The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 21, 2009
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April 30 Cost of retired state worker health, dental care puts California at risk

Who is Andrew McIntosh, and why does he fan the fires of anti-labor hatred?

090522 McINTOSH.jpgAndrew, pictured right, kept the blog active while we were on vacation. He's an award-winning investigative journalist who recently he won a Best of the West general reporting award and recognition by the Society of American Business Editors & Writers for his reporting on the dangers of nail guns.

Did he post the blog item simply to "fan the fires of anti-labor hatred?"

We'll answer the question with a few of our own: Should this blog ignore news about the rising costs of state worker benefits? What about state worker fraud and abuse stories? Nepotism? Or stories that put lawmakers or the governor in an unflattering light? Is our obligation to report the news as best we can, or filter it based on who it might offend, inflame or support?

It's interesting that the day after Andrew reported on state worker health care costs, he posted this item:

May 1 Contracts in place for drugs, supplies to fight H1N1 virus

Excellent reporting!!! It is a good thing to read about state services responding so quickly to emerging public health challenges. These contracts demonstrate foresight competence does exist within the state bureaucracy.

May 12 SEIU Local 1000 members stage protest at Niello auto dealership

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Niello.JPGThese two takes represent the wide range of reaction to car dealer/Assemblyman Roger Niello (at right) and his role in leading the Republican resistance to the SEIU Local 1000 labor pact:

OK my next car is coming from a niello (sic) dealership. He voted for the budget deal despite it being practically GOP suicide. He was completely correct in stalling the ratification of any contract pending the adoption of the revenue streams it was based on. Failure to do that could only result in more lost state worker jobs in his district if the deal is not passed by voters and we start cutting programs. He has the brains to know his district needs a state budget and the wisdom to minimize the downside damage of it falling apart.
I would just go into any one of his dealerships, pick out the priciest model, let the saleperson drool over the pending purchase and his / her commission, meanwhile they are prepping the car, filling the paperwork, pulling the from inventory...and when it comes times to sign -- walk out to the bathroom and then off the lot ...

A juvenile prank that, unlike legitimate protests, would make no statement other than a comment on the prankster's cowardice and immaturity.

May 12 Schwarzenegger looking at state workforce cuts

The governor telegraphed that layoffs were coming, spurring charges like this one:

... Arhnold (sic) and crew never had any intention of bargaining in good faith. This is about breaking the union. No doubt about it.

That elicited this response:

"This is about breaking the union." It's so embarrassing to be associated in any way with people that think this way. Breaking the union is a total non-issue, $22B in the hole is a serious issue. All it takes is two neurons to rub together to understand this, and only one if you happen to be invested in CA debt.

Speculation over the governor's feelings about unions aside, this user made points that turned out to be prophetic, given the departments and job classes targeted last week for layoffs:

An interesting thing to keep in mind about State worker cuts, many Departments are funded with federal funds or by revenue generating activities (licensing, certification, inspections, etc) . Those state workers salaries are paid with federal funds or by the licensing fund. Cutting those workers does not help the General Fund in any way. Also, the Feds usually put a "maintenance of Effort" clause to their funding. so if you cut General fund from a program or department the feds fund, they will reduce their allocation by a similar amount. So cutting General fund in primarily federally funded agencies could lose total dollars and support for California. Also it doesn't make much sense to me eliminate positions that generate money for the state.

Another user pointed out that SEIU Local 1000 sold its members on their most recent contract -- which includes one furlough day per month -- in part by raising the specter of layoffs, deeper pay cuts and hits to benefits if the rank-and-file failed to ratify the deal.

Well is anyone surprised by this, well the UNION, because they can't see beyond one month. Everyone saw this coming that works for the state. Arnold was never going to hold to the 5% cut and no layoffs, but the UNION bought it big time ...

IMAGES: Andrew McIntosh / Sacramento Bee file photo; Roger Niello / sacbee.com, Hector Amezcua

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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