The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 6, 2009
BOE's Leonard: Honor Columbus -- without day off

bill leonard.JPGBoard of Equalization member Bill Leonard may think Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furloughs miss the mark, but when it comes to Columbus Day, the former Republican state legislator agrees with the administration.

The BOE has refused to follow Schwarzenegger's furlough order. Columbus Day? Different deal, according to the "Leonard Letter" on the former Assemblyman and state Senator's personal Web site:

Despite a fairly long tradition of closing state offices in recognition of Columbus Day, if you have business to do with the state on Columbus Day, we will be open.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a flurry of dueling emails between the State Employees International Union and government supervisors. SEIU made the claim that because state employee contracts expired without formal ratification of new contracts, the previous contract --including the Columbus Day Holiday -- is still valid.

However, the Legislature got around this by passing an explicit statute in February that took away the Columbus Day holiday and this statute trumps the expired contracts. SEIU's point is still worth considering because they are correct that in the late 90s the Legislature passed a law that stated whenever a contract between the state and its workers expire the previous contract is still in force, which raises the question, how can you supersede something that never expires? In other words, this law was a really bad idea.

He then cites the amendment to the Dills Act, Government Code 3517.8.

Click the link below to read more about the Leonard's position on Columbus Day.

Then further down the page, under BOE and Legislative dates, this list (we've added the underscore for emphasis):

October 6, 2009 --- Board of Equalization meets in Sacramento.

October 11, 2009 --- Last day for Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before Sept. 1 and in the Governor's possession on or after Sept. 1 (Art. IV, Sec.10(b)(2).

October 12, 2009 --- Columbus Day (state offices will be open). Let us honor Christopher Columbus and his courageous voyage in ways other than paid holidays for state employees.

October 13, 2009 - Special Session on water and school funding begins.

November 11, 2009 --- Veterans Day

November 17-19, 2009 --- Board of Equalization meets in Sacramento.

November 26, 2009 --- Thanksgiving Day

Click here to view Leonard's Web site.

IMAGE: Bill Leonard, right with BOE member Michelle Steel / Sacramento Bee, Randy Pench, 2007

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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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