Controller John Chiang said Tuesday he's going to restore full pay to the state correctional officers for the state government's January pay period.
Chiang and his chief attorney, Richard Chivaro, say the controller must make the move to comply with an Alameda County judge's mid-December decision in a heated furlough case pitting the governor against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.
The Schwarzenegger administration immediately declared the maneuver illegal and vowed to fight it in the courts.
The administration will file papers in the 1st District Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning to "prevent this illegal action by the controller," Department of Personnel Administration spokesman Lynelle Jolley said Tuesday night.
Jacob Roper, a spokesman for Chiang, said the controller is acting because he wishes to comply with the court decision issued by Alameda County Judge Frank Roesch and thus avoid the risk of potential future contempt-of-court charges.
Chiang plans to get his office to make changes to the state's payroll system to eliminate the pay cuts resulting from the three furlough days a month ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Roper said the controller's actions have nothing to do with with the CCPOA's generosity to his political campaigns since 2006.
CCPOA lawyers argued that state corrections officers have had three days' pay deducted from their checks every month, but were never allowed to take the time off and had no hope of taking any time off anytime soon.
Chiang's move affects only CCPOA's case, not any of the three cases in which Roesch ruled in late December.