The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 30, 2012
Jerry Brown starts clock on sweeping government overhaul

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGA three-month countdown started today on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to downsize state government.

The administration delivered an eight-page proposal to the Little Hoover Commission that would, among other things, reduce the number of state agencies from 12 to 10, consolidate some departments and eliminate others.

"The state's bureaucracy is a labyrinth of disjointed boards, commissions, agencies and departments," said Brown said in a press release this afternoon. "This common sense plan makes government more efficient, responsive and coordinated and will ultimately save taxpayer dollars."

Brown made the sweeping changes part of his state budget draft in January. Now Little Hoover has 30 days to review the plan and issue recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. The plan goes into effect unless a majority in either the Assembly or the Senate reject it within 60 days of receiving the commission's report.

Click here for the governor's letter to The Little Hoover Commission and summary of the consolidation plan. You can see the reorganization plan delivered to the commission by clicking the link below.

March 30, 2012
PM Reading: WI bargaining law; lottery workers left out; NY pension plan stampede
March 30, 2012
Check out what IUOE Local 501 spent on political activities

This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of today, March 30, 2012.

The 12,000 or so skilled craftsmen, maintenance staff and equipment operators in Bargaining Unit 12 are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Craft Maintenance Division, California locals 3, 12, 39 and 501. Another 900 or so building maintenance and operations employees in Bargaining Unit 13 are represented by IUOE locals 39 and 501.

IUOE Local 501 reported about $30,000 cash in its PAC's bank as of this month. Since January 2011, it has spent $11,219 with roughly half that going to political contributions. The PAC reported no contributions in the 15-month period.

State employees in Units 12 and 13 make up a small part of the IUOE membership. Collectively, the four locals represent some 250 city, county, special districts, and schools bargaining units, according to the Unit 12 website, many of them outside of California. State workers are assigned to a local based on job class and geography.

As you look through the tables that follow, remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations received (usually from members) and donations made to political campaigns and causes. In some cases, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open tables with more detailed information on the union's political spending.

To get a sense of similar spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org. The California data on that site run through December 2010.


March 30, 2012
Poll: How much does money matter?

A reader called on Thursday to strongly disagree with this week's State Worker column, which looked at a bill that would cap state pay at what the governor earns, currently about $174,000 per year.

The column suggested that the cap idea doesn't acknowledge key differences between what motivates people to aspire to the executive and what motivates them to become, say, a state university president, CalPERS investment manager or a nuclear physicist.

The caller contended that the state doesn't need to compete for talented individuals to run departments, conduct nuclear research, manage investments or to perform other high-level, high-skill jobs. Public service and love of the work, he said, is a reward in itself. Plenty of competent folks would line up for jobs that he said currently overpay incumbents.

And anyone who passed on a job because they wanted more money? "The state doesn't need them," the caller said.

What do you think? How much should money matter to public servants? Do some care about it less than others? Take our poll and leave your comments:


March 29, 2012
Republicans propose state worker pay cut to help budget

This from The Bee's Kevin Yamamura on our sister blog, Capitol Alert:

Legislative Republicans rolled out a budget plan Thursday that relies on cutting state worker pay, eliminating affordable housing funds and using pots of money dedicated for mental health and childhood development.

Republicans believe their plan eliminates the state's $9.2 billion deficit without new taxes and preserves the same amount of funding for education that existed last year. They say it undercuts Gov. Jerry Brown's argument that voters must pass higher taxes in November to spare schools from deep reductions.

Read the rest of his report by clicking here.

March 29, 2012
State workers 'Bill of Rights' clears first legislative hurdle

The so-called "Public Employees Bill of Rights," Assembly Bill 1655 has cleared its first legislative committee review.

The six-member Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security passed the measure 4-1 on Wednesday. Democratic Assemblymembers Warren Furutani, Michael Allen, Bob Wieckowski and Fiona Ma voted for it. Republican Allan Mansoor voted against it. Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, did not vote.

The measure, which strengthens California state employee job protections and sets new workload standards, now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. No hearing date has been scheduled yet.

Related posts:

Committee hears pro and con of 'Public Employees Bill of Rights'
State government contracting debate back at California's Capitol
Assembly Bill 1655

March 29, 2012
Column Extra: Who earns more than Jerry Brown?

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, most of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our column in today's fiber/cyber Bee filters the debate over state workers' wages through Senate Bill 1368, which would cap state pay -- including overtime -- at what the governor earns, about $174,000 per year.

So we asked our state worker pay database guru, Phillip Reese, to find out how many state employees would have been affected last year if SB 1368 had been law, and what job classes dominated that pay strata. We also asked him to look at UC system employees (the latest data we have for them is for 2010) to get a sense of how many of them made more than the governor. SB 1368 wouldn't affect them, though, because the UC system is constitutionally protected, but the bill encourages its leaders to conform to the cap.

Here's Phillip's email answering my questions:

About 2,015 civil service, CSU and legislative workers earned base pay over $174,000 in 2011, state controller's data show. Another 2,560 UC employees earned that much in 2010, according to the most recent data available from the UC system. So about 4,500 total -- a number that almost doubles if you look at total pay, which includes overtime, bonuses, etc. (I know Anderson, in his bill, cited "more than 8,000 workers," which is in line with my numbers if looking at total pay, instead of just base pay.)

By far, the largest job class in this group is physicians, mostly working at UC hospitals, state prisons and state mental health facilities. About 2,100 of the 4,500 are doctors, dentists or psychiatrists. Running far behind, but with more than 200 employees making that much, are judges, senior professors and top administrators at myriad agencies.

RELATED POSTS:
Anderson bill would cap state worker pay at Jerry Brown's salary
Steinberg: state worker pay cap bill 'worth considering'

March 28, 2012
Citrus Heights pension reformer sued for not contributing to retirement accounts

Marcia Fritz, the high-profile advocate for public employee reform, is being sued by two of her former employees for allegedly withholding money for their 401(k) accounts but failing to promptly make the contributions.

