEIU representative suggested that the hiring of David Tyra and two peers from the pricey Sacramento law firm of Kronick, Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard did exactly that.
The hire, the union alleged, breached this section of the Governator's executive order:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that effective January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010, all State agencies and departments under my direct executive authority, regardless of funding source, are prohibited from entering into any new personal services or consulting contracts to perform work as a result of the furloughs, layoffs or other position reduction measures implemented as a result of this Order.
The unions filed lawsuits on Dec. 22 and thought they had the administration cold; who can hire a top gun like Tyra between Christmas and New Year's when the state is closed.
Wrong, totally wrong, says Lynelle Jolley of the Department of Personnel Administration.
The state contract with Kronick, Moskovitz was signed Nov. 1, 2008, she said.
Because there was much talk during the fall about the bad budget, union contracts and compensation issues, the department's legal unit anticipated some legal nastiness.
The unit put the contract in place in advance in case it needed extra firepower, Jolley said.