The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 3, 2009
State worker says administration wants to 'pretend that furloughs are not layoffs'

CalPERS employee J.J. Jelincic, past president of the California State Employees Association who is also running for a seat on the CalPERS Board of Administration, sent this e-mail to TSW. With his permission, we're posting it here, unedited. Jelincic is speaking for himself and not CalPERS:

GAS and DPA are showing just how much they are dealing in bad faith with both their workforce and the public.

They want to pretend that furloughs are not layoffs. They are short term layoffs for everyone. If they order "self-directed furloughs", they then try to pretend even the furloughs don't exist.

They want the UIAB and BOE to perform their "essential functions" while refusing to provide the resources to do so. They expect people to work without pay, work through their breaks and to work off the clock in order to get the work done. At EDD they are keeping extra hours while laying people off a day at a time. When they have prevented an office from closing they want the public to think it is business as usual, even if there has been a 15% reduction in staffing.

The truth of the matter is that they are asking civil servants to be enablers. They want us to permit them to provide inadequate resources. They want us to help them undermine public service. Then when service quality declines they will contract it out to their political friends at higher costs. It is the very essence of the Norquist "starve the beast" plan in action.

With the first 10% cuts the workforce really stepped up. They were willing to try to give 110%. They do care about their programs and the public we serve. Their "Thank You" was "Now take another 5% cut (and be forewarned another 5% may be coming)." It reached a tipping point. Significant parts of the workforce said I can do the improbable but not the impossible. Moral and effort both took big hits.

When special fund employees are laid off they don't help the general fund. When federally funded employees are not paid it does not help the general fund. It does take money out of the economy.

I guess Arnie's Department of Finance can't figure out that the multiplier effect works both ways. Reduced consumption leads to supplier layoffs, lower sales taxes and less tax revenue for the state. Our "action hero" needs to man up and acknowledge the harm he is doing. Harm that will last for years.

J.J. Jelincic


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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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