"There's absolutely nothing to it," Fritz said in a telephone conversation this afternoon. She said the action is "frivolous" and that she's planning to file her own counter lawsuit against plaintiffs Colleen and Tannith Mitchell.

The mother and daughter say that Fritz, a CPA and former head of Citrus Heights-based Marcia Fritz & Co., didn't make timely retirement savings contributions withheld from their pay checks, didn't pay them overtime and failed to provide meal and rest breaks.

Fritz said today that she has since sold her interest in the firm, although she's still available for consulting work.

Dave Low, chairman of union coalition Californians for Retirement Security, brought up the lawsuit during a pension policy face-off with Fritz at the Sacramento Press Club luncheon today. Low and Fritz have publicly sparred over the pension issue for the last few years.

Click the link below to read the court complaint.

March 28, 2012
Committee hears pro and con of 'Public Employees Bill of Rights'

Thumbnail image for 110304 Dickinson Randal Benton 2010.JPGIt looks like the so-called "Public Employees Bill of Rights" is on the way to clearing its first legislative hurdle after the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security listened to brief arguments for and against the measure and then voted 3-1 in favor of the measure.

Because it needs one more "aye" from the six-member panel to pass, the bill was placed "on call" until the two absent members could vote.

Democratic Assemblymembers Warren Furutani, Michael Allen and Fiona Ma supported the bill. Republican Allan Mansoor opposed. Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont and Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, were not present.

Assembly Bill 1655, written by Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento, which would give rank-and-file state workers explicit preference over outside contractors for state work, shorten the period employers would have to discipline employees and guarantee protections against increased workloads brought on by furloughs or layoffs.

The measure has several other employee protections extended to other state employees, Dickinson said this morning, and that much of the bill is already standard practice or contained in labor contracts.

"But those can change," Dickinson said, whereas his bill would take "basic items and codify them."

Several labor groups voiced support, including representatives from SEIU Local 1000, AFSC ME and associations representing state attorneys, physicians, dentists and state university workers.

All suggested that the bill would save the state money and provide much-needed protections to employees.

Jennifer Barrera of the California Chamber of Commerce said the Dickinson bill would "disadvantage the private sector" in competing for state work and the measure has ambiguous language regarding employee workloads and quotas that could trigger litigation or drive up the state's employee costs to avoid lawsuits.

"We disagree this would be a cost-saving measure," Barrera said.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Roger Dickinson / Sacramento Bee file 2010, Randall Benton

March 27, 2012
See what IUOE Local 39 spent on politics in 2011

This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.

The 12,000 or so skilled craftsmen, maintenance staff and equipment operators in Bargaining Unit 12 are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Craft Maintenance Division, California locals 3, 12, 39 and 501.

Last year IUOE Local 39 reported no donations received, but spent about $46,000 and ended the year with close to $254,000 in the bank. It spent roughly $34,000on political campaigns and causes, including $10,000 to the Asian Small Business PAC.

State employees in Unit 12 make up a small part of the total IUOE membership. Collectively, the four locals represent some 250 city, county, special districts, and schools bargaining units, according to the Unit 12 website, some outside of California. State workers are assigned to a local based on job class and geography.

As you look through the tables that follow, remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations received (usually from members) and donations made to political campaigns and causes. In some cases, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open tables with more detailed information on the union's political spending.

To get a sense of similar spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org. The California data on that site run through December 2010.

March 27, 2012
Wednesday hearing set for California 'Public Employees Bill of Rights'

The Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee will consider Assembly Bill 1655, also known as the "Public Employee Bill of Rights," at a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The measure gained a bit of attention when Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, introduced it last month. The measure would extend some job protections to rank-and-file state workers that are already afforded public safety employees, plus gives civil servants explicit preference for work the state needs to have done.

Dickinson has tweaked the bill's language a bit.

A provision to shorten the statute of limitations for employers to press disciplinary action against a employee has been changed from one year to one year from the discovery of an alleged offense.

The first version of the legislation gave rank-and-file state employees first dibs on state work ahead of excluded employees and outside contractors. The revision strikes the reference to excluded employees.

March 27, 2012
AM Reading: Democrats don't want budget cuts; OR pension check error, MA state payroll goes online

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCalifornia legislative Democrats balk at Jerry Brown's budget cuts
In a show of good faith one year ago, legislative Democrats slashed Medi-Cal, cut universities and reduced welfare grants to slice the state deficit 13 weeks before the constitutional deadline. But this year Democrats are refusing to go along with Gov. Jerry Brown's most controversial reductions, spurning his demand to have cuts in place by March. (Sacramento Bee)

CA: AM Alert: Shack up with a student, lose your pension
Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto will introduce her own pension legislation today with a bill aimed at cracking down on student-teacher relationships. Assembly Bill 1861 would eliminate pension and retiree benefits for teachers who have an inappropriate relationship with a student at the same school - even if the student is an adult. (Sacramento Bee)

Op-ed: Sam Blakeslee: Republicans back Jerry Brown's pension reforms; where are the Democrats?
There is a saying in the sales industry, "When you get a 'yes,' stop talking and take the order." Democrats in the state Legislature would do well to follow that axiom. (Mercury News)

US: States From Ohio to Florida Weigh Running Company Funds
Six U.S. states, led by Massachusetts and California, are taking steps to put public pension overseers in charge of retirement savings plans offered to nongovernment workers, according to an advocate of the idea. (Bloomberg)

March 26, 2012
Report says unions have big money advantage in politics

Here's one side of the argument you'll be hearing for the next seven months over the so-called "Stop Special Interest Money Now Act" the political-committee funding measure on the Nov. 7 ballot in California.

