The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 31, 2013
Column Extra: More details about state employee moonlighting

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 Bee and Wednesday's news report take a look at "additional appointments" in state government, using new job data from the State Controller's Office. The practice allows employees, including salaried staff such as managers, to work a second job within a department and earn hourly wages for it.

The data, embedded below, are listed in alphabetical order by department and grouped by individual employee. A state worker's primary position is a white row followed by his or her additional appointment in the highlighted row.

The spreadsheet reflects non-rank-and-file employees whose job record includes at least one additional appointment within the same department on Jan. 11.

January 31, 2013
The Roundup: The tangled chain of command; anti-union battles heat up; why democracy needs unions

The Roundup: The tangled chain of command; anti-union battles heat up; why democracy needs unions

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Thu, Jan 31 2013 06:08:04

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.
The State Worker: Extra jobs could complicate chain of command - The Sacramento BeeIf you're looking for another reason to criticize a state policy (suspended, for now) that allows employees who can't earn overtime to ta...
State university faculty union says strike threat is serious but remains a last resortState university faculty say their patience is wearing thin. Faculty negotiators from the 14 state-owned universities have been to the ba...
The Buzz: Budget boom comes to $5 billion this month - The Sacramento BeeIt's official. California is rolling in dough, at least for now. The state's fiscal review office said Wednesday the budget is poised to ...

January 30, 2013
Bill would end California state employees' moonlighting

20121203_HA_JEFF_GORELL.JPGRepublican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell of Camarillo, as promised, has introduced legislation to virtually eliminate state "additional appointments," an obscure and controversial personnel practice that allows employees to take a second state job.

We've embedded below a copy of the measure, Assembly Bill 208.

Meanwhile, CalPERS' CEO, Anne Stausboll and Julie Chapman, the state's top labor relations administrator, both told a legislative joint committee concerned with public employee issues they are examining the state's additional appointments policy.

Revelations two weeks ago that CalPERS used additional appointments for some computer and customer service jobs raised questions about the practice and caught the attention of lawmakers. The story broadened this week when State Controller's Office revealed that at least 11 departments have non-union employees -- including salaried managers and high-level administrators -- with at least two job titles.

The Brown administration on Tuesday said it was ending the practice immediately for all but "rare cases where it might save money or be necessary under law."

Asked this morning by committee co-chair Jim Beall what prompted the administration's action, Chapman said, "There are many different departments using additional positions. ... We thought it best to suspend (the practice) until we can develop a statewide policy."

Gorell said this morning that his proposal will evolve. For example, he's considering a change that would allow additional appointments with approval from the Finance Department or other administrative authority.

"The idea," Gorell said, "is to move accountability closer to elected officials, in this case, the governor."

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, joins Assembly members in applause after they were sworn in during the first day of session at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

Assembly Bill 208 by

January 30, 2013
The Roundup: CA state workers with two state jobs; FL spiritual leaders back state pay raises; PA looks at privatizing booze sales

The Roundup: CA state workers with two state jobs; FL spiritual leaders back state pay raises; PA looks at...

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Wed, Jan 30 2013 08:12:58

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.
U.S. judges give California six more months to cut inmate population - The Sacramento BeeThree weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown declared the state's prison overcrowding crisis over, a court of three federal judges said Tuesday tha...
Many state workers hold more than one job; Brown administration puts a brake on the practice - The Sacramento BeeNearly a dozen state departments have allowed hundreds of employees to hold more than one job, confirming CalPERS officials' claims that ...
Spiritual leaders gather for state worker raisesThe Rev. R.B. Holmes and other spiritual leaders Tuesday spoke as one in support of state workers getting a pay raise. Holmes, pastor of ...
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January 29, 2013
Hundreds of salaried state workers moonlight in-house

California state workers in nearly a dozen departments hold both a salaried position and another hourly-wage position in-house, according to new government payroll data.

Several hundred managers, supervisors and others in non-hourly jobs also have a rank-and-file position, according to the State Controller's Office. The numbers confirm CalPERS officials' assertion that it wasn't the only department using "additional appointments."

