The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 5, 2012
A.M. Reading: CA legislators' cars sold; EDD worker arrested; NC layoffs hit women, minorities hardest

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifLawmakers' cars going, going ... gone!
The Capitol parking garage should have some extra spaces this spring. The Legislature has spent the last two months selling cars it had previously purchased for lawmakers, a move mandated by the California Citizens Compensation Commission's decision to cut the car perk legislators have enjoyed for decades. (Sacramento Bee)

See the sale prices for California legislators' state cars
The state Legislature has taken a loss of more than $1 million on the sale of dozens of cars it had purchased for legislators over the years. (Sacramento Bee)

CA: Three arrested in unemployment insurance scheme
Federal authorities have arrested three Inland residents in connection with a scheme to issue unemployment checks to people who did not qualify for benefits, federal authorities said Thursday in a statement. (Press-Enterprise)

High-speed rail tapped state funds for unusual lobbying contract
In an extremely unusual use of taxpayer money, the leaders behind California's $99 billion high-speed train quietly hired a lobbyist to sway the Legislature -- the same politicians who appointed them to build the project in the first place. (Mercury News)

Commentary: Are state employees not fessing up to tobacco use?
Lord knows we all love state employees. And woe be unto any local politician who dares doubt that each and every state employee is among the best, hardest-working, finest-looking people ever created. (Austin Statesman)

Opinion: The Legislature's corporate corrections push could cost Floridians greatly
Privatization has become the rallying cry of Florida's legislative leaders facing budget cuts every year. Private companies have long been needed to efficiently complete government projects, such as road construction. But unfortunately today, some lawmakers want to privatize state prisons for the sake of privatization -- ignoring real numbers, hardworking correctional officers and public safety. (Tampa Bay Online)

WA: Government purchasing might be consolidated under 1 official
State government spends more than $1 billion on goods and services a year - from computers to consultants - all of which soon might come under a single official and single set of rules. (The Olympian)

OR: Bill targets blurred line of contracts
A bill targeting sweetheart deals for retiring state workers received its first hearing Friday at the state Legislature. House Bill 4130 would require state employees who leave an agency to wait one year before they can go to work for a company that contracts with that same agency. (Statesman Journal)

N.C. job reductions hit women, minorities hardest
Women and minorities were disproportionately hit by the budget cuts to state government last year. Data provided by the state show that 58 percent of those who lost their jobs in this budget year were women, contrasted with the fact that 47 percent of the workforce in state agencies was female before the cuts. Forty percent of the laid-off workers were minorities, although they only comprised 34 percent of the state agency workforce. (News & Observer)

IA: Branstad wants elected officials to lead by paying 20 percent of health costs
Feb. 03--Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday he would like to see elected officials in Iowa "lead by example" by paying for 20 percent of the cost of their state-provided health insurance coverage. (The Gazette)

Arizona court: Employees don't have to pay larger share of state pensions
A judge has slapped down efforts by lawmakers to help balance the budget by forcing more than 200,000 state, university and school employees to pay a larger share of pension contributions. (East Valley Tribune)

NH: Critics pan NH bill creating new pension system
CONCORD, N.H. -- Critics of a proposal to create a new public pension system urged New Hampshire lawmakers Thursday to spend more time studying the idea, warning that the planned changes could make it more difficult to recruit and retain good employees. (CBS Money Watch)

FL: State considering major changes in employees' health insurance
A House committee Thursday approved a proposal that would make major changes in the state-employee health insurance system, shifting responsibilities to workers and making the system more closely resemble private-sector health plans. (News Service of Florida / Herald-Tribune)

AZ: Brewer pushes reform to make it easier to fire state workers
Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday publicly prodded lawmakers to take up her proposal to revamp state government's personnel system, warning that she won't consider Senate Republican bills targeting public-employee unions before her own measures win approval. (AP / AZCentral.com)

NY: Cuomo's push to control pension costs gains support from business advocates
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's push to control state pension costs is getting support from area business advocates. (Buffalo News)

NV: State audits suggests better controls on procurement cards and confidential computer information
The state should impose tighter control on the use of its purchase cards by its employees and should also do more to protect confidential information stored in its computer systems. (Las Vegas Sun)

IL: Union members rally in front of Quinn's office to demand raises
Demanding raises that Gov. Pat Quinn has canceled, dozens of members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees rallied Thursday in front of the governor's office, causing a brief confrontation with Secretary of State police officers. (Lincoln Courier / State Journal-Register)

CT: As State Workers Seek New Unions, Critics Say State Should Stay Out Of The Fight
Two Republican state lawmakers and a union seeking to represent state workers say Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration is wasting taxpayer money on lawyers to fight employees' right to vote for a different union. (Hartford Courant)

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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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