The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 26, 2011
A.M. Reading: 'The new petty'; Calif. and Wis. overtime; Vt. state workers paid but idle;

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifTim Hodson had diverse roles in state's politics
Tim Hodson, a widely recognized expert on California politics who spent 35 years working, teaching and preparing future leaders for the state Capitol, died Tuesday at age 61. (Sacramento Bee)

Parting Words: 'The New Petty'
Timothy Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento, passed away Tuesday. Hodson was a leading expert on California politics and a contributor to The Bee during his long and distinguished career. Not long before he died, he wrote this short poem - a lament about the state of public affairs in California. His family and friends requested that we publish it, and so we present it here. (Sacramento Bee)

Nurse Making $270K on California's OT Binge
Jean Keller earned $269,810 last year working as a nurse at a men's prison on California's central coast by tripling her regular pay with overtime hours. (Bloomberg)

RI Gov., Treasurer to lawmakers: pass pension bill
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Treasurer Gina Raimondo warned lawmakers Monday of dire consequences if they don't pass their ambitious public pension overhaul proposal. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Ohio union law debated 2 weeks before repeal vote
COLUMBUS -- A former Democratic congressman and a Republican state senator went before residents Tuesday night in the first statewide televised debate on a law that limits the collective bargaining abilities of hundreds of thousands of public employees, trying to appeal to voters who'll decide its fate in two weeks. (Associated Press / Massillon Independent)

State ends special prison guard overtime rules
MADISON -- Governor Scott Walker's new pay plan for state employees would end a unique overtime benefit for Wisconsin prison workers. For years guards who called in sick and then worked the next shift got regular pay for one shift and time-and-a-half for the other. The Walker pay plan, announced yesterday, would grant regular pay for both shifts. And any overtime would be spread evenly throughout the entire corrections' workforce, instead of being offered to the most senior employees first. (WSAU)

Post-Irene, about a dozen Vermont state workers remain without work
Eight weeks after Tropical Storm Irene ripped through Vermont and flooded the state office complex in Waterbury, at least a dozen state employees have not returned to work. The Department of Mental Health has 12 employees who worked at the Vermont State Hospital and have not been reassigned -- either because their jobs do not exist for the time being or it's been shifted too far away for them to travel, said Rebecca Heintz, deputy mental health commissioner. Employees in that situation continue to be paid, state Human Resources Commissioner Kate Duffy said, as it's unclear when and where they'll be needed again. (Burlington Free Press)

Lincoln prison supporters get no promises from Quinn administration
Lincoln city officials and area lawmakers received no promises about the state keeping the Logan Correctional Center open during a meeting Tuesday with officials of the Quinn administration. Instead, they were told the fate of the institution rests with state lawmakers and what they do about revamping the state budget during the veto session. (Springfield State Journal-Register)

Plan would freeze state workers' wages for two years
Madison - State employees would get no across-the-board pay hikes over the next two years, under a compensation plan that Gov. Scott Walker's administration provided to lawmakers Tuesday. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Christie's Cuts - Higher property taxes, fewer cops in NJ
First, the good news: Property tax increases have slowed in many New Jersey towns. But the bad news is, many residents have seen municipal services cut as their taxes have continued to climb. (Asbury Park Press)

Democrats Turn Up the Heat on Walker
In less than a month, the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker is expected to kick into high gear. (WUWM)

Capitol fight over public pensions previewed
Tuesday offered a preview of a major legislative battle over public pensions that could erupt when lawmakers return to Austin in 2013. Speakers at the forum sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a limited-government think tank, argued that retirement funds serving 2 million firefighters, teachers and other public employees in Texas are not sustainable. (Austin Statesman)

Christie Takes on Judiciary Over Pension and Healthcare Benefits
It's too early to tell whether Gov. Chris Christie and fellow Republican legislators would need to pursue a constitutional amendment to force state judges to contribute more to their pension plans and healthcare benefits. But that didn't stop Christie on Tuesday from saying that voters would be the judge when they head to the polls in two weeks to pick their candidate in state legislative races. (NJ Spotlight)

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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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