The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 4, 2012
A.M. Reading: Union website hacked; SD bonuses proposed; Costa Mesa leaders hike their CalPERS contributions

Daugaard Proposes Bonus for South Dakota State Workers
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, talks with Bloomberg's Amanda J. Crawford about the state's budget and his proposal to give across-the-board bonuses for state workers. As governors in some states continue to wage war on public employee unions, cost cutting followed by higher-than-expected revenue has officials in South Dakota and other states looking to spend the first surplus dollars in years. (Bloomberg)

Wellness program approved despite concerns
An Oregon labor relations board has sided with the state regarding a controversial state workers wellness program, ruling that the measure is not subject to union negotiations. (Statesman Journal)

Rival California peace officers union slams handling of website hacking
A shadowy computer hacking group's recent seizure of peace officers' personal information from a union website prompted a call Tuesday for a legislative investigation. (Sacramento Bee)

California and Sacramento-area teachers took pay hits last year
School districts across California slashed teacher payrolls by historic amounts last school year, cutting 15,000 teachers and $1 billion from their budgets, according to a Bee review of new state data. (Sacramento Bee)

Might a Grand Compromise Prevent an Initiative War?
Contrary initiatives on taxes, spending limits, pension reforms and other proposals are working their way through the qualifying process, as the new legislative session is about to start. Is there a chance that the legislature can come together on a grand compromise proposal that would undercut the initiatives from moving forward? (Fox & Hounds blog)

Hatch: Leaders agree to pay more into CalPERS
COSTA MESA -- Several of the city's civilian department heads have agreed to pay the maximum amount allowed toward their state pensions, city CEO Tom Hatch announced at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The news will likely be seen as a victory for the City Council majority, which throughout the last year has been calling on city employees to pay more toward their California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) costs. (Daily Pilot)

California campaign finance site returns after technical troubles
California's campaign finance and lobbying disclosure database got back up and running in time for the New Year. Cal-Access went back online at 5:54 p.m. on Friday, according to a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen, ending a month of technical troubles that had blocked online filings and public access to the reporting database for all but 30 hours since November 30. (Sacramento Bee)

Elected officials, 2,000 others get extra benefit
Riverside County's elected officials and 2,000 other employees receive a supplemental retirement benefit -- in addition to the pension contributions each receives through CalPers, county records show. The benefits generally are $100 a month and cost the county more than $2.5 million a year. (The Press-Enterprise)

Jacksonville State workers get extra holiday
JACKSONVILLE -- Employees at Jacksonville State University are getting an extra day off because of a power outage. Officials said the school extended its holiday break through Tuesday because of an outage that affected campus about 6 p.m. Monday. (AP / Montgomery Advertiser)

Attorney Says State Violated Privacy Laws
The attorney representing 17 of the 44 state employees accused of fraud for obtaining post-Irene food stamp benefits says the Department of Social Services violated the privacy rights of his clients when disclosing their names and Social Security numbers to others also being investigated. (ctnewsjunkie.com)

Recall groups file appeal of judge's order
Recall campaigns targeting Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators have filed an appeal of a Waukesha County judge's order and asked a Madison-based appeals court to stay that order while the appeal is being considered. ... The recall efforts mark the state's second big round in a year, in the wake of battles over the budget and limitations to public-employee collective bargaining last winter and spring. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Walker, divided at one year
With Jan. 3 marking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's one-year mark in office, several residents expressed differing opinions on whether the state was better off, or not, under his leadership. few people said they were supportive of Walker, but wanted to remain nameless because of concerns about backlash. Several had business connections and said customers or associates might be upset or even not associate with them if they publicized their views. (Beloit Daily News)

State employees' union head says workers have already given enough
With Governor Cuomo scheduled to give his state-of-the-state address Wednesday, advocacy groups rallied in Albany Tuesday, at the site of the former Occupy Albany encampment. They pressed the governor for action on hunger, poverty and health issues. Click here to download audio. (North County Public Radio)

Connecticut's Projected Surplus Is Up
The state's projected surplus for fiscal year 2012 is $83.7 million, up $4.6 million from last month, according to state officials. However, Comptroller Kevin Lembo said the number carries several risk factors and a "significant shortfall" is possible in the employee health accounts. (NBC Connecticut)

'Double-dipping' debate resumes
A call to stop public employees in Ohio from collecting a salary and pension check at the same time is before the legislature again. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Why Public Pensions Are So Rich
According to government union leaders, their employee retirement benefits are "not lavish by any means." So says Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation. According to the American Federation of Teachers, public-employee pensions "typically are modest." And the Service Employees International Union asserts that "After decades of full-time work for the state, the sad truth is that far too many retired state employees receive yearly amounts that force them to live in poverty." These claims are misleading, but reformers have a hard time conveying to taxpayers precisely how generous public-sector retirement benefits can be. (Wall Street Journal)

New Jersey Public Workers Retire at Fastest Clip in a Decade
Retirements among New Jersey state and local-government workers climbed 11 percent last year, to the highest rate in at least a decade, as Governor Chris Christie raised their pension and health-care expenses. (Bloomberg)

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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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