The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 17, 2009
Blog back: Lawsuits, lackeys and language

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

April 9 The State Worker: Furlough fight enters new phase

Remember, at best, you get what you pay for. What people have not been told is that California is 47th out of the 50 states in the number of state workers per capita. It is a fact. This is from U.S. Federal Labor Bureau statistics. So, when any state-related interaction is unsatisfactory to you, remember you are essentially paying for last-place service.

The blog user is referring to data we mentioned in this October blog post. You can click here to view comment on the data from the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

April 14 Court files: Game warden sues State Personnel Board

Please explain why this particular gem is blog worthy?

We thought highlighting the court filing might spark discussion about state employee suspensions, the role of SPB in disciplining workers and whether the punishment was too severe. Workplace discipline is a topic that interests state workers. This post was one way to approach it.

It is nonsense like this that makes all state employees look so bad to public opinion. I am embarassed.

The state can come off poorly in these sorts of legal actions, too, as was the case in this lawsuit against DPA.

April 15 Information Office establishes new tech project policies

We mentioned that the redundantly titled Office of the Chief Information Officer took acronym use to a new level in recent policy announcements. One is called California Project Management Methodology (CA-PMM). Blog users JIWTOO (Jumped In With Their Own Observations):

Well all is not lost! There ARE items in ITPL-0901 that haven't been converted to acronyms! I don't understand why they don't call CA-PMM "CAP 'EM" (which would stand for California Capital Efficiency Methodology) - Oh yeah, that wouldn't fit their model since stating California Management implies Efficiency in any manner would be a stretch ...

This heavily acronymed post added a link to AAWM (An Announcement We Missed):

Add one more ITPL adding the NASCIO methodology and adopting the FEA as the standard EA. OMG!

April 15 CASE wins SCIF furlough lawsuit

The news that CASE had prevailed in its furlough lawsuit prompted some state workers to congratulate the victors:

Congratulations CASE ... I wish I belonged to your union and department.

Others weren't so thrilled:

(M)ust be nice to be in the "ivory tower" and not get furloughed!!! What kind of cr*p is this?!?!!!!
Dummy Arnold and his DPA lackies (sic). Don't they check things out before they make knee jerk decisions? Obviously not.

The post assumes that the various branches and departments in California state government agree on furlough policy. But many state workers know that dissent often happens behind closed doors and then, once a decision is made, it's left to those who must carry it out to do so without complaint.

In what sense was this ruling unexpected? From the Bee's point of view? That's not saying much.

CASE attorney Patrick Whalen told us shortly before we posted the blog item that that he and other lawyers had expected Judge Peter Busch to hear arguments and then rule later. Instead, he ruled from the bench. We should have mentioned that in the post.

This comment lays out many of the issues that SCIF must now hammer out:

Will SCIF now reimburse each employee for the loss of pay? Will they include interest? What about the time? Will they try to force each employee to 'give back' the time by declaring used days as vacation or sick time? (I see a revolt if they even try that one). What about the SEIU employees who have been virtually forced into ratifying a contract that voluntarily takes one day furlough (assuming it passes)? Will they still take the one day? Will the SCIF / SEIU employees still be exempt? Surely they are exempt from the forced furlough, but now it's in their contract?

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on 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


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