"DUES AND DEEP POCKETS: Public-Sector Unions' Money Machine," published by the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, argues that dues withheld by payroll deduction and paid directly to unions, along with rules that force employees to pay for representation even if they aren't members, gives labor "an abundant and reliable source of money, sparing unions the need to spend resources on recruitment, retention, and fund-raising."

Author Daniel DiSalvo says that means civil service unions have a serious advantage over other groups throwing elbows for government resources.

The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act would, among other things, prohibit use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes by unions, corporations or government contractors. Employees could still contribute to employer or union committees, but they'd have to do it annually and in writing. (Click here to read the measure.)

California unions' will take a big revenue hit if voters approve the as-yet-to-be-numbered proposition, since labor relies on members' payroll deductions to raise money for political spending. Business interests don't.
DUES AND DEEP POCKETS: Public-Sector Unions' Money Machine

March 26, 2012
CalPERS moves judge and lawmaker accounts into new computer system

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100607 CALPERS HQ.JPGOver the weekend, CalPERS moved judges and legislators' retirement accounts into its glitch-plagued, $500 million-plus my|CalPERS computer system.

According to an internal e-mail that we've posted below, the shift affects about 5,000 CalPERS members, dependents and beneficiaries, a tiny fraction of the fund's 1.6 million members. It's the last -- and most powerful -- group to be switched into the new computer system.

CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said that the fund years ago planned to bring judges and lawmakers into the system later than other members.

"The systems, program and benefits for these members are very different from State, School and PA members," Pacheco said in an e-mail. "These are completely separate funds, with dedicated staff. Our focus was on the integration of the 49 systems that supported the majority of our members knowing that the small, standalone legacy system that supported JRS/LRS could continue to operate."

CalPERS has a unit with "specialized knowledge in this area that members can contact if they have questions. This is not a change from the past, except now processing will be integrated into the larger my|CalPERS system," Pacheco said.

(By the way, voters ended pensions for those first elected to state offices in 1990 or after. CalPERS has statistics on judge and legislator pensions on its website. Click here and scroll down to pages 4 and 5 for more details.)

Here's the e-mail from Laura Enderton, CalPERS stakeholder relations manager:

March 26, 2012
Should California cap state pay at what the governor earns?

As reported last week, Senate Bill 1368 by Republican Sen. Joel Anderson, would set the top salary for state workers and officers at the $173,987 earned by the governor.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has said the pay cap measure is "worth considering."

What do you think?


March 23, 2012
New Jersey firm tied to Villalobos will pay $2.75 million

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com

A New Jersey drug company agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a state investigation stemming from its hiring of Alfred Villalobos, the figure at the center of the CalPERS bribery scandal.

Medco Health Solutions agreed to the settlement announced today by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The company also agreed to "change internal procedures," the attorney general said.

CalPERS fired Medco last year after it was revealed that the company had paid Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member, more than $4 million to allegedly help the company secure a new drug contract with the big pension fund.

March 22, 2012
Steinberg: state worker pay cap bill 'worth considering'

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said today he thinks a proposal to block many future state workers from making more than the governor is "worth considering."

"I think it's the right sentiment, but I think that we would want to look at its real world implications before we actually say yes," the Sacramento Democrat said in a meeting with reporters today.

Senate Bill 1368, by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, would cap pay for state workers and officers hired or appointed after Jan 1, 2013 at the salary approved for the governor, which is currently $173,987. The limit, which would include overtime pay, would not affect salaries set in current contracts or the state constitution. Employees at the University of California would be exempt because of constitutional protections.

Steinberg said while the idea is popular, he would want "to make sure that we weren't doing something that in some limited instance harmed the public mission" before deciding whether to support the bill.

"You've got world-renowned scientists and brain surgeons and people who are engaged in world-leading research around disease, that sort of thing, I would want to make sure we wouldn't lose the ability to attract and retain those kinds of people," he said.

The first hearing for the bill is scheduled for next month.

Related posts:

Anderson bill would cap state worker pay at Jerry Brown's salary

March 22, 2012
Reading, writing, arithmetic -- and labor union achievements?

Oops!

A Democrat-dominated Legislature that wants students to learn about the accomplishments of labor unions apparently goofed a decade ago in designating the first week in April as Labor History Week, which urges schools to commemorate it.

That week is Spring Break in many school districts, so students are neither attending classes nor applauding unions.

Solution?

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson has proposed Assembly Bill 2269 to replace and expand upon Labor History Week with a Labor History Month. The date to honor it would be moved from April to May.

Swanson's bill would encourage schools to "commemorate this month with appropriate educational exercises that make pupils aware of the role the labor movement has played in shaping California and the United States."

Swanson, an Alameda Democrat who chairs the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, has crafted a fact sheet for AB 2269 that touts labor unions' role in protecting workers rights in areas ranging from an eight-hour day to mandatory meal and rest periods.

"Unions work in many ways to advance the interest of working people, including collective bargaining, legislative advocacy, political action and organizing," the fact sheet says.

Labor unions are known for one other key thing in the left-leaning Capitol: Spending millions to bolster campaigns of pro-union Democrats and ballot measures in statewide elections.

March 21, 2012
Unions write big checks for campaign to fight dues measure

Some of California's most powerful unions are pouring more cash into a growing campaign warchest created to fight a November ballot measure that would curb their political power.

The California Teachers Association gave $500,000 earlier this month to a committee to oppose the measure, which prohibits unions and corporations from using money deducted from employee paychecks, such as member dues, for political spending. The contribution was reported yesterday in an online campaign finance filing. Another $125,000 from a committee run by the Los Angeles Police Protective League was reported today.

The latest checks bring the total raised by the opposition campaign to more than $3.5 million.

