The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 23, 2009
UPDATE: Union exec: Governor's aide said third and fourth furlough days possible

UPDATE @ 6:10 p.m.: We've heard back from the governor's office. We've inserted the response into the post in boldface type.

The Schwarzenegger administration has considered adding two more furlough days to state workers' monthly schedules, according to Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.

During an interview with The State Worker on Monday, Barcelona said that the governor's chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, had spoken to the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations before the May 19 special election. During that meeting, Barcelona told us, Kennedy "said that we're looking at four-day furloughs and massive layoffs" if voters defeated the special election initiatives that aimed to raise taxes and cap spending to close California's budget gap.

We called Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear, who confirmed with Kennedy that she had spoken to Barcelona and others. McLear said that she didn't recall talking specifically about three furlough days or four furlough days, but McLear didn't deny the possibility.

"Look, there are few direct ways that the governor can get savings," McLear said just after 6 p.m. today. "If our budget situation worsens or our revenue situation worsens and if we don't have a responsible budget solution, it is very likely that more furloughs and layoffs will be implemented."

We've put a call in to the administration seeking comment. We've not yet heard back, but we'll update this post when we do.

With the state facing a $24.3 billion shortfall, observers have speculated that Schwarzenegger's May proposal for a 5 percent across-the-board state worker pay cut -- which Democratic-controlled committees rejected last week -- was a prelude to ordering a third furlough day.

A third and fourth furlough day would double the current furlough pay reduction of 9.3 percent to 18.6 percent and save the state roughly $940 million over 12 months, extrapolating from savings estimates that the administration has put forward for the current furlough policy.

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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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