The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 29, 2009
Blog back: A link, a lousy boss and a lawsuit

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

June 19 Investigators search former State Fund board member's home, office

Why even post this with so little information?

The post contained a link to the entire story for users who wanted more details.

June 21 Sunday reading: State worker writes op-ed; unions' 'public enemy No. 1'

How are unions public enemy no. 1? Unions are the only way that workers have rights. Without unions, everyone would be a Wal-Mart greeter - No medical, dental, $8 / hour corporate slaves that can't even work a full-time week, they get 30 hours of work per week, because giving them 40 hours means they have to give benefits.

The user misread the headline, which refers to Marcia Fritz as being the unions' enemy. The apostrophe after the "s" is the tipoff. In retrospect, we could have written a better headline to avoid this understandable confusion.

June 22 Caltrans chief hits the road; Caltrans building wins design award

You will see similar migration out of State government by a large segment of the best/brightest/most talented employees. When you betray the promise of public sector employment...job security and benefits, expect a brain drain to commence. I predict that in 5-8 years, when the economy is humming along again and the boomers are retiring en masse, many state agencies will be screwed, having lost the institutional knowledge and continuity these depts depend on to function.

One of the many ironies of the current crisis is that the state knows it needs to do a better job of attracting younger workers but enacts policies -- furloughs, layoffs, threats to temporarily cut wages to the federal minimum, and the like -- that do the opposite. Our first TSW column nearly a year ago noted the state's reputation as a lousy boss. If anything, things are worse now than they were then.

June 23 Union exec: Governor's aide said third and fourth furlough days possible

Ok, so what ever happened to the law suit (sic) the Union put together to stop the furloughs? I know that this one judge here in sac.(sic) sided with GAS, but I thought that it was going up the line to another court, it's been a long time, whats going on SEIU.

The case is in Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeals. The court has not scheduled the matter for a hearing yet. You can see the register of actions taken in the case by clicking here.

A bit of a fear-mongering story by the Bee, IMHO. Why publish this now if the story is based on quotations from before the May 19th elections? You simply allow GAS the opportunity to further sabre rattle and threaten us needlessly.

A fair criticism.This was a tough call that we mulled over for quite some time. We decided that it would be better to be criticized for "fear-mongering" than living with the feeling that we held back information. Our thinking:

(1) Our source was a high-ranking union official and law enforcement officer who gave us the information on the record. We trusted his accuracy.

(2) Susan Kennedy is Schwarzenegger's chief of staff. We felt like that raised stakes and the urgency to report it, despite the lapse of time. Put it this way: If the governor had said something similar and we found out about it a month later, we'd report it. Kennedy's rank added news value to the information.

(3) Had Kennedy denied that she said a fourth furlough day is possible, we'd have reported that as well. She didn't.

June 24 State worker suggests how to fix the budget

Notice this is the one the Bee chose to put. The one that closely resembles their own agenda of course. Put the bulk of the burden on State Workers. And isn't it nice that a State Employee wrote the article.

Our "agenda" is to air interesting, provocative ideas and promote good discussion. We assume that state workers are individuals with divergent points of view. And we respect users of this blog enough to assume that they can handle ideas that don't always confirm that they already believe to be true.

Dave Massengale is right-on-target. True and accurate. Some one wake up the Schwarz....
Leave it to Jon Ortiz to post a letter from a state worker that advocates cutting his own pay but can't express it in proper English ... Oh, and isn't there a douche named after this guy?

Putting your name with your ideas requires conviction and fortitude, which is why we always appreciate TSW users willing to become one-time "guest bloggers" on this site. We're also encouraged by the fact that no matter how derogatory the comments on this blog, those users make up a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of visits to The State Worker each month.

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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