The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 30, 2011
How California's hiring freeze forces creative solutions

The hiring requests submitted to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration often show how thinking at the agency or department level conflicted with what decision makers in the governor's office defined "essential" jobs or how vacancies could be filled.

The Department of Transportation, for example, asked to hire an administrative assistant II who would work for the director of Caltrans. The position would have cost the department about $64,000 per year.

Failing to fill it would mean "the Director's ability to respond to urgent requests ... may be impaired. Responses to the Governor's Office and External Agencies may be delayed if the Director is not apprised of the priority," the department said. "Actions at this level affect the Department and Director's image and the ability to produce desired results."

Transportation couldn't transfer internally to fill the job, it said, because the vacant position "is the only Administrative Assistant II position in the Department."

The Brown administration gave the hire a thumbs down and offered an outside-the-org-chart solution:

"This position does not meet the exemption criteria as critical and essential to meet the core functions of the department's statutory mission," the administration said in its reply to request No. 1-0001 (below). "While this is the only Administrative Assistant II position in the department, there are other Administrative Assistant I and Office Technician positions that could assume the workload."

Here's the final group of freeze exemption forms that we reviewed for our Sept. 18 report on how the Brown administration has managed hiring since the governor's Feb. 15 order to restrict hiring:

Transportation I-0001.pdf
Veterans Affairs I-0004.pdf
Veterans Affairs I-0013.pdf
Veterans Affairs I-0016.pdf
Veterans Affairs I-0017.pdf
Veterans Affairs I-0021.pdf
Water Resources G-0002.pdf
Water Resources G-0003.pdf

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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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