The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 29, 2011
California hiring freeze shows 'critical' in the eye of the beholder

Gov. Jerry Brown's hiring freeze order is pretty darn explicit: No hiring for jobs that aren't "critical" functions of a department's "core" mission. No hiring for positions that aren't front-line jobs providing essential front-line services, such as public safety jobs.

Toxic Substances' request No. I-0008, which we've posted below, said the department needed to hire a chief of its Office of Criminal Investigations (cost: $138,000 per year), to supervise its investigators and scientists. The public safety duties of the job made it a candidate for a freeze exemption, the department said, and leaving it empty would, "result in reduced law enforcement field presence in California."

That's not all. Leave the job unfilled, the department said, and you're weakening the deterrent for illegal hazardous waste dumping and you're hampering fair competition between businesses that follow hazardous waste handling and disposal rules and those businesses that don't.

Despite those dire predictions, the Brown administration slammed the request with three terse sentences:

"This request is denied. The position, as currently classified, has been vacant for nearly three years. This history suggests the program has operated effectively without the position."

We're approaching the finish line of our project to post more than 100 forms submitted by dozens of state departments, agencies, commissions and offices seeking exemptions from Brown's hiring freeze. The documents were the foundation for a recent story about how the administration is enforcing the policy.

Here's the next-to-last batch:

Social Services G-0006.pdf
Social Services G-0013.pdf
Social Services G-0007.pdf
Social Services I-0021.pdf
Student Aid Commission I-0005.pdf
Student Aid Commission I-0006.pdf
Technology Agency G-001.pdf
Toxic Substances Control I-0001.pdf
Toxic Substances Control I-0002.pdf
Toxic Substances Control I-0004.pdf
Toxic Substances Control I-0008.pdf
Toxic Substances Control I-0013.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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