The $265 billion fund came under criticism for the practice after a Bee report that 50 managers and other salaried workers with technical skills had been tapped by CalPERS to receive extra pay for handling computer system and customer service backlogs.

After lawmakers said they were concerned about CalPERS' policy, the fund suspended it, saying that sensationalized media coverage about its business decision was a distraction from its mission. CalPERS says the program was its cheapest option and had saved an estimated $1.6 million in costs since it started in June 2011.

The Bee has called several departments on the controller's list and the California Department of Human Resources, which acts as the state's labor relations branch. None have spoken on the record yet. Watch the print edition of The Bee and The State Worker blog for more details.

January 28, 2013
The Roundup: California pension pressure; states' anti-union movements; federal job cuts

The Roundup: California pension pressure; states' anti-union movements; federal job cuts

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Mon, Jan 28 2013 06:48:01

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.
Capitol Alert: Assembly sets pay ranges for newly created job classifications - sacbee.comNow for the money: The California Assembly has set salary ranges for a handful of new job classifications it created this month. Dozens o...
Budget officials flee San Bernardino amid bankruptcy chaosBy Tim Reid LOS ANGELES, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Top budget officials in crisis-hit San Bernardino, California, are quitting the city at a cru...
Federal receiver says California prison claimThe overseer of California's prison healthcare said Friday that Gov. Jerry Brown's claim he supports California's contention that prison ...
Dan Walters: California pension funds still face huge liabilities - The Sacramento BeeThe California Public Employees' Retirement System has reported - with no small elation - that it has recouped virtually all of the $95 b...
Outnumbered Michigan Democrats start longshot bid to repeal right-to-work laws in LegislatureLANSING, MI - In what likely will turn out to be a largely symbolic move, Michigan Democrats who are outnumbered in the Legislature say t...

January 25, 2013
California launches state government leadership program

The California Department of Human Resources is launching a new web-based training series on Monday that aims to develop leaders and spark cultural change in the state workplace.

The first webinar in the series, "Avoiding Groundhog Day the Movie: Learning from Experience," is set for Monday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Richard Callahan, an associate professor at the University of San Francisco's School of Management, is the featured presenter.

When CalHR replaced the Department of Personnel Administration and took over some of the State Personnel Board's duties, the idea was to create a department that could shake up the state's workplace culture, including its tendency, like most large bureaucracies, to resist change.

January 24, 2013
Assembly PERS panel to discuss dual state job appointments

AD18-Bonta.jpgAssemblyman Rob Bonta's office says the Alameda Democrat's committee will soon discuss CalPERS and other departments using "additional appointments" for salaried employees.

CalPERS says the practice is legal, above-board and saved $1.6 million by avoiding more expensive options such as hiring and training new employees or contracting outside consultants. The fund gave the hourly positions to salaried employees, including managers, who could lend a hand with severe customer service and computer system backlogs.

The fund suspended the policy last week, saying that sensationalized media coverage had created a distraction from its work and that it planned to phase the program out in June anyway.

Bonta chairs the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security. His office sent this email after we asked for a follow up on his joint statement with Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez about the dual appointments.

January 24, 2013
Column Extra: Survey says many state-managers paid less subordinates

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 looks at state manager pay and cites a survey of Association of California State Supervisors members that asked whether they earned more, less or the same as their subordinates. More than 40 percent of respondents said they earned the same or less.

Hat tip to the supervisor's group for sharing this survey tally sheet with The State Worker:

January 23, 2013
New round of repairs for California's state money pit

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 110829 BOE HQ.JPGA $4 million repair project will start soon on the state Board of Equalization headquarters in Sacramento, even as the agency continues its push to get out of its high-rise money pit.

BOE, which collects California business taxes, has spent $65 million so far on repairs to the 22-year-old building at 450 N St. The problems have ranged from leaking windows and burst water pipes to toxic mold and faulty elevators.

