The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 14, 2011
A.M. Reading: UC executive pay; pension cuts' front-end cost; Oregon hiring freeze

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifViewpoints: UC, CSU leaders show a tin ear on executive salaries
... To put it bluntly, our public universities in California are screwing up. They are either completely tone deaf or incredibly insensitive. (Sacramento Bee)

California overhauls mental health department
alifornia has begun transitioning its mental health services program to concentrate care on the most serious patients residing in state mental hospitals and prisons, but the cost-cutting move is raising concerns about patient care from state workers. (AP / Sacramento Bee)

Editorial: Pension reform
A recommendation to convert the state employee retirement system to a 401(k) plan seems like a reasonable move, but state officials need to realize that the pensions currently guaranteed by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System are a significant benefit for state employees. If the state is going to make its retirement plan more like those offered by private businesses, it also may have to provide salaries and other benefits that make state jobs more competitive with those offered in the private sector. (Lawrence Journal-World)

Editorial: Brown doesn't want to be a paper pusher
State government generates thousands of reports a year. Some are useful, essential even. Others, no doubt, are a waste of time and resources. (Sacramento Bee)

Stanford study says public pensions must be curbed in California
California's retirement obligations to public employees can't be tamed without curbing benefits for current workers and retirees, according to a new pension report published Tuesday by Stanford University. (Sacramento Bee)

Governor to freeze state agencies' hiring amid budget problems
Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to order a hiring freeze for all state agencies, suspend new enrollments in the Oregon Health Plan and halt all "non-critical" government spending because of the state's budget woes. (Statesman Journal)

Opposing view: Don't blame government workers' pensions
Let's be clear about this: Truly abusive pension practices should be eliminated. But it is wrong to suggest that such abuses are commonplace or spreading. To the contrary, 40 states made significant changes to their pension plans during the past two years in order to reduce benefits and decrease costs. (USA Today)

CalPERS scores profit on real estate fund
CalPERS reported a $695 million profit today after closing out one of its investment funds. (The Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS to broadcast board meetings
The largest public pension fund in the United States, CalPERS, will start broadcasting its board meetings live early next year in another effort to increase transparency at the agency. (The Daily Journal)

Pension abusing public employees make tax hikes a tough sell
The many negative stories represent aberrations, revealing nothing at all typical about public employees in California. But they have turned public opinion against civil servants so severely that it will be difficult to pass any of the current spate of tax increase proposals, no matter who might back them or bankroll them. (Mercury News)

Conn. state employee: 'I didn't think I did anything wrong' (NECN.com)

Lawyer for state workers asks Conn. governor to halt hearings into food aid fraud allegations
ARTFORD, Conn. -- A lawyer who said he represents more than 10 state employees suspected of fraudulently receiving food stamp benefits after the remnants of Hurricane Irene is asking Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to halt disciplinary hearings. (AP / The Republic)

Public retirement ages come under greater scrutiny
COLUMBUS, Ohio--After nearly 40 years in public education, Patrick Godwin spends his retirement days running a horse farm east of Sacramento, Calif., with his daughter. (AP / Boston Globe)

Public sector isn't paid more than private: report
The stereotype of the fat-cat civil servant is unfounded, says a report from the Canadian Union of Public Employees. (Toronto Star)

Bill affecting Mich. state workers heads to Snyder
LANSING, Mich. -- A bill that supporters say would save money on retiree benefit costs related to Michigan state government employees gained final legislative approval Tuesday and is headed to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. (AP / CBS MoneyWatch)

Older state workers hesitant on pension proposals
ALEXANDRIA -- Geoff Borah isn't looking to get rich from his state pension. He's just looking for stability and, like many older workers, he is keeping an eagle-eye on the retirement debate coming up in Richmond. (The Daily Progress)

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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