The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 29, 2012
AM Reading: Lawmakers' hypocrisy; Stockton's path to bankruptcy; NY pension reform; FL legislators' insurance perk

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifDan Walters: California legislators show their hypocrisy over hunting issue
Dan Richards, who chairs the California Fish and Game Commission, is under fire in the Capitol because he killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed with his trophy for a picture that was later published on a hunting publication website. Forty Democratic legislators signed a letter to Richards saying he should resign. "Your actions raise serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws," the lawmakers told Richards. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom later joined the chorus. So let's get this straight. (Sacramento Bee)

Viewpoints: Pension costs are crushing local governments
Last week, Stanford's Institute for Economic Policy Research and California Common Sense released a report that confirmed what Californians have come to realize, yet many leaders still deny. From Stockton to San Diego, government pension costs are crushing local governments. (Sacramento Bee)

NV: Judge dismisses separation-of-powers lawsuit
A Carson City district judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a conservative think tank that challenged the constitutionality of public workers serving in the Legislature. (AP / Las Vegas Sun)

CA: Stockton, California OKs bond default plan
Stockton, California's city council approved a plan late on Tuesday night for the city to skip some bond payments in an effort to restructure its precarious finances and avoid becoming the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy. (Reuters)

CA: Editorial: Stockton's sad story a cautionary tale
Orange County's bankruptcy in 1994 was a watershed moment for municipal governments. Now, the dubious distinction of seeking bankruptcy protection may befall the city of Stockton. (Orange County Register)

California prisons clearing out
Images of California's overcrowded prisons are so striking that the U.S. Supreme Court included two photographs of the problem in last year's landmark opinion that forced the state to address the issue. (Sacramento Bee)

Jerry Brown's proposed budget counts on too much revenue, analyst says
Gov. Jerry Brown is counting on $6.5 billion too much for his proposed budget, even with Facebook's stock sale on the horizon, according to a new economic review by the state's fiscal analyst. (Sacramento Bee)

LA: Retirement System Board Opposes Jindal Revamp
The board that governs the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System is now on record in opposition to most of Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposed pension system overhaul. (AP / KTBS)

OR: Opinion: Universities can save by cutting middle management
With some prodding, the Oregon University System has agreed to analyze and explain the administrative structure at its seven campuses to the Legislature before the end of the year. This is the latest positive result from efforts by front-line state workers to improve efficiency in how the state operates. (Mail Tribune)

NY: 1,252 top Cuomo in state pay
Gov. Cuomo's their boss, but 1,252 underlings on the state payroll made more than he did last year. That's a nearly 26 percent increase over 2010, when 996 state workers got paid more than then-Gov. David Paterson. (New York Post)

NY Governor: Lack of Pension Reform Could "Bankrupt" Local Governments
Governor Andrew Cuomo took a step back from his proposal to give new state workers the option of defined contribution 401k plan Monday, but the governor says without pension reform, local governments in New York could end up "bankrupt. (WAMC)

WV: Column: A $1 billion windfall for thee, but not me?
Over the weekend came the exciting news that West Virginia officials have been so diligent in their work that the state now has saved $1 billion -- at least on paper. (Charleston Daily Mail)

AZ: Column: Personnel-reform plan lacks new protections
Gov. Jan Brewer's top legislative priority is dull but important: state personnel reform. She's unlikely to let the Legislature adjourn without some form of it passing. What Brewer proposes is radical. (Arizona Republic)

Florida lawmakers defeat proposed increase in their health insurance rates
TALLAHASSEE -- Sen. Joe Negron wants Florida legislators to pay as much for health insurance as state employees do. But a majority of his colleagues on the Senate Budget Committee voted Tuesday to keep the perk. (Palm Beach Post)

IL: Lawmakers allow new insurance bids from Health Alliance, Humana
State employees who want to continue to get health insurance through Health Alliance have reason to be optimistic after a bipartisan legislative panel paved the way Tuesday for the Urbana-based company to bid on a supplemental state contract. (The State Journal-Register)

SD: State employee bonus pay OK'd, but not funding
PIERRE -- A South Dakota House committee on Monday unanimously approved a revised version of Gov. Dennis Daugaard's plan to give state workers a one-time bonus but set aside only $4 to pay for it, giving lawmakers more time to decide how much to ultimately spend. (The Daily Republic)

NC: Amid retirements, state lawmakers benefit from pension perks
A cadre of veteran state lawmakers will retire at the end of the year - and special perks in state law allow them to land with a financial parachute. (Charlotte News & Observer)

WI: On Politics: Walker has 'zero' plan to tinker with WRS
Gov. Scott Walker on Friday sought to address fears he was considering tinkering with the state's retirement system - a fully funded program that is among the best of its kind in the country. (Wisconsin State Journal)

ALL EDITORIAL: For a sleeker bureaucracy
Over the years Alabama governors have commissioned reports on how to streamline state government, and, to no one's great surprise, they're forgotten just as quickly as they were written. That's why Gov. Robert Bentley's consolidation plans might be viewed with a wee bit of skepticism. This time, though, Bentley and some lawmakers say they are working to achieve a different outcome. (Huntsville Times)

PA: Overtime pays off for state workers
Twenty-one of the 23 highest-paid employees at the State Correctional Institution-Pittsburgh are guards or sergeants who made more than their supervisors last year by earning leave pay, shift differentials and massive amounts of overtime, a Pittsburg-area newspaper reported Sunday. (AP / Times-Herald)

SC: Retirement system proposal would cut $2.2 billion from deficit
Proposed changes to the state retirement system immediately would cut $2.2 billion from its $13 billion deficit, according to a review of the plan by an independent accounting firm. That is because, under the proposal, state workers' retirement benefits would be based on five years of salary instead of three years of salary, a move that could lower benefits. And state workers could no longer include unused sick and vacation days to earn higher benefits. (The State)

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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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