And that doesn't count pending repairs to the building's corroded wastewater pipes.

January 23, 2013
Poll: What do you think about CalPERS' dual-appointments?

Now that CalPERS has suspended its practice of appointing some managers to second rank-and-file jobs that pay hourly wages, we'd like to know what you think of the policy.

If you missed the story, you can catch up here:
Jan. 17: Some CalPERS managers given second jobs, extra money
Jan. 18: Lawmakers say they will probe dual jobs of California state workers
Jan. 19: CalPERS suspends extra pay program for managers


January 22, 2013
Read transcripts from the California parks budget probe, part 3

This is the third and final batch of interview transcripts from the state attorney general's investigation of the budget scandal at the California Department of Parks and Recreation. For context, read Bee reporter Matt Weiser's Monday story, which looks at whether state employees who hid the money broke any laws.

130107 natural_resources_logo.jpgYou'll find the first batch of transcripts here and the second batch here.

Along with this final set, the transcripts comprise the bulk of more than 2,000 pages of investigation documents provided by the Natural Resources Agency, which oversees the parks department.

Perez, Tony Interview 92612 Redacted.pdf
Robertson, Aaron Interview 82212.pdf
Romero, Paul Interview 92412 Redacted.pdf
Saxby, Dave Interview 82712.pdf
Slaughterback, Olaya Interview 9412.pdf
Stearns, Roy Interview 92512.pdf
Sturm, Kirk Interview 92812 Redacted.pdf
Sturm, Kirk Interview 10312.pdf
Summers, Jason Interview 92512.pdf
Taylor, Cheryl Interview 83012.pdf
Veliquette, Mary Interview 92412.pdf
Verardo, Denzel Interview 92412.pdf
Wright, Mary Interview 10312.pdf

This link opens a sacbee.com page dedicated to The Bee's state parks coverage.

IMAGE: www.resources.ca.gov

January 21, 2013
Read interview transcripts from the parks budget investigation

Today's report by The Bee's Matt Wieser asks an important question about state parks officials who hid $20.5 million in surplus funds:

Were any crimes committed, and if so, will anyone be held to answer?

130107 natural_resources_logo.jpgAs a supplement to Matt's reporting on parks, The State Worker is posting interview transcripts and other documents that trace the state attorney general's investigation of the matter. More than 2,000 pages of investigation documents have been made public by the California Natural Resources Agency.

Click here to see the first batch of interview transcripts. Here's the second:

January 18, 2013
CalPERS to suspend management moonlighting program

CalPERS has decided to immediately suspend a program that allowed some salaried managers to moonlight in-house and take hourly pay, saying that the controversy surrounding the practice has become a "significant distraction" to its work.

In a statement the fund issued minutes ago, the state's largest public employee pension fund says is ending the so-called "additional appointments" immediately, despite its assertion the practice saved an estimated $1.6 million since June 2011.

The statement doesn't include how many employees participated in the program or what it cost CalPERS in payroll. Earlier this week the fund said it paid 50 managers an average $900 each in November to work in hourly positions.

January 18, 2013
California board apologizes for WWII discrimination against Japanese Americans

130118 SPB logo.jpegThe State Personnel Board has issued a formal apology for a 71-year-old resolution that essentially kicked 265 Japanese Americans out of state service and prevented countless others from taking state government work during World War II.

The apology, laid out in a resolution adopted last week, has no legal consequences. Many years ago the state rescinded its discriminatory resolutions and awarded back pay to 88 Japanese Americans who challenged their terminations. A 1983 state law awarded up to $5,000 to Japanese American employees who lost their state jobs.

But until last week the board had never said it was sorry for its part in the institutionalized discrimination.

"I applaud the State Personnel Board for its resolution," said David Unruhe, spokesman for the Japanese American Citizens League. "This apology was a long time coming, but it is a sincere apology nevertheless."

January 18, 2013
January state retirement applications to CalPERS up 15 percent

The number of state workers entering retirement spiked in January, rising 15 percent over the same month one year ago, according to CalPERS.

