The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 11, 2009
Court Files: Firefighters sue DPA

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Our new occasional feature, Court Files, will introduce lawsuits of interest to state workers. We highlight the case, link you to the file and show you where to track developments on your own.

  • Click on the case number below to download the file. (155 pages)
  • Check for subsequent filings on the Sacramento Superior Court's document viewing page. Plug the case number into the appropriate field, click the search button and then scroll down to see a list of documents filed.

Case No. 34-2009-00036067
Filed: 03/02/2009
Petitioner: CDF Firefighters
Respondent: State of California, Department of Personnel Administration

From the court filing:

On May 14, 2008, CDFF mailed a 4th level grievance to DPA regarding the assignment of Staff Battalion Chiefs (whose work is supposed to be primarily administrative, and who work an 84-hour shift) to do the work of Field Battalion Chiefs (who do, as the name suggests, primarily "field" work, and work a 72-hour shift) in violation of past practices secured under the MOU. This dispute involves the interpretation, application or enforcement of the provisions of the MOU.

On July 15, 2008, having received no response to the 4 level grievance identified as Exhibit 2, CDFF mailed to DPA, submitting the matter to arbitration and asking DPA to contact CDFF to begin the process of selecting an arbitrator.

On January 26, 2009, having received no response to the 4 level grievance ... or to the demand for arbitration ... CDFF mailed and faxed another letter to DPA, asking for a response and specifically requesting that whoever is handling the matter for DPA contact CDFF to proceed with the arbitration.

On February 17, 2009, having received no response to any of the prior correspondence concerning this grievance and request for arbitration, CDFF mailed and faxed yet another letter to DPA (enclosing the January 26, 2009 letter), requesting a response concerning CDFF's grievance and demand for arbitration, and warning that if CDFF did not receive a response within 10 days, it would file a petition to compel

Prior to sending this February 17, 2009 letter, CDFF Chief Counsel Gary Messing spoke with Dana Manning of the DPA Office of Labor Relations, to advise him that this letter was being sent. Mr. Manning requested that he be copied on the letter so that he could hand-deliver it to the DPA Legal Division. Mr. Manning was copied on the

Subsequent to delivering the February 17, 2009 letter to DPA, Mr. Messing again contacted Mr. Manning, and informed him that we still had not received a
response from anyone in DPA.

As of the drafting of this Petition, CDFF has not received any response to any of the letters ... In fact, CDFF has not received any response whatsoever from DPA regarding this matter.

The letters from the union to DPA start on PDF page 142. Union attorneys enter the fray at page 149.


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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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