The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 11, 2011
A.M. Reading: CalPERS' crackdown; state discipline concerns surface; Wisconsin's warning to union opponents

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifEditorial: Finally, a crackdown on pension spiking
In the wake of the city of Bell pay scandal, the California Public Employees' Retirement System has ramped up its anti-spiking efforts. Good. California State Teachers' Retirement System honchos - are you paying attention? (Sacramento Bee)

Bell ex-police chief's pension cut by more than $100,000 a year
Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams will continue receiving generous retirement benefits even after CalPERS slashed the amount by more than $100,000. Adams, whose $457,000 salary was higher than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck's and more than double his salary when he was Glendale's chief, will receive a pension of $287,066, according to documents obtained by The Times under the California Public Records Act. (Los Angeles Times)

California judges immune from even voluntary pay cuts this year
As California court employees across the state brace for the possibility of more layoffs and hour reductions, the paychecks of those who actually sit on the bench continue to enjoy a constitutional protection from cuts. (Sacramento Bee)

The State Worker: California aims to make employee discipline more consistent
California government is like a bad parent: wildly inconsistent when it comes to disciplining bad behavior. That failing came up Tuesday during a downtown Sacramento meeting of state leaders, employees and union officials to talk over Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to merge the Department of Personnel Administration and some functions of the State Personnel Board. (Sacramento Bee)

Loss of teacher data grant could affect state chances for federal education funding
Five years ago, California education officials jumped aboard the data bandwagon. Nudged by federal mandates and competition for federal school dollars, California applied for and won a $6 million competitive federal grant to develop a data system to track teacher information, similar to a system the state is developing to track student information. Last week federal officials stripped the state of the entire three-year grant for the California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data Education System, or CALTIDES, after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed $2.1 million in funding for it in this year's budget. (Sacramento Bee)

Editorial: Wisconsin's Warning to Union-Busters
Five months after Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pushed through a law stripping public unions of their bargaining rights, the Republican Party has paid a price. Two of the state senators who backed the law were thrown out of office by voters on Tuesday and replaced with Democrats. Mr. Walker's opponents did not succeed in turning over the Senate, but it was still an impressive response to the governor's arrogant overreach. (New York Times)


Wisconsin recall votes could be 2012 barometer

Milwaukee -- The setback that Democrats and their labor allies suffered in the battle to reclaim Wisconsin underscores the challenge they and President Obama face as both parties gird for the 2012 election. (San Francisco Chronicle)

AARP opposing Michigan pension tax in court filing
The AARP and other retiree groups on Wednesday said they will argue before the Michigan Supreme Court that parts of the state's new tax on pensions are unconstitutional, particularly related to public employees. (Associated Press / Businessweek)

Raimondo looks for support on pension reform from local leaders
WARWICK - State General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo will submit what she called a "comprehensive legislative pension reform package" to the General Assembly at its special October session, she told a group of community leaders Wednesday morning, and she asked for their support to fix the state's woefully underfunded retirement systems. (Providence Business News)

Service Employees International Union ratifies labor agreement with Corbett administration
Some 10,000 state workers covered by the Service Employees International Union Local 668 have ratified the four-year labor agreement reached with Gov. Tom Corbett's administration. (pennlive.com)

New report details what Washington state workers made in 2010
The state's Office of Financial Management today posted a detailed list of what state employees earned last year. ... Among the highlights are two workers received checks for 19 cents while the University of Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian earned nearly $2 million. State budget officials note that every one of the football coach's dollars comes from sources other than state taxpayers. (Daily Herald)

Quicker cash for retirees
ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he may lay off state employees if union members fail to approve the contracts hammered out by labor leaders and the administration. Regardless of how that drama concludes, one thing is for sure: The governor is making it a bit easier for state workers to retire. (Albany Times Union)

Conn. layoffs weigh heavy on workers; concerns raised about impact on agencies (video)
NEW HAVEN -- Goudarz Molaei was so torn emotionally about a decision to bump a fellow state worker at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, he described it as an "evil action." (West Hartford News)

Debt deal may not be as rough on states as initially feared
For states, the federal agreement to raise the debt ceiling has inspired confusion and consternation in equal parts. State officials knew that cuts in federal aid were coming their way, but when the deal was struck August 1, they had little sense of how deep the reductions would be and which programs they'd cover. Now the details are becoming clearer, and some experts are reaching an unexpected conclusion: The damage to state budgets may not be so bad after all. (stateline.org)

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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