Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met with agency secretaries and department directors Monday afternoon to personally deliver a message: Stop hiring.
The 4 p.m. meeting came after The Bee reported that the size of the state work force overall remained essentially flat from January 2009 through June of this year, although full-time hires were roughly half the number of employees who retired.
The 18-month period analyzed by The Bee included 17 months that state workers endured furloughs ordered by the governor that reduced their hours and pay by a total of 46 working days.
Schwarzenegger called the meeting "to reiterate that we should not be hiring unless absolutely necessary," said the governor's spokesman, Aaron McLear.
Departments were directed to cut their personnel budgets by 5 percent earlier this year and most have met that goal. But meeting that target doesn't mean departments have a green light to hire.
"The point isn't to just get to the (reduction target) and then start hiring," McLear said. "The point isn't to just maintain the current level of employees. The point is to shrink."