The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 22, 2010
Column Extra: More about the state's legal costs

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our Thursday State Worker column, much of what we learn in the ramp up to writing it never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes, the documents and the observations that don't make the cut.

Today's State Worker column mentions the resources spent by the state to litigate furloughs and state worker minimum wage. Taken together, furlough and minimum wage lawsuits have cost the state more than $2 million so far in outside lawyer fees and court costs -- and that doesn't include state employee staff time that could have been spent on other things.

The state can't yet pay for services rendered on July 1 or later because the litigation money comes from general fund. Since there's no general fund budget in place, there's no appropriation for this month's legal expenses.

We're working to get more information from the Department of Personnel Administration for resources spent on minimum wage litigation, which until now has been handled by its own attorneys. But we've written plenty about the administration's furlough litigation costs:

The administration has added more than a quarter-million dollars to its furlough bill since we reported the April number in, this story.

Click here, here, here and here for earlier furlough litigation cost reports, and you'll get a sense of how the bills stacked up more quickly over time as more lawsuits and appeals were filed.

Clicking this link opens a post that has a PDF of the original contract with law firm Kronick Moskovitz Tiedeman and Gerard. This August post has a copy of the contract that ran through June 30.

That contract carried a $350,000 cap, but, as this PDF image shows, the deal was amended about 9 months ago to increase the limit to $850,000. We're working on getting a copy of the contract amendment that extended the arrangement expiration date and dollar amount.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

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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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