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."
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