The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 15, 2009
Blog back: 'Hitler,' helpful stats and a hero

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

June 4 The governor, the Web and The Bee

Ask him why he doesn't go back to Austria and leave us alone? Tell him he can go visit the ruins of Hitler's concentration camps and have a good old time.

References on this blog that cast the governor's policies toward state workers as somehow analogous to Hitler's killing of millions of Jews are shopworn overstatements that downplay the significance of the Holocaust. Analyzing the merits of policy is far more convincing than ad hominems on the governor's ethnicity.

June 4 CalPERS' issues scam alert

Another question is why is CalPERS furloughing their workers when they are not part of the general fund?

This question regularly comes up as new users come to this blog, so we don't mind revisiting CalPERS' answer. Click here to read what CalPERS CEO Anne Stausboll said to employees in March about the fund's furlough policy.

June 5 UPDATED: State Fund final ruling handed down

CASE attorney Patrick Whalen, who was on the winning side in the recent State Fund furlough lawsuit against the governor, has become something of a hero to state workers:

All of this from a STATE employed attorney who earned less than $90,000 in 2008, far less for the entire year than the fees paid by GAS to the attorneys handling this suit on behalf of the Governor defending his Order. Now tell me who is underpaid/overpaid in this scenario!! The STATE Attorney, that's who.
As the first group of attorneys to win against the Governor on this Executive Order issue, CONGRATULATIONS. I am glad the State has good attorneys on the payroll.

Actually, Whalen is a former state attorney of 19 years. He left in 2008 for a better deal in the private sector. "I was forced to put the needs of my family above the personal gratification I received from serving the public," he told us in an e-mail.

June 8 SEIU says Schwarzenegger's transparency plan flawed

Posting raw numbers does nothing except give a running total of outsourced work. What is needed is a breakdown of what the contract covers and why state workers are unable/unqualified to produce the product/service contracted for. Until that happens, all Arnie is doing is rattling off numbers without context.

The "why" behind vendor contracts is the source of unending debate. Still, it would be helpful if departments developed a basic set of criteria included with posted contract data that explained the rationale for contract decisions. Is that possible? Or are contract decisions too nuanced and case-by-case to explain them succinctly and consistently across California's vast bureaucracy?

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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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