The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 20, 2009
Blog back: Power, political endorsements and props to the governor

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

Feb. 12 The State Worker: Furloughs boost governor's muscle at bargaining table

It's a power grab...The Governor loves power...although late in his Administration...it is something he will take credit for and relish in (sic) unless he is soundly knocked on his backside...

We suspect that all elected officials by their nature tend to "love power." A willingness to wield power is a prerequisite for seeking high office. Using power once in office is part of governing.

Whether an official's actions effectively use power or abuse it is generally where disagreements arise.

Moving on ... This blog user quotes from our column and then draws a conclusion from it:

"It's a fight worth having. Someone needs to decide if a governor can run California like a CEO heading a high- tech firm in the dot-com bust."

Uhm, no kidding Ortiz again... I guess Wilson giving endorsement to Whittman (sic) was purely coincidental, or are you too afraid or uncertain to spell it out? Whittman (sic) is Ahnold all over again..

.

The commentator is seeing shadows where none exist. We have no opinion on the Meg Whitman candidacy.

Having said that, we're not convinced that a successful business career sharpens the skills a person needs to lead in a democracy, since government operates differently than a private sector company.

No one man should have this much power in a democracy.

We'll see if the courts agree, assuming that challenges to Schwarzenegger's furlough order continue.

The Bee and apparently "The State Worker" aren't aware that the State usually furloughs many of its employees from around June to February 16, in the last few years, in order to make money come out of the air ...

You're correct. We didn't know this, So please, educate us. How many workers are we talking about? A few hundred? A few thousand? Several departments or one? How much money "comes out of the air" from this policy? Specifics, please.

Feb. 13 Layoff warnings averted -- for now

Here's a rare kind word for the governor from a self-identified public employee ...

Whereas Gray Davis would've been paralyzed due to his generosity to certain unions and inability to absorb negative fallback from any cuts he would've had to make, our current governor is taking definite action. One may not agree with them but he is taking the necessary steps to force the Legislature to come up with solutions. As far as the lack of communication, it is unfortunate. However, public sector employees (such as myself) will find that private sector employees are also in the same boat when it comes to "business communications."

This disgruntled blog user opines about the state's communication problems:

... I am tired to reading what is happening with my employment in the newspaper before I hear about it from my employer. There seems to be a standard disregard for employees from the Governor and the legislature. Since I can not be sure that any of them read e-mails, evidenced by lack of response, I'd like to address them all here. After all, since all communication comes through the Sac Bee from them to us, maybe they will see it here ...

The user then expresses his disgust.

We occasionally hear stories from state workers who say using this blog gives them more information about what's going on with their jobs than what they get from their superiors.

We have it on good report that several weeks ago employees in one state unit found their access to The State Worker was blocked. Several attributed the cutoff to an administrator who became upset in a meeting when subordinates shared furlough policy information they'd read on this blog -- information that the administrator didn't know.

Some state workers figured out how to get around the block. Others protested the policy. After a few days, the filter blocking the access was removed.

Feb. 14 SEIU and administration reach tentative labor deal

The State Worker community was divided on whether the SEIU tentative agreement is a good deal:

Well done. This is an acceptable compromise. Lets's close this terrible chapter of our lives.
I read this and quite frankly laughed out loud. This is like negotiating and giving the other side the preferred method to do you in. SEIU members should feel robbed that they pay dues to this clueless organization.

Feb. 16 Layoff warning notices to go out Tuesday morning

Schwarzenegger's furlough / layoff orders have created a dilemma for state workers: Am I willing to give up some of my pay to save colleagues' jobs? Blog users weighed in:.

I'm sorry I just can't hide what I am thinking. Layoofs (sic) suck and I am sorry for those who may get laid off. (Which I doubt will happen) But I will say this. BETTER THEM THEN ME.
I for one would gladly take a one day furlough rather than get laid off. Those of you who are willing to let your co-workers get laid off so you can keep a lousy 5% should be ashamed.
I am not ashamed, I have worked for the state 33 years and in the past two years have seen everthing (sic) that I worked hard for go away with this gov. and this so called union. This happens in the private sector, it's bad that the younger workers with get laid off, but that is life.

Feb. 17 Furlough Friday rules clarified for this week

If this contract does get ratified, and therefore we will be owed one day of pay from February since the instructions are not to work, how will all this pan out? I don't believe they ultimately will say "here's your money back for that extra furlough day we made you take in February."

The SEIU tentative agreement calls for 17 furlough days in 17 months from February through June 2010. Employees covered by that deal, assuming it's ratified, will get credit for the extra "Furlough Friday" they took this month by skipping a furlough day later on.


On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



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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