The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 14, 2009
State still hiring despite deficit and furloughs

The State Personnel Board has a handy-dandy Web tool for anyone looking for a state job anywhere in California.

It's called Geo Search, and you can see it right here.

The site displays open jobs by county statewide. I was curious: is the state hiring in these tough times?

I thought there would be no vacancies and no hiring, given that the state is running out of cash and eyeballing a stinker of a $45 billion budget deficit.

 So wrong.

In Sacramento County, there are 1,600 state jobs open, many of the advertisements for them including a declaration that the position is exempt from the state hiring freeze. 

Yes, that was 1-6-0-0.

Ditto for Los Angeles (181 open jobs), Fresno (83 open jobs), Napa (78 open jobs) Solano (62 open jobs), Yolo (49 open jobs) and San Francisco ( 44 open jobs).

Sutter, Yuba, Placer and Eldorado counties show postings for another 22 vacant jobs.

How can this be?.

Lynelle Jolley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration, thinks that some of those jobs probably won't be filled.

Some agencies are loathe to take down their job advertisements because they want to build a file of resumes they can tap when the economy and state's finances improve, she said.

Like any other workplace, though, there are defections to other agencies and state worker departures to private sector or other jobs. 

 There are retirements, too, though the 401K declines that some state workers saw in their accounts during 2008 have put a lot of those plans on hold, Jolley added.
.
"Even during furloughs and layoffs, there are certain jobs that you have to fill," Jolley said. "Consider what you would do if six people in your ten-person shop either leave or retire?"

The Governor and Department of Finance have made it clear in their marching orders that departments and agencies may still hire, Jolley said, but noted there's a big caveat.

The departments and agencies must meet budget reduction targets and promise not to come back later to plead for more money because they've blown the budget. 

If you have a teenager or college-age student, you may know where this is going. . .

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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