The measure, which would also ban unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates and candidate-controlled committees and place restrictions on contributions from interests with government contracts, is expected to spark one of the year's most contentious and expensive campaigns fights.

Supporters of the measure have raised at least $400,000 in one campaign committee. The committee created to fund the qualification effort had about $350,000 in the bank at the end of last year, though some of that has been transferred to the new committee.

Spreadsheets of major contributors to the support and opposition campaigns are posted after the jump.

March 19, 2012
Anderson bill would cap state worker pay at Jerry Brown's salary

Future state workers would say goodbye to the prospect of getting paid more than Gov. Jerry Brown under legislation pushed by a Republican state senator.

Senate Bill 1368, by Sen. Joel Anderson, would set the top salary available to state workers and officers at the $173,987 annual paycheck currently approved for the state's top executive.

"Salaries should be tied to the actual duties and responsibilities of the position," the Alpine Republican said in a statement. "Only highly paid bureaucrats can rationalize why their responsibilities are of greater importance than the Governor of a state with 38 million citizens."

The cap would include overtime pay, but would not affect compensation levels set by the state constitution or pay packages in contracts approved ahead of January 1, 2013. It could apply to workers re-hired or reappointed after that date.

Anderson's office says there are 8,000 workers currently making more than the governor. An analysis of state worker pay by Anderson's office found that nearly 70 percent of those paychecks go to University of California employees, who would not be covered by the bill. Because of constitutional protections for the University of California, the bill language encourages the UC Regents to enact a similar cap for its employees.

The bill, which can be read here, is scheduled to by heard by the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee on April 9.

Click here to search The Sacramento Bee's State Worker Salary database.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 1:24 p.m. to correct the name of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee.

March 19, 2012
The incredible shrinking state workforce

The greater Sacramento area has lost state government jobs at a slower rate than California as a whole, according to a comparison of January payroll data over a two-year span.

The number of state pay warrants issued to employees working in Sacramento, El Dorado, Place and Yolo counties fell about 3.8 percent in January of this year compared the same month in 2010. Statewide the number of warrants fell 5.5 percent.

We made the comparison out of curiousity as we were reporting our Sunday state jobs story, which you can read by clicking here.

Here's the controller's pay data for January 2010, 2011 and 2012 and numbers for the four-county Sacramento region:


March 19, 2012
From the notebook: A closer look at California state government jobs

Thumbnail image for notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpg
We never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users the data, the notes and the quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

Our story in today's Bee looks at which state jobs are drawing the most applicants from outside government and why, using data compiled by the State Personnel Board, which administers eligibility examinations for state civil service positions.

Below you'll find the list of all 1,390 jobs for which at least one applicant was deemed eligible when SPB made its first data run for our story on Mar. 2. This is not a help-wanted list, but an accounting of how many people have been deemed eligible for consideration when a job on the list opens.

Want more details? Check out the state's one-stop, everything-you-need-to-know website, www.jobs.ca.gov, where you can put a job title in a search engine and then click through to find out about pay ranges, tests, duties and minimum qualifications.

The state also keeps job eligibility lists totals online. Click here to look up the info, which can be sorted by job class and department. The figures are updated daily.

March 16, 2012
See what IUOE Local 12 spent on political activities in 2011

This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.

The 12,000 or so skilled craftsmen, maintenance staff and equipment operators in Bargaining Unit 12 are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Craft Maintenance Division, California locals 3, 12, 39 and 501.

Last year IUOE Local 12 received a half-million dollars in donations and spent about $213,000, state records show. Of that, $186,000 went to political campaigns and causes. The union's PAC ended the year with $1.35 million in the bank.

The single largest payee, Nationwide Printing Services Inc., did $26,540 worth of printing work for candidates the local supported, but the payments were in-kind contributions, not cash, according to state filings. The California Democratic Party received $25,000, Local 12's largest cash expense last year.

State employees in Unit 12 make up a small part of the IUOE membership. Collectively, the four locals represent some 250 city, county, special districts, and schools bargaining units, according to the Unit 12 website, some outside of California. State workers are assigned to a local based on job class and geography.

As you look through the tables that follow, remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations received (usually from members) and donations made to political campaigns and causes. In some cases, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open tables with more detailed information on the union's political spending.

To get a sense of similar spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org. The California data on that site run through December 2010.

March 15, 2012
Poll: Weigh in on Ward v. California Department of Corrections

We've heard some strong sentiments from phone callers and email correspondents today about the James Ward case covered in today's State Worker column and companion blog post.

By that (extremely unscientific) measure, opinions are split 50-50.

If you haven't yet, check out the reporting and documentation about the prison chief dentist's fight to get his job back, then take our (extremely unscientific) poll:

March 15, 2012
Column Extra: Read the judge's rejected ruling in the James Ward complaint against CDCR

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, most of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our State Worker column in today's Bee examines the dispute between James Ward, who worked as chief dentist at Ironwood State Prison until July 2009, and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Ward says he accepted in good faith a permanent position that was illegally voided when the state said the job was really temporary and eventually let him go.

The department says its employees were mistaken when they assured Ward the job was permanent. Returning him to a permanent state job now would bind departments to the erroneous actions of their lowest-level staff and managers, CDCR lawyers have argued.

SPB Judge Jeanne Wolfe heard arguments in the case and issued a decision last September in favor of Ward. As is its prerogative, the board rejected Wolfe's ruling and heard the case for itself last month. We expect a ruling within a few weeks.

Here's Wolfe's decision, which includes many more details about the matter than we could jam into our column:
James Ward v. CDCR

March 15, 2012
California state government earns 'D-' for transparency

California has received a "D-" for spending transparency from an organization that lobbies for governement openness.

The California Public Interest Research Group and its national counterpart, USPIRG, issued the grade on Wednesday, just days after another government transparency advocate rated the state's Internet portal among the nation's best for access to information.

