The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 13, 2011
A.M. Reading: Doctor's sweet deal; S.D. workers losing layoff rights; Minn. protests

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifPrison doctor gets paid for doing little or nothing
Reporting from Sacramento -- The highest-paid state employee in California last year, a prison surgeon who took home $777,423, has a history of mental illness, was fired once for alleged incompetence and has not been allowed to treat an inmate for six years because medical supervisors don't trust his clinical skills. (Los Angeles Times)

CSU hikes tuition, and boosts a president's salary by $100,000
Minutes after voting to raise student tuition by 12 percent for the fall, California State University trustees on Tuesday decided the salary for a new campus president should be $100,000 greater than his predecessor's. (Sacramento Bee)

Population cap at PDC's secure area reduced
As part of Gov. Jerry Brown's call for deep spending cuts to balance the state's books, the population cap at the Porterville Developmental Center's (PDC) secure treatment area will see a 23 percent reduction over the next fiscal year. (Porterville Recorder)

CalSTRS turned a 20% profit in fiscal 2010-11
CalSTRS, still trying to recover from the market crash of 2008, earned a 20 percent profit on its investments in the just-ended fiscal year. But the staff of the teachers' pension fund warned that it will be tough to duplicate these latest results. (Sacramento Bee)

Editorial: CalSTRS has a ways to go to stop spiking
The California State Teachers' Retirement System faces a financial crisis that should concern every taxpayer. Although this pension fund reports a portfolio of $155.4 billion, its obligations far exceed its assets. In its last actuarial valuation, CalSTRS reported a funding gap of $56 billion, $15.5 billion higher than the previous year. (Sacramento Bee)

Callifornia DMV reiterates 30-day extension to renew car registrations in July and August
Responding to confusion among some drivers, California Department of Motor Vehicles officials clarified Tuesday that anyone receiving a vehicle registration renewal notice in the mail this month or next will be given an extra 30 days beyond their renewal date to pay their fees. Some drivers have complained their registration renewal notices gave them only a day or two to mail in a check, or face penalty fees, rather than the usual 60-day advance notice. (Sacramento Bee)

Insect-related diseases prompt state worker recall
It's the high season for mosquitoes and ticks in Minnesota, so the state Department of Health is recalling workers in its vector-borne disease unit. During the first week of the government shutdown, the state received more than 500 reports from health care providers about diseases that might have been spread by mosquitoes or ticks, said John Stieger, a Health Department spokesman. "That is not an unexpected amount compared to typical years," Stieger said. "(But) we felt it was important to bring back staff...so that we didn't run into a significant backlog." (Pioneer Press)

Convicted pol Andrew Stein collecting public pension of $61,060
While sitting around around doing nothing during hours he should be performing community service, disgraced ex-pol Andrew Stein is also on the city's dime. (New York Daily News)

SD state workers losing right to appeal layoffs
PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota state employees are losing their right to appeal if they're laid off in the future. (AP / Beaumont Enterprise)

Branstad slashes official's pay
Gov. Terry Branstad cut the annual salary of the state workers' compensation commissioner by almost $36,000 this week after he refused the governor's request to resign. (Des Moines Register)

Pact gives R.I. troopers two 3-percent raises
PROVIDENCE -- The Chafee administration has quietly reached a negotiated settlement with the Rhode Island State Troopers Association that will provide 183 members of the state police with two rounds of retroactive 3-percent pay raises. (Providence Journal)

Even AP starts to see public employee union benefits are unsustainable
The Associated Press is waving the largest red flag it can find to trumpet that our nation's fragile and plummeting economy is actually worse than generally thought. The AP has even decided it needs to point out the danger of "expensive but long-untouchable public employee benefits." According to the AP, "All 50 states have combined unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations that top $1 trillion." That would be trillion with a "t" -- as in more than one thousand billion dollars. It's safe to assume the Founding Fathers could not even imagine one-thousand billion dollars. (San Francisco Examiner)

AFT President Randi Weingarten Pushes Back At Public Employee Critics
WASHINGTON -- Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, blasted critics of teachers' unions Monday, claiming Republican governors have been trying to break apart a natural coalition of teachers and parents to fundamentally change the quality of life in their states. (Huffington Post)

Tweak To Employee Benefits Turns Jersey Into Auschwitz
SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. -- Public-sector employees here now are regularly referring to Gov. Chris Christie as "Adolf Christie." (Investor's Business Daily)

Sights and sounds at Minnesota State Capitol
The white stone steps of the State Capitol overflowed with political theater Tuesday morning, with characters ranging from clergy members and little old ladies to the usual dueling pols and a fed-up state employee. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

State worker unions protest blocked raises
Several dozen union workers gathered at a downtown state office building this afternoon to protest Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to block raises for 33,000 employees, alleging he is illegally violating their contract. Workers held up signs reading "Stand for the Middle Class" and chanted slogans such as "It's disgusting, union busting." (Chicago Tribune)

State union workers protest in Chicago Loop (ABC7 News)

Hill prison guards want their raises
Correctional officers protested outside Henry C. Hill Correctional Center on Tuesday against Gov. Pat Quinn's decision not to give them raises. (Galesburg Register-Mail)

Most violent job in Washington? Nurses aide
SEATTLE-- The most violent job in Washington state isn't being a police officer or a security guard. It's working as a nurse's aide. (AP / Tri-City Herald)

State workers sue Quinn -- march in Kankakee today
It backed Gov. Pat Quinn in the 2010 election but now the union representing 33,000 Illinois public workers filed a federal suit late last week against him and the state. (The Daily Journal)

For links to more news, views and video, check out The State Worker's Individurls page. To see our vast archive of searchable A.M. Reading headlines, go to Publish2.

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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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