The fund's monthly report shows that 2,264 state workers applied for their pensions, compared with 1,970 in January 2012. It was the biggest comparative January increase since 2010, when three-days-per-month furloughs and labor unrest contributed to a 31 percent spike in state retirement applications.

Total retirement applications to CalPERS, which include state and local governments and school district employees, rose 3 percent to 4,657.

The fund counts pension applications from mid-month to mid-month, so the January data includes the last half of December. Many state employees retire during that period because of how CalPERS' times initial cost-of-living-adjustments.

Here's a broader view of monthly state retirement figures dating to 2007, with more detailed spreadsheets at the bottom of the page:

January 18, 2013
The Roundup: Raley's strike leader named to CalPERS board; CA legislators will look at CalPERS pay program

The Roundup: Raley's strike leader named to CalPERS board; CA legislators will look at CalPERS pay program

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Fri, Jan 18 2013 10:00:00

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.
Leader of strike against Raley's named to CalPERS governing board - The Sacramento BeeOne of the leaders of the recent strike against Raley's has been named to the CalPERS governing board. The newest board member is Ron Lin...
Lawmakers say they will probe dual jobs of California state workers - The Sacramento BeeLawmakers promised Thursday to investigate revelations that California's largest public pension fund has paid some salaried managers extr...
Capitol Alert: Dan Walters Daily: CalPERS revelations feed cynicism - sacbee.comWhat You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and...
Union accuses administration of aiming cuts at employees, not contractorsThe Obama administration is favoring contractors over federal workers in its strategy for confronting threatened across-the-board budget ...
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January 17, 2013
DMV says it spoke too soon about employees with two jobs

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is doing a U-turn.

After asserting otherwise this afternoon, officials at the high-profile agency now say they may have spoken too soon when they denied hiring any of their own employees for two jobs within the same department.

CalPERS suggested that DMV and three other departments may have used "additional appointments," a practice at the pension fund reported today by The Bee. DMV previously said it hasn't employed the double appointments, then it pulled back.

"Our previous statement may have been premature," DMV spokesman Armando E. Botello said in an email received by The Bee at 4 p.m.. "We are conducting a more thorough review of our records to determine whether the situation has occurred."

While state policy allows state workers paid an hourly wage to hold two state jobs at once, it's not clear whether CalPERS' decision to give salaried managers additional hourly jobs and pay is proper. The fund said it began the practice in 2011 to cope with crushing workloads created by the launch of a $514 million computer system.

January 17, 2013
Lawmakers to investigate CalPERS' hourly jobs for managers

MC_PEREZ_03.JPGAssembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Assemblyman Rob Bonta called news of CalPERS paying salaried employees additional hourly wages "disturbing" in a joint press statement released this afternoon and promised to look further into the practice.

January 17, 2013
DMV says it hasn't given employees second paid positions

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100607 CALPERS HQ.JPGUPDATE 5:28 p.m.: DMV says it spoke too soon about employees with two jobs

Although CalPERS thought otherwise, a Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman said today that DMV doesn't give its employees dual positions in the department to ease workloads.

During interviews and email exchanges with The Bee for today's report on CalPERS salaried managers earning extra money for hourly work, a fund spokesman said officials there believed that the practice is "relatively common" among state employers.

January 17, 2013
Column Extra: Jerry Brown versus unions over holiday pay

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much 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 Bee updates the lengthy court battle over disciplinary threats made against state workers who might stay home on Lincoln's Birthday and Columbus Day, even though the state dropped those occasions from its paid holiday list in 2009.

As our column explains, the tussle between Gov. Jerry Brown and three unions isn't in appellate court because of a dispute between labor and management over whether the holidays were legally removed. It's a question of whether this provision of the Dills Act was violated.

The unions won the first round in Sacramento Superior Court. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger , the state's employer-in-chief at the time, appealed. Brown has kept the appeal going.

Click here to see the 3rd District Court of Appeal calendar of the case.

