The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 13, 2012
From the notebook: Read the 'lost' passages from California retired annuitants story

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.

Today's story about the costs and politics of how the state uses retired annuitants in today's Bee is the product of two days of number-crunching and interviews, most of which didn't see print.

That's often the case when reporting complex stories. Reporters and editors sift through what's known and written, making dozens of decisions about what to leave in and what to take out.

We made a decision to take out the following paragraphs from today's piece, concluding that they were probably number-heavy details that general readers either wouldn't easily follow or care about.

State Worker blog users, however, tend to be more knowledgeable about the fine details of state government and the bureaucracy. So rather deleting these paragraphs forever, we thought they would make for good blog item:

... Some agencies relied relatively little on retirees. The California Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol and the State Compensation Insurance Fund spent less than 0.1 percent of total payroll last year on retired annuitants.

Others relied more on them. The departments of Mental Health, Water Resources and Social Services all spent at least 1.4 percent of their payroll on retired annuitants - twice the statewide average.

Among moderately-sized agencies, Department of Community Services and Development spent about 12 percent of its payroll on 42 retired annuitants in calendar 2011, 17 times the state average and the highest rate of any department.

Spokeswoman Rachel Arrezola attributed that to heavy workloads triggered by federal monitoring standards for how the department is spending $275 million in Recovery Act money received a few years ago.

"Given the increased federal requirements, CSD needed temporary support to meet the temporary workload," Arrezola said.

Before that, the department employed just 13 retirees and currently has 27, about one-third the number of its regular state-employee staff.

"Our Recovery Act program will wrap up in December," Arrezola said. "We'll reduce the department's temporary support accordingly."

RELATED POST:
Audit: State could lose $93 million in Recovery Act money

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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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