The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 29, 2009
Blog back: Ill will, identity and integrity

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

It was a week of messenger shooting here at The State Worker blog.

May 21 Legislative Analyst: Dump SEIU contract, add a furlough day


You're invited to my party when you get laid off. As The Bee continues to hemorrhage and downsize, it's inevitable you'll experience standing in the unemployment line. Do you have a wife and kids? Better start getting them to search for jobs. It's hard to make ends meet on unemployment. So be careful of what you wish for with state workers in your biased articles as karma comes around.

A careful read of the post will reveal that we didn't express any "wish" for state worker furloughs.

I wonder does (sic) the cuts in service and pay include the legislative analyst & staff as well? Inquiring minds want to know.

LAO employees work for the Legislature and are exempt from the furlough order.

SEIU was for 1A, not against it. Please get your facts straight.

SEIU Local 1000 was neutral on Prop 1A. Meanwhile, the SEIU State Council opposed the measure and put up money to fight it. We noted the union's split position in this blog post.

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May 22 A state employee talks about negative press

So the question is, other than characterizing Dwain's e-mail as "thoughtful," what does Jon Ortiz have to say about the content of the e-mail?

Our take: Everyone brings their point of view to words. Whether writing them or reading them, it's impossible to be completely objective.

That's particularly true when it comes to what you do for a living. Journalists can be defensive about what they write. State workers can be defensive about what's written about them. It's understandable, especially if you believe the public holds your vocation in low regard.

Having said that, the blog post discussed in Dwain Barefield's e-mail made the report in question available, so anyone who cared about drilling down into the details could find more information.

As to the leanings of The Bee's coverage or its impact on state workers, we'll only comment directly on what we write: We try to be fair.

May 22 DPA releases detailed layoff counts

Thumbnail image for boy_dunce-thumb-122x299-thumb-100x245-thumb-60x147.gif

Jon--all depts. are allowed to look at vacancies in budgeted positions to determine if they are to be included in the layoff plan. This is standard procedure. After all, these positions, though unoccupied at the moment, were written into the budget. (Depts. are supposed to lose positions that are vacant for longer than a certain amount of time--180 days, I think).

You should have explained the rationale for including vacant positions.

A valid criticism. We should have included that.

May 28 Another state worker weighs in on The Bee's coverage

What makes you believe that she is a state employee other than her say so?

We've had correspondence with the e-mail's author about other state workplace matters, so we knew she works for the state. It's interesting that this same concern didn't surface over Dwain Barefield's post, since his name doesn't show up in the state worker database.

May 28 Schwarzenegger to ask Legislature for 5 percent state worker pay cut

Thanks to Jon Ortiz for the Gloom & doom journalism

We assume that state workers want to know when their top boss intends to cut their pay.

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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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