The assessment of California's accessibility is part of a larger USPIRG study of all 50 states' government websites, "Following the Money 2012: Online Access to Government Spending Data."

California's poor showing comes in the middle of "Sunshine Week," a national initiative to highlight the importance of open government and freedom of information. Only six states ranked scored worse: New Hampshire, Wyoming, Iowa, Arkansas, Montana and Idaho.

In a statement accompanying the report's release on Wednesday, CalPERG took California to task for dismantling a state spending transparency website last year. The administration said at the time that transparency.ca.gov -- which was launched by former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- duplicated information available elsewhere online.

Top-ranking states, according to the USPIRG report, include Texas, Kentucky and Indiana.

Wednesday's report contrasts sharply with a recent assessment by the nonprofit Sunshine Review, which ranked the Golden State's ca.gov website among the nation's best government websites for access to information.

CALPIRG belongs to national network of groups that promote themselves as public advocates.

March 15, 2012
AM Reading: Brown's taxing compromise; CalPERS' forecast; CalSTRS versus Micky Mouse; AZ 'cronyism'

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifThe State Worker: Personnel case takes on how the state handles hiring
In 2007, James Ward sold his San Diego-area dental practice and moved to Blythe, the remote desert town between Los Angeles and Phoenix. The reason for the dramatic switch: a job he took at Ironwood State Prison. (Sacramento Bee)

Jerry Brown changes his tax plan to address concerns of liberal allies
After a months-long feud with his most liberal allies, Gov. Jerry Brown compromised Wednesday to eliminate a rival tax initiative for the November ballot. (Sacramento Bee)

Skelton: Acrobat Brown does a flip on tax hike measure
Back in the day, when Gov. Jerry Brown would dazzle us with a flip-flop, he'd land on his feet spouting philosophy. (Los Angeles Times)

CalPERS cuts investment forecast by quarter-point
CalPERS is forcing state and local governments to pay more to support the giant pension fund - but will let them ease into it. The fund's governing board Wednesday approved a quarter-point drop in CalPERS' investment forecast, to 7.5 percent. (Sacramento Bee)

March 14, 2012
California's chief information security officer to talk about state IT issues this morning

Goverment tech expert John Thomas Flynn has scheduled Keith Tresh , California's chief information security officer and the director of the Office of Information Security, for a live interview this morning on TechLeader.TV. The topics on tap include:

• Security, privacy and data protection policy for the state and how it's being implemented.
• Whether agencies and departments complying with those policies and other best practices.
• Recruiting and training the state's technology work force.
• The emergence of cyber-security as a national security concern.

Click here to watch the show live at 11:30 a.m. today.

March 14, 2012
AM Reading: Teachers, dating and pensions; VT golden handshakes; NY pension debate

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: Teach a high school class, date a student - lose your pension?
Angered by a 41-year-old Modesto teacher who moved in with an 18-year-old student, a California lawmaker is crafting legislation that would strip teachers of their retirement benefits in such cases. (Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS OKs reduction in investment forecast, costing state extra $167 million per year
CalPERS gave final approval today to a quarter-point reduction in its investment forecast, but will look at softening the fiscal impact on government budgets. (Sacramento Bee)

VT:Retirement Program Proposed For State Hospital Employees
The Shumlin administration and the union representing Vermont state workers are in talks about a possible retirement incentive program for workers at the now-closed Vermont State Hospital. (Vermont Public Radio)

March 13, 2012
Poll: CalPERS committee votes to lower investment assumption

From The Bee's Dale Kasler:

CalPERS today moved toward reducing its investment forecast by a quarter percentage point, a move that would cost the state's general fund $167 million a year.

Click here to read more.

The recommendation goes to a vote of the full board on Wednesday.


March 13, 2012
BloodSource recognizes Cal EPA for blood donations

120309 BloodSource Cal EPA photo.JPGThe California Environmental Protection Agency has received the Gift of Hope Award from BloodSource for employee blood donations last year totaling 600 pints.

The regional blood collection organization has recognized Cal EPA employees many times over the years for their generous donations: Most Units Drawn (2001); Blood Drive of the Year (2001); Holiday Blood Drive 100+ (2002); Most Registered Units (2003); and the Symbol of Excellence presented to Cal/EPA for having the most registered donors in State Government (2004, 2006, 2009, 2010).

Click this link to read more about Cal EPA's blood drive efforts and its latest award.

PHOTO: Cal EPA employee and frequent donor Donald Johnson gives blood at the Agency's most recent blood drive held on March 7, 2012. / Photo courtesy of Dominique Word.

March 12, 2012
CalPERS begins webcasting monthly meetings

100607 CALPERS HQ.JPGCalPERS started publicly accessible Internet audio and video streaming of its monthly meetings today. The Board of Administration's Investment Committee is set to reconvene at approximately 12:30 p.m. today.

Click here to access the high-quality live video stream webpage, which also includes links to a standard-stream feed, an audio-only feed and agenda materials for the three-day board session that ends Wednesday.

This link opens the fund's website announcement. The same release includes news that the fund has posted more than 2,000 actuarial reports on the cost of pensions for cities, counties and local public agencies that contract with the fund.

PHOTO: CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento. / Sacramento Bee file.

March 12, 2012
AM Reading: Pension math; RI considers lifting public office ban; FL drug-test bill goes to Gov. Rick Scott

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: Dan Walters: Two tales of pension accounting
Major corporations that still maintain traditional defined-benefit pension plans are asking Congress to lower their pension trust fund contributions because, they say, extraordinarily low interest rates force them to sock away too much. (Sacramento Bee)

RI: RI bill would let state workers hold public office
A bill winding its way through the Rhode Island legislature would end a 73-year-old ban on state employees running for public office or serving on a state employee grievances board. (AP / Boston Globe)

CA: Past pension boosts deferred costs
The recent loss of tens of billions of dollars from California's public pension funds may have raised awareness about the high cost of guaranteed benefits for public workers, but reform advocates say the unsustainable system has been years - or even decades - in the making. (AP / Sacramento Bee)

March 12, 2012
California state government's website gets high marks for transparency

California's ca.gov website has received an "A-" grade from Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit that promotes government transparency.

