The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 23, 2011
A.M. Reading: CalPERS' policy stirs controversy; Amazon.com's big bucks; Wash. state workforce shrinks

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifThe Buzz: Democrats control lion's share of Assembly staff, records show
To the victor go the spoils, apparently. Holding a firm majority in the Assembly, Democrats' cadre of office and committee staff exceeds Republicans' by a higher percentage than the number of seats each party controls, records show. (Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS boosts cost of terminating pension plans
In a sign of the uncertain times, the CalPERS board last week approved a sharp increase in the cost of terminating pension plans, a rare action said to be taken each year by only one or two of the more than 2,000 retirement plans in the giant system. ... The new safeguard increases the money an employer must set aside to offset or "discount" future obligations. A much lower bond-based earnings rate will be assumed, currently 3.8 percent, rather than the CalPERS earnings forecast, 7.75 percent. The change touches a hot-button issue. Critics contend that the California Public Employees Retirement System earnings forecast, 7.75 percent, is overly optimistic and conceals massive debt. (Calpensions)

D.A.: DMV worker took cash for licenses
SANTA ANA - The arraignment Monday of a Fullerton DMV employee accused of issuing 12 commercial drivers licenses after falsifying computer records in exchange for money was continued to Friday. Michelle Carbajal, 37, of Fullerton, faces a possible 22 years in prison if convicted of 19 felony counts of altering public documents and 19 counts fraud, according to a news release. (Orange County Register)

Amazon.com puts $2.25 million more into referendum drive
Amazon.com has poured another $2.25 million into its effort to overturn a law requiring some online retailers collect sales tax on purchases made by Californians, bringing the company's total investment in the referendum qualification drive to more than $5 million. (Sacramento Bee)

Lawmakers' dispute jeopardizes Bell-inspired disclosure bill
Reporting from Sacramento-- A proposal to prevent repeats of the Bell scandal -- in which city officials secretly granted themselves salaries of up to $800,000 -- hung in limbo Monday, jeopardized by an unrelated dispute between two Southern California lawmakers. (Los Angeles Times)

Viewpoint: Governor Kasich now wants to bargain!
Wonders never cease. Governor Kasich now wants to bargain with Ohio's public employees. Coming after 1.3 million voters signed petitions to require a vote on his infamous SB5, which intends to strip employees of their bargaining power, it's ironic that he now sees the virtue of negotiating. (Circleville Herald)

18 Minn. lawmakers got shutdown pay retroactively
Eighteen Minnesota House members who declined paychecks during last month's state government shutdown got their full salaries retroactively, the House payroll office said Monday. (Associted Press / Bloomberg Businessweek)

State workers suspended after document breach
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Two state employees with the Department of Children and Family Services were suspended Monday after documents with personal information, including social security numbers, were found blowing down a Baton Rouge street, improperly discarded in a trash can instead of shredded. (Fox 8)

State government has gotten 7% smaller
OLYMPIA -- Gerry Ketchum says he can walk you through Department of Social and Health Services offices that look like a ghost town because of jobs cuts. (Seattle Times)

Impact of union measure takes hold
Madison - More elements of Gov. Scott Walker's union bargaining legislation are taking effect, with higher health and pension payments for state employees coming online this week and the two graduate student unions in the state choosing to drop their official status rather than go through a difficult recertification vote. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

NH workers' deadline to vote approaching
CONCORD, N.H.--The union representing most of New Hampshire's 11,000 state workers is urging its members to vote on a contract agreement reached with the governor's office in July. (Boston.com)

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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