Here's the original verdict by Sacramento Judge Timothy Frawley that the administration is challenging:

January 17, 2013
From the notebook: Can state managers take a second state job?

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.

Our news story in today's Bee looks at CalPERS' use of "additional appointments." The practice, which allows state workers to be placed in a second state job, is authorized by Section 350 of the state Personnel Management Policy and Procedures Manual.

But the 27-year-old document doesn't directly answer the question raised by CalPERS' application of it: Does a state agency or department have the authority to give salaried managers they employ a second rank-and-file position that pays an hourly wage?

January 16, 2013
Steinberg: Retiree health, CalSTRS need attention this year

During a meeting with the Capitol press corps today, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said lawmakers need to look at the cost of retiree health benefits and stabilizing the state teachers' retirement system.

The Sacramento Democrat said he doesn't anticipate any moves towards a hybrid-style retirement system for the state's public employees this year.

"I think that we resolved that issue last year, I think, in the right way by requiring all employees, including current employees, to contribute more, up to 50 percent or more, of their defined benefit pension," Steinberg said. "I don't think we're going to tackle that fundamental structure again this year at least."

January 15, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Lawmakers reach public pension deal

Thumbnail image for countdown 1.JPGThis is the last in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

Events that seem momentous at the time often are partially or completely undone by subsequent events or simply time's passage. How many high school buddies fade into memory's mist? How many marriages end in divorce?

It's especially true in politics: A century of legal race discrimination followed the passage of the 13th Amendment. More recently in California, voters passed Proposition 8, which is then challenged in the courts and could be undone there or by another ballot initiative.

While not nearly as socially significant as slavery or same-sex marriage, public pension changes in California have a similar here-today-gone-tomorrow history. Over the last 25 years, the benefit has become a political football, with state and local officials of all stripes playing one side or the other, approving benefits, pulling them back, rewriting laws or undoing them as the politics of the moment dictate.

On Aug. 28, about an hour before Gov. Jerry Brown formally announced it, The Bee broke the news that he had reached an agreement with lawmakers on pension reform. The announcement ended -- for now, anyway -- a four-year public debate over public employee retirement benefits waged by Republicans, pension reformers, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office and the Little Hoover Commission.

Now, just a few weeks into the latest pension-change law, there's controversy brewing over how it should be applied after CalPERS sent a list to employer members in December that views nearly 100 varieties of pay beyond base wages to be pensionable.

How will history view the deal first reported by The Bee in this post? A passing political fad or a permanent pension fixture?

Here's the most viewed State Worker item of 2012: Jerry Brown, Democrats reach deal on public pension overhaul.

January 15, 2013
The Roundup: CalPERS' rebound; Jerry Brown pressures colleges; SC tells workers to stay home

The Roundup: CalPERS' rebound; Jerry Brown pressures colleges; SC tells workers to stay home

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Tue, Jan 15 2013 06:33:18

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.

CalPERS' investments bounce back - The Sacramento BeeBoosted by stocks and real estate, CalPERS' investments bounced back strongly last year. The big pension fund said Monday it earned a 13....
How gay friendly is state government? - State Workers BlogYesterday, we reported that Salem was ranked 14th on a list of the "gayest cities in America." Since state workers make up a huge part of...
Legislative analyst embraces Jerry Brown's budget plan - The Sacramento BeeThe state's top fiscal analyst generally embraced Gov. Jerry Brown's budget Monday, agreeing that the state's spending and revenues are "...
Jerry Brown pressing for efficiencies at California's universities - The Sacramento BeeGov. Jerry Brown, who paid relatively little attention to the University of California for the first two years of his term, started showi...
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January 14, 2013
Columnist, CalPERS lock horns over implementing pension law

Columnist, CalPERS lock horns over implementing pension law

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Mon, Jan 14 2013 08:42:39

Over the weekend, Bay Area News Group columnist Dan Borenstein went bonkers over a Dec. 27 CalPERS memo to employer members that delineates nearly 100 varieties of pay that the fund's staff concluded fall under the definition of "normal compensation" for purposes of calculating pensionable income. 