The state's Internet portal was one of 214 government websites to receive an "A-" or better, the standard for receiving a 2012 Sunny Awards.

The judges graded 6,000 government sites against a checklist for information such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The panel considered websites for states, cities, counties and school districts.

California's was one of 10 state government websites to receive recognition. The others: Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington and West Virginia.

A total of nine state and local government websites from California made the Sunny list. Florida government sites garnered the most awards with 28, followed by Texas (21), Illinois (19), Virginia (14), Ohio and Pennsylvania (10 each).

Click here for the Sunshine Reviews' take on California's state website. This link opens an announcement that includes a sortable list of all 214 award-winning websites.

March 10, 2012
CalPERS 'air time' cost could jump soon for state workers

Next week, CalPERS Board of Administration will consider lowering its investment return expectations from the current 7.75 percent to 7.25 percent.

If that happens, pension costs would increase for state and local governments -- and employees would have to pay significantly more for air time after Mar. 15.

CalPERS Pension and Health Benefits Committee will take up the issue on Tuesday. If it accepts Chief Actuary Alan Milligan's recommendation, "The cost for service credit purchases under the present value method is expected to increase between 5 percent and 13 percent when looking at the most common ages at which members currently buy service. Note that the actual increase for some members would be more."

CalPERS members who buy air time before the deadline will get the benefit of the higher rate of return assumption. So will members with a request for an official air time cost estimate submitted to the fund before Friday.

Members have 60 days to purchase air time after receiving a price quote from CalPERS.

"No one (with cost esitimates in the queue) needs to worry," CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco told us Friday afternoon. "Those (prices) will be honored."

The benefit costs thousands of dollars. If you're thinking about buying air time, we recommend you start with CalPERS' online service credit calculator before contacting the fund for an official estimate. Click here for more details about how to get a quick ballpark idea of what air time would cost you.

We've embedded the return assumption rate item below. Scroll down to "Impact on Member Calculations," for the discussion of service credit costs.

March 9, 2012
AFSCME proposes extending state worker contract for one year

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2620 has proposed extending its expiring labor agreement for one year.

Cliff Leo Tillman Jr., Local 2620's senior business agent, made the initial proposal to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration in a letter (posted below) presented at yesterday's public "sunshine" meeting at the Department of Personnel Administration. State law requires the meetings to publicly air initial labor proposals and allow public comment on them.

AFSCME represents about 4,600 health and social service professionals in Bargaining Unit 19. Its contract expires July 2. State doctors, psychiatric technicians and skilled crafts employees and maintenance staff in three other bargaining units are working under contracts with the same expiration date. None have yet offered a formal initial proposal.

AFSCME's proposal clearly signals the union isn't going to press for pay raises or other big gains while Brown is trying to close a $9.2 billion state budget gap, but detailed talks will still occur behind closed doors later when state and labor negotiators meet.

It's no surprise that AFSCME has proposed extending its current deal. Click here for a recent State Worker column that explains why.
AFSCME contract rollover proposal

March 9, 2012
AM Reading: Napa hospital layoffs; sex-club shooting comp fraud case; ME good-faith bargaining dispute

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: Staff cuts planned at Napa State Hospital
The California Department of Mental Health has notified dozens of Napa State Hospital employees they may be laid off later this year, according to union representatives. (Napa Valley Register)

CA: Will state agencies derail local pension reforms?
While unions oppose key parts of Gov. Brown's 12-point pension reform plan in the Legislature, local officials say union allies are using state agencies to try to derail or undermine local pension reforms on the June ballot in San Jose and San Diego. (Calpensions)

CA: Workers' comp fraud case based on sex-club shooting goes to jury
Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the workers' comp fraud conspiracy case against a state correctional officer and his wife over his shooting at a San Francisco sex club that he claimed was job-related. (Sacramento Bee)

March 8, 2012
Column Extra: A little more about the CalPERS computer error

Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, some of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our State Worker column in today's Bee looks at how CalPERS is continuing to deal with nagging problems concerning its $500 million-plus computer system. This time the trouble touched about 4,200 retirees whose health insurance premiums were incorrectly withheld. Twice.

Here are some snippets of email correspondence this week between The State Worker and CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco that we've arranged in a Q&A format, and the text of a letter sent to affected members on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 that explained the withholding mistakes and the fixes.

March 8, 2012
AM Reading: San Jose's pension politics; CalPERS investment assumptions; IL state worker health insurance mess

Calif. city seeks to escape soaring pension costs (CBS News)

State lawmakers order San Jose pension audit
The state will audit San Jose's finances amid employee unions' accusations that city officials overstated the cost of the pension system to build support for a June ballot measure reducing retirement benefits. (Mercury News)

CalPERS urged to cut its annual profit forecast
CalPERS is considering making a significant cut in its investment forecast next week, which would likely force the state and local governments to increase their annual contributions to the big pension funds. (Sacramento Bee)

The State Worker: Messy rollout continues for CalPERS computer system
Well, here's another CalPERS computer gaffe story. (Sacramento Bee)

March 8, 2012
KQED's 'Forum' to debate government privatization

Thumbnail image for 100610 microphone.JPGKQED's "Forum with Michael Krasney" this morning will look at the costs and benefits of government privatization and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson's "Public Employees Bill of Rights." Along with Dickinson, D-Sacramento, the show's guests include Adrian Moore, vice president of policy at the Reason Foundation; Donald Cohen, chair of In the Public Interest and Robert Smith, reporter for Planet Money. The State Worker has been invited to join the discussion too.

