The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 12, 2009
Blog back: Criticism, criteria, contributions

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

We've been off work the last few days, so there's no State Worker column today -- and we have some serious catching up to do here.

Meanwhile, here's a look back at recent posts and your comments:

Oct. 21 State Fund announces interim president and CEO

So Frank made $515,000 last year, and Stewart made $57,000 last year. I'd say that would be a pretty good raise he'll get if he gets the job permanent. (Look them up in the Sac Bee data base)

The Bee's pay database records pay for calendar 2008. So, as this commenter pointed out ..

Stewart wasn't actually an employee until Oct. 2008, so the $57,000 is just for the last 3 months of the year ...


Click the following link to read more blog backs.

Oct. 23 Why DPA opposed State Fund's award plan

I wonder if jolley is being furlough also?

Lynelle Jolley, the oft-quoted spokeswoman for DPA, is subject to furloughs, as is all of the department's staff.

Many commenters saw irony in DPA's citing government code to stop State Fund's Encore! Award for all its employees, since many state workers and their unions believe that the administration is ignoring the law and the state's contractual obligations to impose furloughs.

And more than one commenter has enjoyed a "typo" with Gilb's last name.

This is a riot! So, "Dave Glib had the law on his side". Boy that is first! He's never let a little thing like the law get in this way before! HA, HA, LOL You the man glib!

Oct. 26 FTB shutting doors one hour earlier starting in November

We're always interested in new ways to look at known things. Here's a good example:

and what is going to happen when everyone who has been ordered to bank their furlough hours needs to use them up down the road? are we going to close the state for 36 business days? state employees won't HAVE to strike... arnold has already CREATED a month-and-a-half strike for us!!!

Oct. 27 A 'minimum wage' state workforce?

Hey, more hate from the Bee for State workers!! Another typical, routine day.

This is the kind of post that normally incites critics to complain that The State Worker gives too loud a voice to civil servants: an unedited e-mail from a government employee, posted with his permission, that colorfully argues that the state's policies are ruinous. We're not sure how that's "hateful" to state workers.

Oct. 28 Consumer Services secretary: No excuses for Prius debacle

Seriously why is this Yet Again in Stateworker section? Just so Tab321, and Izzy can bash state workers??? Tomorrow are going to do another story about the State Fund President wanting to give her employees award again!!??!!! who is picking the topics for this section Pete wilson? Aaron Mclear?

The blog concerns itself with news of state worker interest. Many blog users have asked for more information about government waste. While we didn't break this story -- colleague Andrew McIntosh did -- our sense from e-mails, phone calls and comments has been that people who come to this blog were interested in more details.

We don't control the comments, nor do we try to anticipate how people will react to blog posts or stories. We don't play that game. If we did, we'd be paralyzed, since every post has the potential of upset someone. Just putting out the news is effort enough.

And remember, the same comment policy that gives Tab321 and Izzy the opportunity to state their opinions gives others the opportunity to fire back -- or to criticize The Bee.

Oct. 30 Tentative furlough ruling now final

There are furloughs happening at state and other govt agencies all over the country. California is the only one with all these pending lawsuits. Why? Simple. Most other states negotiated the furloughs in good faith with union reps and they were usually a few days a year or a day a month. Only this gov decides on 36 days a year with so called emergency powers. Had he stuck with the negotiated one day furlough contract in good faith, most state workers would have been more accepting of that deal.

The commenter is correct. The only other governor to attempt furloughs by executive fiat, Hawaii's Linda Lingle, lost a subsequent union lawsuit that said the order was illegal. She then started the layoff process. The unions and the governor eventually reached an agreement.

Why does the Bee bury this article in the State worker section? The public need to see these types of articles on the front page so they can see how the governor is wasting their tax dollars, reputation and future.

We like our work to get the widest exposure possible, but it's not our call. The placement of stories online or in print or whether they run onlne only are decisions made by editors.

In this case, had the ruling changed the course of events, if the judge decided to bring some or all of the furlough cases to Sacramento, this would have been a much bigger story. But that wasn't the case, so events continue as before the ruling. The governor's loss here, while satisfying to many state workers closely following events, probably wouldn't make much difference to general readers. Hence, we assume, the editors decision to keep the play here on The State Worker blog.

Oct. 31 View all the furlough lawsuits

We received a lot of feedback on our "Furlough Fights" spreadsheet. Some folks were pleased to have the resource. Others had suggestions about how to improve it:

Also add a column for how much $$$ the State will save if they win their cases. As in the SCIF lawsuit....if GAS would have won (thrilled that he didn't) the State would have saved $0, nothing, nada!!!!
Now...can you put an approximate price tag on it? ...
This should have started right from beginning when State Worker blog was initiated.

Jon,

You need to keep up, our bloggers post the latest news before your articles are advertised. Yesterday was a good example.. The court ruling whereas Arnold gets smacked down on "streamlining" request.

P.S. Include an Accounting spreadsheet as I agree with VintageRider. Afterall, it is our money.

Good ideas, but with all the unknowns of these pending cases an "accounting spreadsheet" of furlough costs would be nearly impossible to compile.

As to the speed of the news on this blog, we count it a success when commenters contribute to reporting the news. We want users to come to The State Worker and get information from each other. We don't want the news to be limited by one person's ability to report it. It's a big government. We welcome the help keeping up with it.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com 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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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