The definition matters because it's key to implementing the state and local pension reform measure that took effect on Jan. 1. Borenstein says including all those pay extras leaves the door open to pension spiking. 

CalPERS' three-day Board of Administration meeting in Monterey starts today and implementing the new law is on the three-day agenda.
Daniel Borenstein: CalPERS planning to gut a key cost-control provision of new pension lawBy administrative fiat, the California Public Employees' Retirement System has undermined a key anti-spiking provision of the new state p...
CalPERS response: It's a preliminary interpretation based on consultation with lawmakers who wrote and supported the legislation. CalPERS already has stiff anti-spiking rules in place and the new law's cap on pensionable income adds another layer.

Borenstein's "personal bias and crusade against public employee pensions once again got the best of him," the fund said in this letter to the editor and published on CalPERS' website.
Dan Borenstein's Crusade Against Public Pensions Gets the Best of Him and Misleads ReadersDan Borenstein is one of the few columnists that understands many of the complexities of public pensions but his personal bias and crusad...
Here's the list:
Here's the letter to employers:
Here's the board's agenda. The pension matter is set for discussion on Wednesday:

January 11, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for cuts

countdown 2.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

With California's economy slow to rebound, the Brown administration held a series of secret meetings in the warming days of May to tell state employee union leaders that cuts in his 2012-13 budget revision would include about $800 million from compensation costs.

Brown was confronting converging issues: The state budget deficit had grown since his January budget draft, which didn't include the payroll cuts. He wanted to voters to approve a tax hike measure and the effort would be made tougher if state employees were spared from the same fiscal ax he was applying to social services and schools.

Some state workers thought Brown's whispers to the unions were treasonous. Isn't he a Democrat? Hasn't he said that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furloughs were a bad idea? And now he's leaning on furloughs???

But eventually, 19 of 21 bargaining units negotiated a monthly furlough day with the administration. Lawmakers imposed the unpaid time off on two bargaining units that held out.

Furloughs are scheduled to end June 30 of this year and, since voters approved Brown's tax measure, the 2013-14 budget is in better shape. (Brown says there's no deficit. Others disagree.) The governor's new budget plan avoids extending any state employee compensation cuts into the next fiscal year.

Here's the post that some state workers thought they'd never see: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

January 10, 2013
California state workforce to remain flat, cost more in fiscal 2013-14

Jerry Brown 2012 amezcua.jpgEditors note, 3:40 p.m.: An earlier version of this story used state job estimates from the 2012-13 enacted budget summary. This post has been modified using revised job figures in Brown's 2013-14 budget proposal that indicate a smaller number of current state positions.

California state government will pay about $501 million more for its employees in the next fiscal year, according to the budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown this morning, while the number of government positions remain essentially flat.

Brown's 2013-14 budget envisions 216,000 positions in the executive branch, the area of state government under his direct authority, at a cost of $15.7 billion. Government overall will grow slightly by adding about 6,300 positions, mostly in higher educaton.

The $97.7 billion budget plan doesn't call for extending the one-day-per-month furloughs set to expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Nor does it contain money for other raises for new contracts.

Brown declined to go into details about upcoming contract talks, citing his obligation to collectively bargain with the unions in good faith.

"We have to enter those negotiations with an open mind, but we have to live within our means. So I don't want to put too many of my cards on the table," Brown told reporters this morning, "Although everything's in the budget, so you can figure out sort of what the outside parameters are."

January 9, 2013
View parks' budget investigation interview transcripts

130107 natural_resources_logo.jpgAmateur sleuths, break out your magnifying glasses.

We've received inquiries about whether The State Worker will post documents from the attorney general's recent investigation of the parks department's budget-reporting scandal, since we posted more than a 1,000 pages from an earlier investigation of its secret leave cash-out program.

This time we'll batch together links to interview transcripts provided by the California Natural Resources Agency , which has made more than 2,000 pages of documents available.

