The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 26, 2010
More furlough, minimum wage lawsuits filed

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgLet's catch up on lawsuit news.

Professional Engineers in California Government andCalifornia Association of Professional Scientists have filed a lawsuit in Sacramento to stop Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest furlough order. CalPERS and CalSTRS have jointly filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the state Supreme Court with the same aim. Here's an internal memo sent Monday to CalPERS employees from fund CEO Anne Stausboll that lays out the details:

From: CEO Mailbox
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 5:01 PM
To: Exchange Users, HQ; Exchange Users, Regional Offices
Subject: Furlough Update

Good afternoon,

Today, CalPERS filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate in the California Supreme Court.

The Petition, which was filed jointly with CalSTRS, states that in issuing the most recent furlough order, the Governor violated the separation of powers doctrine of the California Constitution, and that the furlough order is therefore void and of no legal effect. This is because the setting of wages for state employees is a function of the Legislature, not the Governor.

The Petition sets forth the unique circumstances of CalPERS and CalSTRS as special fund agencies that receive no money from the General Fund to pay their employees. The Petition states:

"This case presents the question whether, purportedly to balance the budget, the Governor of the State of California violated the separation-of-power doctrine of the California Constitution in issuing an executive order that imposed a uniform across-the-board furlough, with an intended reduction in wages, on practically all state employees -- including employees of certain agencies whose wages cannot threaten to upset the budget's balance and whose responsibilities include managing hundreds of billions of dollars in investments in global markets for millions of public employees and their families."

The hearing on the Governor's appeal of the temporary restraining order issued by the Alameda County Superior Court, and on all the other furlough cases pending before the court, is scheduled for September 8, 2010.

I will continue to keep you updated. I would also like to thank the Legal Office for their outstanding work on the furlough issue.

Anne Stausboll | Chief Executive Officer | CalPERS Executive Office

We've asked CalPERS to send a copy of its petition to us. We'll post it as soon as we receive it.

The PECG and CAPS lawsuit, filed Tuesday, contends that Schwarzenegger's minimum wage order is illegal. Click here to read it.

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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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