The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 7, 2011
A.M. Reading: Ore. retirees face pension paybacks; Calif. realignment money shaky; ad aims at splitting labor

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifOregon PERS can collect overpayments, court says
The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System has the authority to collect overpayments from as many as 38,000 government workers who retired between April 2000 and April 2004, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The 6-0 decisions in a pair of cases upheld the board, which ordered the repayments in January 2006, and turned aside lawsuits filed by retirees. (Statesman Journal)

Jerry Brown toughens law on cellphones in prison
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday making it a misdemeanor for prison guards or visitors to smuggle cellphones to inmates, a bid to reduce inmates' ability to organize gang activity and other crimes from behind bars. (Sacramento Bee)

Calpers Urged to Reject Proposal to Limit Corporate Politicking
Oct. 7 -- Business groups appealed to the California Public Employees' Retirement System not to use its $218 billion power as the largest U.S. public pension to push the boards of corporations in which it invests to vote on political donations and disclose them annually. (Bloomberg)

Dan Walters: California's realignment finances very shaky
Gov. Jerry Brown assembled a phalanx of local politicians and cops the other day to assure the public that the "realignment" of some criminal justice, health and social service functions to counties will not endanger anyone. (Sacramento Bee)

California state insurance fund moves to lay off a quarter of its workers
The quasi-public State Compensation Insurance Fund said Thursday that it's going to lay off up to a quarter of its 7,300 employees whose work has been crowded out by evolving technology and streamlining. (Sacramento Bee)

Public workers retire in record numbers
ALBANY -- A record 30,772 public employees retired last year, fueled by an early retirement incentive and the general age of the state workforce, officials said. (Albany Times Union)

Cuomo open to deal in PEF layoff standoff over 3,500 NY jobs; says shorter contract possible
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he's open to shortening a contract with a public labor union to avoid layoffs if concessions remain to give the state the savings it needs. (Associated Press / The Republic)

Editorial: End All Longevity Pay -- A Wasteful Handout The State Can't Afford
Yes, admits the Malloy administration, thousands of non-union managers will get the wasteful "longevity" bonuses this month while most of the unionized state workforce will not. But, says budget chief Ben Barnes, the state's taxpayers will save a lot more money -- $17 million over 10 years -- doing it this way. (Hartford Courant)

N.J. public employees, paying more for benefits, offered wider health care options
Public employees - from state workers to local school teachers - may now choose from a wider range of health plans that include low-cost options and some with narrower coverage as they start paying more for their benefits. (

Basic Union Busting
The anti-union Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago is out with a new Internet ad aimed at dividing teachers along generational lines. (NBC Chicago)

'What a Piece of Junk': Responding to the Economic Policy Institute on Public Employee Pay
In the original Star Wars trilogy (not those crappy prequels), Luke Skywalker uttered these words when he first saw Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon: "What a piece of junk." I had the same reaction to a new policy brief from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which attacks my work with Jason Richwine on public sector pay, in particular a recent study for the Ohio Business Roundtable. (I should note that these comments are my own and that Jason is far more polite than I am). (The Enterprise Blog)

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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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