The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 9, 2011
A.M. Reading: Market tumble hits pension funds; Corrections' Facebook crackdown; Wisconsin recall vote

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifWall Street aftershocks felt in California's economy
Wall Street's scary losing streak could put a dent in California's fragile economic recovery. In some ways, it already has. The huge downturn in the stock market, punctuated by Monday's near-record fall, is costing the state's public pension funds billions of dollars. It's putting a strain on tax revenues - and could throw the just-passed state budget out of whack. (Sacramento Bee)

Consultant: Plans should prep for long-term weakness
Pension funds should be prepared for long-term weakness, even if in the short term they take very defensive positions in portfolios and focus on protection of capital, instead of returns. (Pensions & Investments)

Vallejo exits bankruptcy paying more for pensions
Vallejo got court approval to exit from bankruptcy last week with a plan that includes a sharp increase in pension payments to CalPERS -- the opposite of what many expected when the city declared bankruptcy in May 2008. (Calpensions)

California prison officials shutting down inmates' Facebook pages
Facebook "friend" requests from strangers are common, but state corrections officials say they are moving to stop use of the social network by prison inmates. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Monday that it's working with Facebook security officials to shut down inmate pages that have been set up by prisoners using contraband cellphones or that have been arranged for an inmate's use by someone outside of prison. (Sacramento Bee)

State pension agency slashes benefits for top-paid officials
The state retirement system has slashed the benefits of scores of top-paid local government officials as part of a review of overly generous public pensions prompted by the Bell scandal. Although the California Public Employees Retirement System has cut the benefits of individuals in the past, this review is its largest systematic effort to examine and possibly adjust high-end pensions. (Los Angeles Times)

The Buzz: California Assembly hires Washington lobbying firm
California taxpayers have begun paying $15,000 a month to help the state Assembly lobby federal government. (Sacramento Bee)

Wisconsin recall wars kick off 2012 campaign
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin is under siege. Direct mail pieces and television ads are flooding the state. Outside interest group spending in Tuesday's recall elections is shattering campaign finance records. Voter interest is running so high that a few local officials are predicting presidential-election level turnout. (Politico)

Historic recall elections put spotlight on Wisconsin
Madison - Tuesday brings a series of recall elections unprecedented in the history of the state or nation. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Milwaukee to see net gain from state budget
Despite early criticism from city officials, new figures show Milwaukee will gain more than it will lose next year from the state's controversial budget and budget-repair legislation. The city projects it will save at least $25 million a year - and potentially as much as $36 million in 2012 - from health care benefit changes it didn't have to negotiate with unions, as a result of provisions in the 2009-'11 budget-repair measure that ended most collective bargaining for most public employees. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Va. lawmakers wrestle with shifting retirement system
RICHMOND -- State lawmakers continue to debate how to reduce the state's $17.6 billion deficit, including whether to change the benefits of state workers or restructure their pension system. (Virginia Statehouse News / The Daily Progress)

State workers' union suggests NM pension changes
A union representing state workers proposed changes to a government pension program on Wednesday that could require some employees to stay in their jobs longer before retiring. (Associated Press / Bloomberg Businessweek)

NH state workers' union group recommends contract
CONCORD, N.H.--Members of a labor union representing most of New Hampshire's 11,000 state workers are being urged by their leaders to ratify a contract agreement reached with the governor's office last month. (Boston.com)

Gregoire asks agencies to prepare cuts up to 10%
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Chris Gregoire told state agencies and workers Monday to prepare for additional budget cuts as high as 10 percent, warning that Washington's economic outlook has weakened. (News Tribune)

Unions brace for the worst
Unionized employees with New Brunswick's Horizon Health Network are anxiously awaiting news about whether their jobs will be cut as the organization reviews how to trim costs. Atlantic Canada's largest health authority, which provides services to about two-thirds of New Brunswickers, has informed the Canadian Union of Public Employees it's looking at restructuring its health-care delivery and changes may bring staffing reductions. (Daily Gleaner)

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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