The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 28, 2011
A.M. Reading: Texas exodus; Jerry Brown's grade; federal government pay; 'air time' trends; 'mortician with a badge'

Mass Exodus of State Workers Begins
HOUSTON - From a never ending line that snakes out of the Department of Motor Vehicles to a steady stream of children walking into Protective Services, state workers have their hands full in Texas. (

Jerry Brown predicts tough budget year, says he 'passed' first year in office
Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he expects the first half of the new year to be dominated again by California's budget problems, as he proposes more spending cuts and tries to clear the November ballot of tax measures that might compete with his. (Sacramento Bee)

Federal workers starting at much higher pay than in past
Newly hired federal workers are starting at much higher salaries than those who did the same jobs in the past, a lift that has elevated the salaries of scientists and custodians alike. (USA Today)

LAO: Ballot proposals to cut California government pension costs may wind up increasing them
Two ballot proposals aimed at cutting government pension costs could wind up increasing them, are fraught with legal and fiscal uncertainty and would put pressure on governments to increase public employee pay, according to new analyses of the measures. (Sacramento Bee)

States try to fix their miscalculations over 'air time'
Kurt Weiss made a savvy investment in the Michigan State Employees Retirement System in 2000. A $56,000-a-year analyst for the Michigan State Police at the time, Weiss agreed to pay $30,265 to buy five years of work credit, with $100 payments deducted from his biweekly paycheck. (USA Today)

Public workers pay to add work time, costing state pensions
Government workers in 21 states are using an obscure perk to retire early or to boost their annual pensions by thousands of dollars, which can cost taxpayers millions more in payments to retirement funds, a USA TODAY analysis shows. (USA Today)

Governor announces 14 judicial appointments
Gov. Jerry Brown made just one judicial appointment in his first 11 months in office this year. Tuesday afternoon, he announced 14. (Sacramento Bee)

Shutting Up Business
Since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision restored the First Amendment rights of businesses and unions, "disclosure" has become the watchword for Democrats hoping to muzzle political speech by corporations. The latest gambit is to intimidate companies via the shareholder proxy process. (Wall Street Journal)

UC Berkeley and other 'public Ivies' in fiscal peril
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Across the nation, a historic collapse in state funding for higher education threatens to diminish the stature of premier public universities and erode their mission as engines of upward social mobility. (Washington Post)

'A mortician with a badge'
Reporting from Desert Hot Springs, Calif. -- Briefcase in hand, Steve Allen knocks on the back door of Rose Mortuary and Crematory. He's been on the road for two hours, and it's a little before 9; the late-autumn sun paints the distant cliffs of Mt. San Jacinto yellow and gold. ... If the state's funeral industry had police officers, Allen, 55, would be one. He is a field representative for the state's Cemetery and Funeral Bureau -- a "mortician with a badge," as he's heard himself described -- and is here to inspect the embalming and storage room and look at the price sheets. In his shirt pocket he carries a leather wallet that contains a small medallion embossed with the seal of the state of California. (Los Angeles Times)

Teen detainee's death prompts firings at DJJ
The superintendent and assistant superintendent of the Palm Beach Juvenile Detention Center were fired Tuesday over what the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice said were violations of DJJ policies and procedures regarding the death last July of a detainee. (Tallahassee Democrat)

Some State Workers Face Extra Scrutiny In Food Stamp Probe
The state agency that administered the embattled food stamp program after Tropical Storm Irene is interviewing its employees who received benefits through the program, internal agency memos show. (Hartford Courant)

What's in store for government IT in 2012? One expert weighs in.
What's coming in 2012 is so obvious it can hardly be called a prediction: bigger data and smaller budgets. The idea of government agencies making IT investments to contend with the data explosion in a budget environment this tight may seem paradoxical, but it makes more sense than the alternative. So much sense that it just might happen. (Nextgov)

Budget cuts cause delays in Ala. forensic tests
The funding crisis in Alabama's General Fund budget is being felt in particular by law enforcement agencies and district attorney's offices with delays in critical lab work results needed to investigate crimes and bring cases to trial. (AP/The News-Courier)

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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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