The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 27, 2012
A.M. Reading: 'Unfiring' at Caltrans; SD debates collective bargaining; AL pension fund's problems

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifEditorial: Caltrans sidesteps accountability - again
This week's settlement between Caltrans and Duane Wiles is disturbing on several levels. The deal, which essentially "unfires" a technician who falsified safety tests and allows him to resign, shows how difficult it can be to dismiss state employees, no matter how badly they violate the public trust. (Sacramento Bee)

Interim director: PDC is not closing
The possible closure of the Porterville Developmental Center, potential layoffs, the status of the secure treatment area and the center's budget were the big topics of a town hall meeting Wednesday afternoon inside the facility's Carl F. Broderick Auditorium. (Porterville Recorder)

Editorial: State should put an end to plum patronage boards
To save money and make government more efficient, Gov. Jerry Brown, like his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, proposes to eliminate dozens of state boards and commissions that have outlived their usefulness. (Sacramento Bee)

Editorial: Pension pipe-dream.
Undue optimism will not pay for California's public pension costs. The state instead needs retirement benefits that are sustainable long-term, and not an increasing drag on public budgets. Pension officials should base financial planning on cautious projections, and not rosy assumptions. (Press-Enterprise)

Bill would ban public employees from collective bargaining
South Dakota lawmakers will debate a bill proposed by state Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, banning collective bargaining by public employees this session. (Rapid City Journal)

Bill would give public employees options for retirement: pensions or individual accounts
JUNEAU, Alaska -- Union leaders on Thursday voiced support for a measure that would allow public employees to choose between a retirement account, like a 401(k), or earning a traditional pension. (AP / The Republic)

Cutting off public pensions of officials convicted of corruption is fair: An editorial
... Two bills filed for the upcoming legislative session seek to deny publicly financed pensions to public employees convicted of felony corruption charges, and lawmakers should pass these proposals. (Times-Picayune)

113 Huntsville city employees mulling retirement, including police chief and city administrator
The chief of police and the mayor's second-in-command are among 113 Huntsville employees who have filed paperwork indicating plans to retire on March 1. Police Chief Mark Hudson and City Administrator Rex Reynolds both said they would like to continue working but are concerned about their Retirement Systems of Alabama pensions. RSA's investment income has grown just 3 percent over the last decade; many state lawmakers say changes are needed to keep the program financially stable. (al.com)

The Right to Be Healthy: Supreme Court Weighs Sick Leave for State Workers
One day in August 2007, Daniel Coleman, an administrator in the Maryland court system, decided he should stay home to recover from an illness, as his doctor had ordered. But the day after he requested time off, he suddenly had more to worry about than his health; he was unemployed, too. (Huffington Post)

Pinnacol Assurance Privatization Could Net State $340 Million, Help Fund Economic Development, Scholarships
Pinnacol Assurance, the state-chartered insurance firm, has had a rough couple years. ... Now, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has recommended Pinnacol Assurance restructure via the legislative process. The ultimate goal, according to a press release from the governor's office, would establish a more competitive "level playing field." on (Huffington Post)

State Employee Retirement Changes
Governor Bobby Jindal announced some major changes he wants in place to deal with the state's retirement pension plan which he says is in trouble. (KLFY)

Editorial: Time to reduce or even ground state's aircraft
State Rep. Bill Mitchell has the right idea about selling or grounding the state's air fleet. It's unlikely that it will happen, or even get much consideration, but Mitchell's idea is one of hundreds the state should consider to extract itself from a huge budget hole. The state currently operates a fleet of 16 aircraft -- 13 small passenger planes and three helicopters. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the state planned to spend $7 million on the fleet during the 2012 fiscal year, about $1 million more than the previous year. (The Pantagraph)

Doing campaign work on legislative time was 'common,' ex-aide to state Rep. Bill DeWeese testifies
An ex-aide who said she spent years running state Rep. Bill DeWeese's district election campaigns said today that it was "common" for his state-paid staff to do campaign work on the taxpayers' time. (The Patriot News)

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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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