The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 5, 2009
Should constitutional officers' employees be exempt from furlough?

So we're working like heck on the story spinning from news today that Judge Patrick Marlettte essentially said, "No comment," when asked by the controller to explain whether the judge's court order last week meant constitutional offices fall under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough authority.

Many state workers have correctly pointed out that employees whose pay comes from outside the general fund are still being furloughed. Meanwhile UC and CSU employees aren't subject to furlough, and now it looks like about 10,000 employees under seven officials elected by statewide vote are going to work all their hours and receive full pay. We're trying to reach the Board of Equalization to see what position its board is taking.

Is it OK to furlough some employees and not others? Do you think that some workers will try to migrate over to jobs in constitutional offices to avoid the furlough? (The LAO recently suggested this sort of thing might happen if furloughs aren't evenly spread.)

Is this setting up an unfair furlough system? Or is the principle of constitutional officer independence important enough to exempt employees in those departments and agencies?

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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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