The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 10, 2009
Cal Ee-Mah? Or Cal Ee-Em-Ay? Agency takes a stand

090608 calema-logo-shield-small.jpgHere's some insight about how government brands itself and manages its image.

The California Emergency Management Agency, which was the Governor's Office of Emergency Services until Jan. 1, has rolled out its new logo on this Web page with this admonishment:

NO MODIFICATIONS PLEASE: Because it's important to maintain consistency in branding, especially since Cal EMA is such a new organization, these images should be used "as is." Do not modify or manipulate them other than to resize them proportionally as needed. Do not change colors or add additional graphics or lettering onto the logo once you've downloaded it. If you need something special, please contact the Cal EMA Office of Media Relations & Public Information ...

From there, you can go to the "Pronounce & Writing" page for coaching about correct style:

What's the Correct Pronunciation of Cal EMA?

There's been lots of questions about what we're supposed to say when we refer to our agency. Many have been saying "Kal Ee Mah," similar to the way people make reference to the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("Fee Mah").

Think of it this way. If you were going to refer to the California Environmental Protection Agency by its acronym (Cal EPA), would you say "Kal Ee Puh" or "Kal" "E.P.A." (saying each letter individually)? Most people would say each letter individually because "EPA" is not a word.

So when you refer to our agency by its acroynm (Cal EMA), the correct way to say it is "Kal" E.M.A. After "Kal," Say each letter individually. Say "Kal" (then pause) and say "Eee," "Emm," "A".

The page also discusses whether there's a space between "Cal" and "EMA." (There is.)

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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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