The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 11, 2011
A.M. Reading: S.C. state workers' new phone greeting; Calif. revenues slide; Vt. workers split over grievance

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifHello, sunshine! How not to sell a state that's feeling the pinch
It's a great day in South Carolina, and if you don't believe it, ask Governor Nikki Haley. On September 27th the governor ordered the 16 directors of cabinet agencies under her direct control to change the way their employees answer the telephone. So now when phoning, say, the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services or the Department of Employment and Workforce, callers are supposed to hear this cheery greeting: "It's a great day in South Carolina. How may I help you?" (The Economist)

CalSTRS reported ready to seek more state funding
For more than two years, CalSTRS has been talking about asking state lawmakers for more money to plug its funding gap. Now the teachers' pension fund believes the Legislature is ready to listen. (Sacramento Bee)

Pension reform: giving workers low-cost option
Unions and management in San Jose have bargaining proposals aimed at making a rare triple play in public pension reform -- big cost cuts, done quickly and without a legal battle. Current workers would be given the option of switching to lower pensions. (Calpensions)

California's continued revenue slide could trigger cuts
California missed the revenue mark again in September by collecting $301.6 million less than state leaders expected when they approved this year's budget, according to Controller John Chiang. (Sacramento Bee)

Reading the tea leaves in Bob Walsh's RI pension reform op-ed
National Education Association Rhode Island chief Bob Walsh's Projo op-ed about labor's stance on pension reform is the clearest sign yet that at least some union leaders think digging in their heels and resisting any changes isn't the best strategy to take over the next few weeks. (

Some Vermont state workers want no part of grievance
When the Vermont State Employees Association filed a grievance earlier this month over pay connected with job reassignments following Tropical Storm Irene flooding, the union listed 98 workers' names as complainants. Some of those workers were none too happy to find their own names on the list. (Burlington Free Press)

Lots of concerns, few answers in Quinn closing plan that would eliminate 2,660 jobs, $300 million in economic activity
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- New reports from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's (D) administration say closing seven state facilities will cost Illinois 2,660 jobs and nearly $300 million in lost economic activity. (Rock River Times)

Guest Column: Plan to close Mabley causes sleepless nights
I have not slept since Sept. 8, the day the governor announced closing the Jack Mabley Center. I have two sons who live there. They have finally experienced a life with less behaviors and more freedom. (Rockford Register Star)

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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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