The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 26, 2012
Defining 'mission critical' retired annuitants in California's state workforce

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

So what's a "mission critical" retired annuitant, anyway?

We'll soon find out. As we've reported, the horse-trading between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 over furloughs included a mandate that departments purge their payrolls of RAs by Sept. 1. Only those deemed mission critical -- in other words, people whose departure would impair the normal function of the organization -- will be exempt.

The union pressed for the policy, arguing it's unfair to furlough the rank and file while retirees, who have no labor representation, occupy state jobs while drawing both a pension and paycheck.

Departments won't be able to hire RAs again while Local 1000-covered workers are taking the one-day-per-month furloughs scheduled to end June 30, 2013. Local members will cast ratification ballots on Wednesday.

As Brown's hiring freeze revealed last year, however, "mission critical" is in the eye of the beholder.

The administration enforced that standard during Brown's 2011 hiring freeze using a review process that required departments to seek an exemption before filling any position. The Department of Finance reviewed the requests and made a thumbs-up or thumbs-down recommendation that went to the Governor's Office for a second review and final sign-off.

We asked Finance Department spokesman H.D. Palmer if that same method might be used to decide which RA positions would be kept.

"The administrative review you mention is one approach that could be taken," Palmer said in a Friday email. "That said, I am advised that we have not yet landed on the specific approach we will take."

RELATED POSTS:
Jerry Brown grants bulk of state hiring freeze exemption requests
Cal Fire's hiring requests reveal Brown's freeze order rationale
Hiring request highlights one department's knowledge problem
How California's hiring freeze forces creative solutions
California hiring freeze shows 'critical' in the eye of the beholder

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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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