The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 20, 2009
Another way to layoff, furlough state workers?

Among the hundreds of e-mails we've received in the last few days comes this one from a Corrections and Rehabilitation employee. With his permission on condition of withholding his last name, we offer his unedited e-mail here for your consideration and comment:

From: Michael

Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009
To: Ortiz, Jon - Sacramento
Subject: State Lay-Offs

I agree that the state needs to do some cut backs and lay offs may be imminent, but the way they are currently doing the lay-offs is unfair. Just because someone has seniority doesn't mean that they have a better work ethic or more productivity of their work. Having just under 2 years with the state myself, I am constantly worried about my job. Its not fair, to know that I am working twice as hard as another "civil servant" who has been working for years. That person is merely here because it is to hard to fire them.

The state needs to work out something with the union to fire the "stereotypical" state worker. They are out there, but you're not going to find them merely through laying off the least senior workers.

Why not give managers more of a right to do their job and cut the fat. If a worker is doing a sub par job, let the manager give them write-ups and if you get a certain amount of write-ups in a certain date range, then well you're fired. I mean if you do that a couple of things will happen. One, its easier to fire crappy workers and that will save the state money and two, people will be scared of losing their jobs so their productivity will go up.

It's in no way a short term solution, but it will weed out those "lazy, stereotypical state workers."

Also, in regards to furloughs, why do a blanket furlough for everyone in the state? Here is an idea, for workers making 50,000+, furlough 1 day, workers making 100,000+ furlough them 2 days, and for those making 200,000+ furlough them 3 days.

When people make more money and a small portion is taken out, they can still put money into the economy, however when you take roughly 10% out of those who don't make a lot, it just takes money away from being spent in the economy and puts those in hard times.

What's going on now doesn't make sense, and there are obviously more rational solutions that what are being done and those which are proposed. I am just curious, what do you think? Do you think I am way of base?

Thanks for your time.

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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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