The arguments are in. Now a panel of appellate justices must decide whether the state illegally furloughed some 32,000 correctional officers by cutting their pay by up to 15 percent per month but deferring the commensurate time off.
In documents filed in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal and during courtroom debate on Thursday, lawyers for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association said the so-called "self-directed" furloughs were an illegal pay cut.
Attorneys for the Department of Personnel Administration, which handles furlough litigation for the state, argued that a 2010 furlough ruling by the California Supreme Court invalidated CCPOA's claim.
Click here for more about the legal history of the case. The appellate court has 60 days to issue a decision.
DPA spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said the justices asked questions on Thursday about whether there was a deadline on when an employee could take the deferred time off. When the Schwarzenegger administration first issued guidelines, it said employee furlough time was a use-or-lose commodity that had to burned by June 2012.
Last summer, after losing the CCPOA self-directed furlough case in Alameda Superior Court, the state decided to lift the deadline. That change occurred after arguments were filed with the appellate court.
Jolley said that both sides agreed in court Thursday that the state had eliminated the deadline. That appears to knock down one of CCPOA's arguments against self-directed furloughs, namely that its members would never be able to redeem all their time off before the deadline.
We've played phone tag with union attorney Gregg Adam and will add his perspective to this post after we speak to him.