The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 13, 2012
A.M. Reading: CalPERS' versus ratings firms; double-dipping; VA pension contributions

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifJudge refuses to toss CalPERS suit against Moody's, S&P
CalPERS has won the right to pursue a $1 billion lawsuit against two Wall Street heavyweights, beating back their efforts to have the case thrown out of court. (Sacramento Bee)

The depressing toll of the Great Recession: Mental health problems mount nationwide while budgets for treatment and care are shrinking
In late 2009, as the unemployment rate in San Joaquin County, California, reached 18 percent and one in twelve homes were being foreclosed, two high school students in the town of Ripon, population 15,000, committed suicide within two months of each other. Over the next eighteen months, sixteen more teenagers around the county took their own lives, a not-uncommon occurrence that public health researchers refer to as "suicide contagion." Years of declining budgets had cut the number of counselors, nurses and psychologists in county schools, impairing the ability of individual districts to handle the needs of grieving students, parents and communities on their own. So school officials in cities like Ripon, Stockton, Lodi and Linden turned to each other for help. (Salon)

Editorial: Double-dipping in pensions needs to sunset
Sacramento County Executive Brad Hudson assumed his new job with ambitions of attacting economic development and shoring up the county's shaky financial house. We hope he achieves those goals, but it won't be easy, given his emerging status as a poster child for what is wrong with the pension system for governmental managers and public employees in California. Hudson earns more than a quarter-million dollars a year as Sacramento's CEO, $258,000 plus benefits, to be precise. At the same time, he collects a sizable public pension. (Sacramento Bee)

AG Upholds Policy Limiting State Worker Raises
The head of the state workers' union said Thursday he's not likely to pursue any further challenge to a Haslam administration policy excluding problem employees from across-the-board pay raises. (Missouri News Horizon)

High-speed rail project's chief, board chairman resigning
The chief administrator of California's high-speed rail project, who endured withering criticism of the project under his watch, announced his resignation Thursday. (Sacramento Bee)

30 more state workers implicated in scandal
HARTFORD -- Another 30 state employees have been implicated -- and the first termination was proceeding Thursday -- in the federal disaster-aid scandal, bringing the total to 74 workers who face disciplinary charges and possible criminal prosecution. (Connecticut Post)

Kan. gov.'s budget contains no pay increase for state workers but funds longevity bonuses
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback isn't including a general pay increase for state employees in his proposed budget. But the spending plan Brownback outlined Thursday would continue to fund a program that provides longevity bonuses to veteran state employees during the fiscal year that begins July 1. (AP/The Republic)

Vt. governor's budget details future for state workers displaced by flooding
MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says he hopes to move some state workers to Barre, others to Montpelier and is hoping the flooded state office complex in Waterbury can be refurbished to house a unified Agency of Human Services. (AP/The Republic)

Virginia Political Notebook: State workers may have to pay more to pensions
RICHMOND -- State workers would have to contribute a greater percentage of their pay toward their pensions under a plan Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Thursday. (Roanoke Times)

NYC Actuary Said to Seek Cut in Pension-Fund Return Rate to 7%
New York's chief actuary is recommending that the city's $115.2 billion pension plans lower their assumed annual rate of return on assets to 7 percent from 8 percent, which would open a funding gap of at least $2 billion next year, according to two people familiar with the proposal. (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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