The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 21, 2012
Ron Yank leaving top post as Jerry Brown's personnel director

Two sources have told The State Worker that Ron Yank is leaving the director's chair at the Department of Personnel Administration. Department spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley confirmed Yank's impending departure a few minutes ago.

The Brown administration hasn't yet named a successor to the state's top labor relations job, which Yank has held for a little over a year. Jolley said that Yank is leaving "around the end of this month."

Critics assumed that Gov. Jerry Brown named Yank, a retired labor lawyer, to the job as a make-good to public employee unions that supported his campaign, particularly the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Yank counted CCPOA and the state's fire fighters' union as clients for many years before he retired from Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP. His son, Jonathan Yank, also is a lawyer based in the firm's San Francisco office and handled CCPOA cases.

Yank countered that he would be an honest, impartial broker who would bring the respect of labor and years of experience to repair management relations damaged during epic battles with GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A few months after ank took the job, he closed contract talks with six unions that had refused to come to terms with Schwarzenegger.

Later, when Brown pressed to send more convicted criminals to local jails and downsize the state prison system, Yank negotiated key labor agreements that streamlined the layoff process for Corrections and Rehabilitation Department employees. The deal also eased the transfer process for state workers in the department to make it easier them to move from crowded facilities to others with vacancies.

Recently, Yank also ended the state's long-running dispute with CCPOA over union paid leave and settled furlough lawsuits with SEIU Local 1000 and the state's attorneys' union. CCPOA and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association also recently dropped their furlough litigation.

We're planning to talk with Yank later today.

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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


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