The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 2, 2011
More hearings ahead for California's public pension committee?

Thursday's hearing on Gov. Jerry Brown's pension proposal marked the second hearing held by the Legislature's newly created Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions, and there may be more.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced the creation of the committee in September, saying the findings of its interim hearings would "fast forward consideration of the issue before the Legislature reconvenes in January."

But the tone of Thursday's hearing suggested the preliminary work of the committee, which was supposed to report back to the Legislature next month, could extend well into the new year.

"This cannot be a two-hearing answer," said Democratic Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, co-chair of the panel.

A spokeswoman for Democratic Assemblyman Warren Furutani, also a co-chair, said the committee will probably end up holding at least four hearings in all "in order to get through all of the information."

Brown, who appeared before the panel to make the case for his plan, acknowledged that devising a solution could take time. The Democratic governor, who is still working out specifics of his own plan, suggested lawmakers act carefully but at a "deliberate speed."

"When we're dealing with a 40-year matter, you don't have to deal with it in 40 minutes, or 40 days or even 40 months," Brown said. "We have time here. ... I think we have a little time to work on it, realizing that each day we are off, we are digging our hole a little deeper."

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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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