The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 12, 2011
A.M. Reading: Jerry Brown & labor; realignment pitfalls; Ore. governor rescinds DOJ manager raises

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifGov. Jerry Brown is giving unions most of what they seek
Reporting from Sacramento-- When the dust settled on Gov. Jerry Brown's first legislative session in nearly three decades, no group had won more than organized labor, which heralded its largest string of victories in nearly a decade. (Los Angeles Times)

Proposed California regulations spell out gift-reporting requirements for elected officials
The state political watchdog agency is set to consider next month adopting substantial changes to rules governing gifts to public officials and staff, including exemptions from disclosure for presents received from former spouses, dating partners and longtime friends. (Sacramento Bee)

Board limits state workers
The Board of Examiners approved restrictions Tuesday on state workers' ability to contract for other employment. The changes to the State Administrative Manual were ordered by the Legislature after an audit showed what appeared to be conflicts when state workers with one agency contract for additional work with another. (Nevada Appeal)

Viewpoints: Realignment dumps state's responsibility on local governments
It's clear the priority of public safety was ignored when the governor and majority party passed their budget this year, making California families and their safety the biggest losers. (Sacramento Bee)

Editorial: As prisoner numbers fall, don't enlarge jails
Gov. Jerry Brown's bold plan to realign the criminal justice system is the most far-reaching policy initiative he has undertaken in his first 10 months in office, bar none. But if counties deal with it by simply expanding jail capacity, it will become a big, expensive flop. (Sacramento Bee)

Jim Hoffa in Toledo to rally against Issue 2
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa will speak in Toledo Wednesday at a rally to defeat Issue 2 that limits collective bargaining for public employees. (WTOL)

Montana's public employee pension problem worsens
The pension system for public employees in Montana is facing a larger shortfall due to market losses and other factors, according to a new report that will be presented to the Montana Public Employees' Retirement Board later this week. (Associated Press / Bloomberg Businessweek)

Another Shot Fired in Wisconsin Union Wars
Seventy-five unionized workers obtained a temporary injunction to block Milwaukee County from transferring their jobs with the Department of Children and Families to the control of the state. Oral arguments in the latest chapter in the state's labor wars are scheduled for Oct. 31. (Courthouse News)

Michigan's Pension Changes May Be Model for Struggling States
Michigan's "radical reform" 14 years ago to rescue its retirement system by placing newly hired workers in a 401(k) program may show struggling states the way back from the worst pension crisis ever. (Bloomberg / San Francisco Chronicle)

Cuomo, union continue talks over 3,500 layoffs
Talks between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a state workers' union to avoid 3,500 layoffs are continuing. (Associated Press / Long Island Business News)

Greece Hit by Strikes, Work Stoppages Against Austerity Measures
Greek state workers blocked access to the Finance Ministry's main building in central Athens as protests mount against government plans to cut jobs and wages to meet conditions for international loans. (Bloomberg)

Raimondo says 'special interests' threaten pension reform
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- State Treasurer Gina Raimondo told the Rotary Club of Providence Tuesday that the biggest potential hurdle to pension reform is "politics, politics, politics.'' (Providence Journal)

Wisconsin Democrats optimistic about gubernatorial recall despite steep challengesad
The bar is set high for Wisconsin Democrats seeking the recall of first-term Republican Governor Scott Walker. But while successful recalls on the state level are exceedingly rare, Democratic officials are optimistic. (CNN)

Oregon governor rescinds Justice Dept. manager raises
Gov. John Kitzhaber intervened on Tuesday to rescind raises of 7 percent to 9 percent that state Attorney General John Kroger gave to top-level Justice Department managers. (Associated Press / Gazette Times)

Major Unions Endorse Wisconsin Recall Drive as a 99 Percent Solution
Politicians of both parties are taking hits from the "Occupy Wall Street" movement for serving multinational corporations and the wealthiest one percent of Americans while neglecting the other 99 percent of Americans. The list of offending officials is long. But if there is a poster boy for anti-worker, anti-labor, anti-community and anti-democracy policies, it has to be Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (The Nation)

Union sues over end of automatic COLAs for about 109K retirees
The Washington Federation of State Employees filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn legislation that ended automatic cost-of-living pay raises for retirees in two of the state's older pension plans. (News Tribune)

PEF chief chides Cuomo as labor talks stall
ALBANY -- Frustrated by lagging negotiations and a fast-approaching deadline, the head of a major state workers union went on the offensive Tuesday, accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration of "dragging its heels" as thousands of layoffs hang in the balance. (Poughkeepsie Journal)

N.J. Revives Lehman Suit Against Ernst & Young
The state of New Jersey is renewing its lawsuit against Ernst & Young LLP, accusing the accounting giant of helping Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. disguise its true financial condition while the bank's top brass pitched the state's pension-fund manager to invest in Lehman stock and securities. New Jersey's investment division, which manages pension- and retirement-plan funds for over 700,000 state workers, including teachers, police and firemen, pumped $385 million into Lehman, purchasing a combination of stock and notes from the investment bank before its collapse. (Wall Street Journal)

State Managers Get Bonuses Despite Deal
As the state's financial crisis continues, non-union state managers are getting a financial windfall in the form of millions of dollars in longevity bonuses. State labor unions say they thought the bonuses were off the table. They're now pursuing a grievance over the issue. (NBC Connecticut)

State Workers Retire by the Thousands
More than 2,600 workers retired from Connecticut state jobs in the fiscal year that ended on Oct. 1. The amount is nearly three times the amount in 2010 when 957 state workers called it quits. (

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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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