The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 22, 2011
A.M. Reading: Ca. nurses attacked; lawmakers' car allowance stalls; Ore.'s biggest pension

2 nurses attacked at Atascadero State Hospital
Two nurses at Atascadero State Hospital were treated for injuries Saturday after they were attacked by aggressive patients, a Department of Mental Health spokesperson tells KSBY News. (KSBY)

Retired public workers can count on promised benefits, court says
Health benefits for government retirees may not be eliminated if state and local governments had clearly promised workers those benefits, the California Supreme Court ruled in an Orange County case Monday. (Los Angeles Times)

Dan Walters: California government reformers occupy two camps
California's political dysfunction has evolved from a theory first advanced by a few jaundiced observers a generation ago - including yours truly - to a widely embraced axiom that has spawned endless journalistic, academic and civic discourse. (Sacramento Bee)

Panel not authorized to grant lawmakers car allowance, lawyers say
California lawmakers who have been told to give up their state-owned cars Dec. 1 cannot receive a $300 transportation allowance instead because a citizens panel that approved it lacked the authority to grant such a benefit, according to attorneys for the state. (Los Angeles Times)

Do Pension Systems Still Work?
SAN DIEGO -- The pension system in San Diego has taken a lot of criticism for its generosity and the huge sums of money it siphons from the city. Critics also say pensions are becoming unsustainable as people live longer after retirement. But Stanford Public Policy Professor Joe Nation said there's nothing inherently wrong with pensions. Rather, he said the people who manage the funds usually underestimate the required contributions and overestimate the projected returns. (KPBS)

State Pension Funds Resist Accounting Rules That Would Magnify Liability
U.S. public pension systems, facing as much as $3 trillion in unfunded promises to current and future retirees, are resisting proposed new standards that might double their funding deficits. (Bloomberg)

Editorial: NJ must stop disability pension scams by public employees
A Newark cop, claiming he was blind, filed for a disability pension. But just days before he was going to be awarded a lifetime of cash, likely totaling more than a million dollars, Newark's internal affairs division caught him on videotape. Driving. On the Garden State Parkway. (

Top beneficiary of Oregon Public Employees Retirement System: Mike Bellotti
The top beneficiary of Oregon's state pension system is former University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti, who retired last year to go to work as an ESPN commentator and now collects a state pension of nearly a half million dollars a year, according to data released to The Oregonian Monday by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System. (The Oregonian)

State honors employees for their work
Who says hard work doesn't pay off? Eighty-seven of North Platte's state employees were recognized Tuesday at the Mid-Plains Community College McDonald-Belton Theater. Mike McCrory, director of personnel for the State of Nebraska, said the group represented 1,650 years of service. (North Platte Telegraph)

Bill Cotterell: Teamsters offer extra toughness
If you could pick which state employees to negotiate for, law-enforcement officers are probably the ones you want to represent. (Tallahassee Democrat)

Payouts to retiring state workers for unused sick time prompts call for review
Minnesota legislators from both sides of the aisle are calling for inquiries into payments - some topping six figures - of unused sick and vacation time to retiring state employees. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

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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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