The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 2, 2012
A.M. Reading: CA state payroll; federal pay freeze; PA unions pitch budget cut alternatives

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCalifornia government payroll grew by $500 million in 2011 as furloughs eased
State government payroll increased by half a billion dollars last year, even as California cut thousands of state worker jobs, according to a Bee analysis of new data from the Controller's Office. (Sacramento Bee)

OR: Lawmakers consider supervisor ratio
A bill intended to accelerate middle management reductions in Oregon state government got off to a rocky start before skeptical legislators Wednesday. (Statesman Journal)

The State Worker: How hard is it to fire a state worker?
Caltrans' recent decision to "unfire" an employee who admitted falsifying structural tests and let him retire may leave you wondering, How hard is it to fire a state worker? (Sacramento Bee)

Spending on lobbying sets record
Businesses, organized labor and other interests spent a record amount lobbying California state government last year, nearly 6 percent more than they did in 2010. (Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS project developer fined
In the last chapter of a CalPERS real estate investment gone bad, the project's developer was sentenced for making illegal campaign contributions to win support for the deal. (Sacramento Bee)

Legislator's mass email raises concerns
More than 500 people have asked that their home email addresses be removed from a list compiled by a top Oregon legislator, who got the addresses through public records requests with state agencies. (Statesman Journal)

NY: 50,000 state workers still without a contract
ALBANY -- Members of the Council 82 state law enforcement union were so upset at last spring's initial contract offer from the Cuomo administration that they not only rejected the deal, but started their own union. (Albany Times-Union)

House votes to continue federal worker pay freeze
WASHINGTON -- The House on Wednesday voted to freeze the wages of federal workers for a third straight year and put members of Congress on record as opposing a boost in their $174,000 annual salaries. (AP / Albany Times-Union)

SC: 'Pay-for-play' scheme probed at state's $25 billion retirement system
SLED has launched an investigation into allegations of a "pay-for-play" scheme involving South Carolina's $25 billion retirement fund for state workers. (The State)

Arizona: Panel Votes to Ban Collective Bargaining
A State Senate committee voted Wednesday to ban collective bargaining with public employee unions, a change that would be felt in school districts and local governments. (AP / New York Times)

Pennsylvania employees' unions suggest ways to cut state budget
State labor unions want legislators to know there are alternatives to the sweeping cuts they anticipate seeing in Gov. Tom Corbett's budget proposal. (The Patriot-News)

LA: State agencies hoping to privatize some services
Two state agencies served notice Wednesday that they want to privatize some of their services by mid-year, moves that could cost more than 200 state employees their jobs. The proposals to outsource some jobs to private contractors were pitched to the state Civil Service Commission by the Office of Student Financial Assistance and three units of the Department of Health and Hospitals. (The Times-Picayune)

Pensions may cost NH $25m more
CONCORD - A superior court ruling making it illegal to draw more from the paychecks of veteran public employees to support their pensions could cost the state retirement system at least $25 million a year. (Nashua Telegraph)

Illinois: Report targets state workers, retirees
SPRINGFIELD -- State government employees and retirees would get hit in the pocketbook if the General Assembly adopts recommendations from the Chicago-based Civic Federation designed to avoid a financial meltdown. (The Daily Journal)

FL: Acting Workforce chief asks state to review lease of computers
The new leaders of Workforce Central Florida have asked the state to review the 2006 lease of more than 900 computers that may never have received board approval. (Orlando Sentinel)

LA: Civil Service Commission stomps proposal to shift state jobs to UNO
The state Civil Service Commission rejected, 7-0, Wednesday a proposal by the state Department of Health and Hospitals that would have turned over more of its information technology program to the University of New Orleans, possibly costing 67 DHH workers their jobs. Commission Chairman David Duplantier of Covington led the charge to derail the proposal, telling agency officials the data they provided to justify the outsourcing was "woefully inadequate." (The Times-Picayune)

FL: Another drug testing program, this time for state workers, getting attention
State employees could be randomly tested for illegal drug use every three months under a proposal that is making its way through the Legislature. The Senate's Government Oversight and Accountability Committee is the latest panel to sign off on the measure, which says employees can be fired or disciplined after just one failed drug test. (Miami Herald)

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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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