The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

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

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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)

The Buzz: Columbus, Ohio, still loves Arnold Schwarzenegger
Forget political unpopularity and marital dalliance. Columbus, Ohio, still loves Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Sacramento Bee)

From Play-Doh to trips, California lawmakers collected plenty of gifts
Finally some good news for California lawmakers who have seen their pay and approval rating fall in recent years: Special-interest perks are up. (Sacramento Bee)

Making sense of San Jose's pension mess
On Tuesday, San Jose City Council members will decide whether to modify a June pension reform ballot measure that Mayor Chuck Reed says will ease the growing costs of employee retirement. To pay those costs, San Jose has cut staffing and the services that go with it. The modifications address some employee concerns. (Mercury News)

CA: Other Views: What's the hold-up on pension reform?
Legislative Republicans have introduced a pension reform plan that is exactly like one proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bills, introduced in both the Senate and Assembly, are a direct challenge to the governor to push lawmakers in his party to get on board the reform train. (The Stockton Record / Appeal-Democrat)

IA: Editorial: Budget-cutting has run amok
Staff shortages in Iowa's prisons have contributed to increased gang activity and violence. More Iowans are receiving government help securing health care and food. Thousands of seniors live in nursing homes that need better oversight. Numerous streams and rivers are polluted and monuments crumbling. Federal grant money is being left unused. (Des Moines Register)

NC: Adding to pension an ill-timed move
Talk about tone deaf: Although it seems that government never tires of telling the public that it's time to tighten its belt, some lawmakers with publicly funded retirement plans are busy racking up new ways to fatten their own take-home. The latest and most egregious example comes from the N.C. General Assembly. (Jacksonville Daily News)

IL: Quinn hopes for major changes to corrections system in state
Gov. Pat Quinn wants to make big changes to the Illinois corrections system, including greater use of parole supervision for low-level offenders. But his administration is struggling to explain how it can do that safely while also cutting back on traditional on-the-streets scrutiny of ex-convicts. (Chicago Sun-Times)

MA: State Workers Got $127M In Unused Sick, Vacation Time
From prison guards, to professors, to policy makers on Beacon Hill, it pays for Massachusetts state workers not to be sick or go on vacation. A Team 5 Investigation found taxpayers have written checks to employees totaling $127 million in the last three years for unused sick and vacation time. (WCVB)

FL: House lawmakers approve drug testing for all state employees, but exempt themselves
Florida lawmakers approved a plan to allow random drug tests for state employees Friday, while rejecting an amendment that would require similar tests for themselves and the governor. (Miami Herald)

New York paid 24,000 state workers $100K or more in 2011
Nearly 24,200 state employees earned more than $100,000 in 2011, down about 2.6 percent compared with 2010, state records show. (Democrat and Chronicle)

SD lawmakers approve bonus pay, extra school money
A revised version of Gov. Dennis Daugaard's plan to give state workers a one-time bonus was approved Thursday by the South Dakota Legislature. (Boston Globe)

Union approves 3-year contract with state of Ohio
A union representing 4,000 state workers in Ohio has approved a contract with the state that extends their current labor agreement until 2015. (AP / WFMJ)

MD: Budget proposal mixed bag for state employees
State employees find more money and additional jobs in the governor's proposed fiscal 2013 budget, but union leaders are still hoping for additional revenue streams to avert future cuts. (Gazette.net)

AZ Week: Protect Employees or Cut Red Tape?
Gov. Jan Brewer's proposal to end civil service protection for most of the state's 82,000 employees is drawing keen attention from government reformers and unions alike. A bill to overhaul the system, HB2571, has passed one committee in the state House and is awaiting further action. As it waits, both sides are scrambling to shore up support or organize opposition, and the fact that Brewer has made it one of her "four cornerstones of reform" has intensified the interest. (Arizona Public Media)

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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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