The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 10, 2011
Budget plan adds money for corrections salary, overtime

Gov. Jerry Brown's 2011-12 budget proposal provides for an "ongoing augmentation" of nearly $400 million that would go to "fully fund the salary and wages of authorized Correctional Officers, Sergeants, and Lieutenants, which is critical to ensuring that the adult institutions have the resources to pay security staff."

The deal also calls for tighter financial accounting from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

It's not clear whether the $395 million augmentation assumes a pay reduction for corrections staff like the one unpaid day per month in SEIU Local 1000's contract. The Bee's budget guru, Kevin Yamamura, has left a message with the Department of Finance to find out. We'll let you know what Finance says.

The money also would pay for "swing space beds," empty beds at prisons that allow for the flexible transfer of inmates from facility to facility. Swing space beds figure into staffing levels at prisons.

The Schwarzenegger administration virtually eliminated empty swing space beds and the staffing that went with them. But, Brown's budget says:

It is not possible to hire, lay off, and/or transfer staff continuously and rapidly enough to match population movements, and in the past the Department has retained staff in place and paid for their salaries through redirections, since funds for this purpose were not budgeted. This augmentation will provide funding for an adequate level of staff to maintain a reasonable number of empty swing space beds.

The $395 million also gooes toward medical guarding and transportation costs "that have occurred consistently from the increased usage of outside medical care," the budget summary says. Some of the money will fully fund the Office of Legal Affairs for settlements, judgments and other court-ordered costs associated with various class action lawsuits."

The funding comes with Brown's insistence that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation improve its accounting:

The Governor's Budget includes a new program structure within the Department that allows for better tracking of funding by operational area. In addition, a reevaluation of the Department's methodology for initiating allotments was undertaken to measure the appropriate level of funding needed for the institutions based upon current operational standards.

The State Worker will be working on more details about all of this in the hours and days ahead.

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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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