The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 26, 2012
A.M. Reading: CCPOA's leave settlement; OR wellness program; CA realignment's impact; FL state worker drug test bill

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifThe State Worker: California settles up -- interest free -- with prison guards union
California's prison officers union is getting a loan from taxpayers - interest-free - to settle a multimillion-dollar debt it owes the state. (Sacramento Bee)

Local AFSCME union chapter at odds with leaders
State workers in an Oregon AFSCME local are staging a protest vote about a controversial new wellness program that, if successful, will hit their union square in the pocketbook. (Statesman Journal)

Public Pensions Increase Private-Equity Investments
Large public pension plans are pouring more money into private-equity funds, deepening ties between government workers and an industry currently under the harsh glare of U.S. presidential politics. (Wall Street Journal)

Atherton Interim City Manager John Danielson forced to resign Friday
Atherton Interim City Manager John Danielson will have to step down Friday because the California Public Employees' Retirement System rejected the town's request to extend his contract one more year while it searches for a replacement. (Mercury News)

California county jails coping with bigger inmate population
In California's Kern County this fall, a female convict was sentenced to nine years in the county jail on multiple drug charges. In the past, she would have been sent to state prison -- Kern County facilities were only designed to hold inmates for a year at the most. But as part of the state's "realignment" program to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, county jails and probation officers are now responsible on a long-term basis for offenders convicted of non-violent crimes, like drug or property crimes, who previously would have been sent to state custody. (Stateline)

States weaken tenure rights for teachers
WASHINGTON (AP) - America's public school teachers are seeing their generations-old tenure protections weakened as states seek flexibility to fire teachers who aren't performing. (USA Today)

Fla. could allow random testing of public workers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Republican-led Florida Legislature is pushing ahead with a bill that would allow random drug testing of state workers and other public employees every three months, despite ongoing questions about the legality of the plan. (AP / Miami Herald)

Louisiana state pension proposal features 'cash-balance' plan, later retirement
Gov. Bobby Jindal rolled out a proposal Wednesday for a massive overhaul of state employee pension systems that would move some new workers to a 401(k)-style plan, increase the retirement age for some existing employees and require increased contributions from some in the existing systems. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Indiana is the latest battleground over organized labor laws
INDIANAPOLIS-- -- Lawmakers on Wednesday all but guaranteed Indiana will become the first Midwest, industrial state to limit the ability of labor unions to collect dues, but opponents are not giving up and plan to leverage next week's Super Bowl here to amplify the debate. (Chicago Tribune)

State considers new pharmacy plan without Walgreens
State employees, retirees and their dependents could no longer fill their prescriptions at Walgreens under a contract being considered by Maryland's Board of Public Works. (Baltimore Sun)

Editorial: Pension Plutocrats: Federal system pays outsize rewards to chosen few
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich receives a federal pension of $100,200 per year. Former vice president Dick Cheney gets $125,976. Former senator Tom Daschle receives $105,804, while his former colleague Bob Dole gets $144,432. (The Post-Standard)

Lawmakers and union leaders criticize Gov. Cuomo's pension tier plan
ALBANY -- Gov. Cuomo's plan to trim state and city pension costs -- in part by offering 401(k) options -- was hammered Wednesday by lawmakers and union leaders. (New York Daily News)

Lawmakers want more information on Quinn closures
SPRINGFIELD | The Quinn administration may have to scuttle its plan to shut down two state facilities without having to explain details of the closures to lawmakers. (NWI.com)

Public-pension shift leads first set of reforms proposed by Zarelli
Three measures introduced by Sen. Joseph Zarelli illustrate the range of reforms he says legislators can and should adopt during the 2012 session to continue moving state government toward financial stability. (The State Column)

Over Past 10 Years, Hawaii Pension Investments At Bottom of Pack
A recent report shows that Hawaii's public pension fund ranked at the bottom among comparable funds for its investment returns over the past decade. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

W.Va. public pensions all made gains in FY2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Funding levels for West Virginia's public pension plans all improved during the last budget year. (AP / WTOV)

Government Lay Offs Affect Northwest Economy
Across the Northwest, government agencies and schools have laid off thousands of workers. Just like corporate downsizing, those public sector job losses have a human and an economic impact. (KLCC)

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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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