This link opens a preview of the show. You can listen to the broadcast from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Sacramento on 89.3 FM and in San Francisco on 88.5 FM. Click here for the show's streamed audio feed.

March 7, 2012
AM Reading: State worker retirements; FL employee pension hike overturned; NY pension plan losing steam

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: Fewer California state workers took pensions in 2011
Fewer state employees took their pensions in 2011, reversing a four-year trend that had seen more workers going into retirement. (Sacramento Bee)

CA: Viewpoints: Let's base public pension debate on facts, not made-up numbers
It would be nice to separate the wheat from the chaff in the debate over how to restructure public pensions. It is important to eliminate abuses and ensure that public pensions are fair to retirees and affordable to taxpayers. But it is equally important to key the debate on real facts and figures that accurately portray the public costs. (Sacramento Bee)

CA: Teachers union leads in record year of lobbying lawmakers
State Assemblyman Warren Furutani looked out over a sea of red -- protesting oil industry workers wearing scarlet T-shirts -- and saw trouble for his plan to raise $2.5 billion for universities with a tax on crude. Click here for chart. (Los Angeles Times)

March 6, 2012
When will California pay furlough back wages to state workers?

The State Worker has received several emails from staff in the five agencies that are paying furlough back wages, all asking the same thing: When will they get their money?

Current and former employees of the Prison Industry Authority, the First 5 California Commission, the California Housing Finance Agency, the California Earthquake Authority and the California State Lottery who lost pay to furloughs are due to get the withheld money. They will not receive interest on the back pay. The payouts won't affect the state's general fund, since it doesn't furnish money to those five agencies.

The State Controller's Office has to cut the checks, so we asked SCO spokesman Jacob Roper when that would happen.

"We are working with other departments to get all the necessary information, and we should have a time frame this week," Roper said in an email this afternoon.

March 6, 2012
Poll: California state worker retirements declined in 2011


Fewer state employees took their pensions last year, reversing a four-year trend that had seen more workers going into retirement.

And if the first two months of this year are any indication, more state employees will hang on to their jobs longer this year.

According to statistics provided by CalPERS in the chart above, 10,671 state workers applied for service retirement in 2011, down nearly 8 percent from the year before.

For January and February of this year, just 2,703 state employees submitted their retirement papers, a 17 percent decline from the same period in 2011.

The data shows the number of state applications for service retirements, which CalPERS counts from mid-month to mid-month. More state workers retire during the January period, which includes applications from mid-December to the end of the month, because of the way the fund calculates when they can receive their first retiree cost-of-living adjustment.

The number of state workers entering retirement had been growing each year, fueled by the state's aging workforce demographics. No doubt that furloughs, threats of wages being withheld during budget impasses, concessionary contracts and other issues during former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration pushed some employees to retire earlier than they might have otherwise.

(Click the tabs at the bottom of the table for charts and information about combined state and local retirement applications to CalPERS.)

Since there's no clearinghouse for exit interviews and no survey of why more state workers are sticking around, it's tough to say why fewer employees retired last year. What do you think?

March 5, 2012
California's state operating engineers local spent more than $470,000 on political activities last year

This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.

Editor's note, 12:25 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the total of IUOE Local 3's 2011 spending.

The 12,000 or so skilled craftsmen, maintenance staff and equipment operators in Bargaining Unit 12 are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Craft Maintenance Division, California locals 3, 12, 39 and 501.

This post focuses on IUOE Local 3, which spent $473,000 on political activities last year through 10 accounts reported to the Secretary of State. The largest account paid the local and the Operating Engineers General Fund a combined $176,000 for "reimbursement of salaries." Another $100,000 went to the California Democratic Party.

As you look through the tables that follow, remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations received (usually from members) and donations made to political campaigns and causes. In some cases, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open tables with more detailed information of the union's political spending.

Most of Local 3's accounts showed expenditures and political donations that matched exactly. For the few accounts that reported significant overhead, we totaled the expenditures and posted those figures on the first page of of the appropriate spreadsheets. We also totaled up contributions to recipients when the number of line items merited it.

The first sheet tallies each of the Local 3 accounts' expenses. Detailed spreadsheets for each account follow, starting with the largest, filer number 981697. (We've included a staff/spouse travel tab that shows the union paid $7,300 for airfare, lodging and meals.)

We'll soon post the data for the other three locals representing Unit 12.

To get a sense of similar spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org. The California data on that site run through December 2010.

March 5, 2012
AM Reading: Pros, cons of CA contracting; NY's single-member union; ME van-pool cuts 'betray an animus toward state workers'


Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: State government contracting debate back at California's Capitol
The debate over whether government runs best with civil service workers or privately contracted help is re-igniting in the Capitol over legislation that, among other things, would give state workers first dibs whenever the state has work to do. (Sacramento Bee)

A Labor Force Faces the Ultimate in Downsizing: Herbert Jenkins Heads Detroit Union With a Single Member--Him
To dig out of a fiscal mess, the city of Detroit has reached tentative labor deals with the leadership of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the United Auto Workers and International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Then it had to win over Herbert Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins is president of the Assistant Supervisors of Street Maintenance and Construction Association, the union representing the leaders of Detroit's pothole-repair crews. He also is the only member of that collective-bargaining unit. (Wall Street Journal)

CA: Salary 'spiking' drains public pension funds, analysis finds
Approaching retirement, Ventura County Chief Executive Marty Robinson was earning $228,000 a year. To boost her pension, which would be based on her final salary, Robinson cashed out nearly $34,000 in unused vacation pay, an $11,000 bonus for having earned a graduate degree and more than $24,000 in extra pension benefits the county owed her. By the time she walked out the door last year, her pension was calculated at $272,000 a year -- for life. (Los Angeles Times)

March 5, 2012
From the notebook: The numbers, the law and comments about California contracts with private business

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users the data, the notes and the quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

Here are some sources that informed our story on Assemblyman Roger Dickinson's "Public Employees Bill of Rights," specifically its provision to give state rank-and-file employees first crack at state work.

