The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 15, 2011
A.M. Reading: Pension politics; law enforcement officers' life expectancies; Brown's appointments

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifAs lawmakers return, will Brown push pension overhaul?
Public pension reform in California, once a top-shelf cause on both sides of the statehouse aisle, has become something of a political orphan. While a handful of government pension bills await action when lawmakers return to the state Capitol this week, reformers say the measures mostly tinker at the margins of an unsustainable system that needs fundamental change. Gov. Jerry Brown has stopped talking about the issue. Although he promised to change pensions when he ran for office and again signaled his support for rollbacks during budget talks this year, Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said last week that the governor has made "no decision on timing" for moving ahead. (Sacramento Bee)

Politifact: Retired police captain says law enforcement officers die 10 years earlier than most people (statement rated false)
The threat of a pension cut in Cranston, R.I., prompted Robert Barber, a 58-year-old retired captain in the city's Police Department, to argue that any reduction in benefits would be unfair. "The City of Cranston entered into a contract with me. The agreement was that I would serve my community and risk my life so that, at the end of my career, if I reached it, I would be able to live the rest of my life with some dignity," he wrote in a commentary in The Journal. And, he wrote, that life is not likely to be as long as most retirees'. "Statistically," he said, "law-enforcement officers die 10 years earlier than the general population." We were intrigued by that statistic. (Politifact / Providence Journal)

Dan Morain: Governor is quietly making an impact with his appointments
One by one, Gov. Jerry Brown is making statements with his appointees, but not like in the old days. Brown used to go out of his way to tweak what he saw as calcified institutions. This time around, he is far more temperate - some say slow - befitting a guy who is 73. "I know more at 73 than I knew at 37," he is fond of saying. (Sacramento Bee)

Pension Debate Faces Lawmakers After Recess
SACRAMENTO -- Five months after Gov. Jerry Brown released a 12-point plan to reform public pensions, there has been a lot of talk but little action on the issue at the Capitol. (KTVU)

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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


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