California Government Code Section 19130-19135, which lays out the rules for state outsourcing.

Assembly Bill 1655, the "Public Employees Bill of Rights."

The Bureau of State Audits 2009 report on illegitimate contracting at the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Public Health.

The Feb. 21 prepared statement on private contracting by Dr. Stuart Bussey, president of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Administration.

"The Hidden Branch of Government," SEIU Local 1000's latest installment on state outsourcing costs.

And below we've embedded data pulled from the Department of General Services' State Contract & Procurement Registration System for the first two months of this year.

(For more specific descriptions of specific contracts, click the second tab on the bottom of the spreadsheet and scroll right to the "Item Description" column. What even more? The eight-digit numbers in the far right column conform to the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code. Click here to open a search engine that lets you plug in the numbers to get a description of of the goods or services that the state purchased.)

March 4, 2012
AM Reading: CA Fish & Game president flap; WI retirees face pension cut; OH loves Arnold Schwarzenegger

120304 Babin.jpg

CA: Editorial: Self-inflicted wound for chief of wildlife board
Good judgment should be a prerequisite for any president of California's Fish and Game Commission. Californians are so passionate about issues involving hunting, fishing, wildlife and conservation that this commission needs a steady hand at the helm. Sadly, Daniel Richards continues to flunk that test, day after day. (Sacramento Bee)

WI: Retired state workers to see dip in pension funds
About 96 thousand retired public employees in Wisconsin may see their pension checks shrink by seven percent.The cut would hit them next May. (WSAU)

March 2, 2012
Atascadero State Hospital statistics detail assaults on patients, staff; facility fined for unsafe conditions

Report details assaults over past year at Atascadero State Hospital
In the first four months of 2011, more than 100 patients and staff members were assaulted at Atascadero State Hospital each month. But a report released to KSBY Wednesday shows the number of attacks is actually decreasing since the beginning of last year. (KSBY)

Atascadero State Hospital fined for safety violations
State safety investigators Thursday issued three citations totaling $38,555 against Atascadero State Hospital for unsafe working conditions for staff treating the facility's mentally ill and violent offenders. (San Luis Obispo Tribune)

March 2, 2012
Gasp! California state workers' PAC spends zip on lobbyists, lawyers, consultants in 2011

This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.

California Association of Professional Scientists, which represents approximately 2,500 state employees, gave a nearly $160,000 to its political action committee last year, which spent about $41,000 -- none of it on the lobbyists, attorneys or political consultants that usually rank high union expenditure lists.

(The union did spend about $172,000 on lobbying to Blanning and Baker Associates Inc. and Aaron Read & Associates LLC, but the money didn't come from the union's PAC account.)

The biggest CAPS PAC checks, $10,000 each, went to the California Democratic Party and to Californians for Health and Retirement Security (the pro-pension labor coalition now known as Californians for Retirement Security). 

As you look through the data below, remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations received (usually from members) and donations given to political campaigns and causes. Tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet open tables with more detailed information of the union's political spending

To get a sense of similar spending in California by other interest groups, check out Maplight.org. The California data on that site run through December 2010.

March 2, 2012
AM Reading: Apple and pension funds; Darrell Steinberg, Fish & Game president trade shots; NY pension reform debate shifts


Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: Apple dividend would mean big bucks for CalPERS, CalSTRS
The run up in value of Apple Inc. stock has been good for California's largest pension funds. (Sacramento Business Journal)

CA: Steinberg: Fish & Game Commission head acted 'like a jackass'
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg joined the debate today over the embattled head of the state Fish and Game Commission's Idaho cougar hunt, blasting Dan Richards for acting "like a jackass." (Sacramento Bee)

CA: Fish and Game president blasts critics, says he ate mountain lion
The head of the California Fish and Game Commission, under fire for killing a mountain lion during a hunting trip in Idaho, blasted his critics Thursday as "environmental terrorists" and dismissed demands by Democratic state lawmakers for him to resign. (Los Angeles Times)

CA: Ogilvy wins $900,000 health care PR job
A tentative winner has been announced for a $900,000 public relations contract to help California implement federal health care reform: Sacramento's Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. (Sacramento Bee)

March 1, 2012
Column Extra poll: What next for state worker contracts?

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, some of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our State Worker column today looks at what lies ahead for state workers' labor contracts and concludes that it's likely that existing contracts will be rolled over. Do you agree? Take our poll:

March 1, 2012
Lawmakers hammer Corrections official for lack of accounting

Lawmakers lit into a California state prisons official Wednesday afternoon for his department's failure to account for its spending -- twice.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, called his budget subcommittee to order and then quickly skipped down to the second issue on the agenda, an update on why the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation hasn't produced spending reports that the Legislature demanded when it gave CDCR an extra $380 million last year.

As Cedillo and other angry assemblymembers at the hearing noted, the extra money went to Corrections while programs for the elderly, the sick and children all suffered cuts.

But after years of what amounted to fictional cost estimates and perpetually blown budgets for the state's most expensive agency, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers agreed to a 2011-12 budget that gave the $9 billion-plus department the extra money. According to figures provided to The Bee by Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Bob Blumenfield's office, it was the fourth year in the past five that the Legislature kicked up extra money to cover CDCR's overspending. The augmenting funds totaled nearly $3 billion.

Last year, hoping to get costs under control, the Legislature added reporting strings to the money. The first report was due within 75 days of the budget's enactment last June. A second report is due today. Corrections hasn't produced any information yet.



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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