Here are the first 12 transcripts, including the interview with former director Rusty Areias, of more than 40 released by the agency:

January 9, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown's pension reform legislation

Thumbnail image for countdown 3.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

It's not often that a governor issues draft legislation and invites lawmakers and special interests to kick it around, but that's exactly what Gov. Jerry Brown did nearly a year ago by releasing state and local public pension reform language.

Pension reform crusaders said the plan was weak. Minority Republicans, who had little political leverage, eventually co-opted Brown's pension legislation as their own and then dared the Democratic governor and majority-party lawmakers to reject it. The political judo move didn't trip up the Democrats, who simply ignored the Republican's/Brown's bill.

The public pension measure that Brown signed in September included many of his original proposals, from putting an end to service credit purchases and "pension holidays" for employers and employees to pushing back the normal retirement age and requiring workers and their employers to split normal pension costs 50-50.

Brown's hybrid pension idea didn't gain traction, nor did any of the changes to the CalPERS board's composition that would have required changing the state constitution.

How will history regard Brown's push for pension reform? It probably depends on whether the new law sticks for at least a generation. That's how long it will take for state and local governments to fully realize its impact on their finances and their recruiting and retention.

For now it's safe to say this: Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for all of his public-pension rhetoric, didn't accomplish the changes that Brown signed into law last year.

Here's the State Worker's No. 3 post of 2012: Jerry Brown delivers pension reform language to legislators

January 9, 2013
Read the legal arguments for ending prison oversight by feds

Gov. Jerry Brown wants the federal court to end its control of California's prisons, arguing Tuesday that the state has solved problems with inmate health care and prison overcrowding that prompted the intervention.

Bee reporters Sam Stanton, David Siders and Denny Walsh teamed up on this story about Brown's position and the coming legal battle it will assuredly provoke. Dan Walters' column today weighs in with historical perspective on Brown's prison politics.

Here's the state's request to the federal courts, which lays out the administration's rationale for the state resuming full control of the penal system. The main points are distilled in the table of contents.

Motion to Vacate by jon_ortiz

January 8, 2013
Legislation adds a paid holiday to California government calendar

State workers would get back a holiday they lost four years ago under the terms of legislation introduced Monday by Assemblyman Roger Hernández, D-West Covina.

The government would shut down for Native American Day on the second Monday in October, replacing what used to be the Columbus Day paid holiday on the state calendar.

If the measure becomes law, it would restore a portion of what lawmakers took away from state workers in 2009 when they thinned the state schedule from 13 paid holidays to the current 11 by axing Columbus Day and Lincoln's Birthday. Eventually, state workers received two floating days off each year that offset the lost holidays.

From the Hernández press release announcing the measure:

"This legislation is inspired by the recognition that the so-called discovery of the America's by Columbus eventually led to the genocide of Native Americans. This bill hence provides the proper respect and recognition to our Native American nations."

January 8, 2013
The Roundup: CA asks court to rethink prison overcrowding order; another CA computer snafu; FL governor giveth and taketh away

The Roundup: CA asks court to rethink prison overcrowding order; another CA computer snafu; FL governor giveth and...

Storified by Jon Ortiz· Tue, Jan 08 2013 05:59:00

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Halt in inmate releases sought - The Sacramento BeeClaiming that the state has made substantial progress in solving its prison overcrowding problem, California officials asked a federal co...
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January 7, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown plan cuts jobs, no furloughs

Thumbnail image for countdown 4.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

Almost exactly one year ago, Gov. Jerry Brown issued his draft 2012-13 state budget. For state employees, some of the most notable features of the plan were that it cut the state workforce by 3,000 budgeted positions and didn't envision a new round of furloughs in his cost calculations.

Of course, we all know what eventually happened with that.

Here's the Jan. 4, 2012 post that ranked fourth among the most-viewed State Worker blog items last year: Jerry Brown's budget eliminates 3,000 state jobs, axes agencies.

January 4, 2013
Former California DMV employee sentenced in fraud case

A former California state employee convicted of filing a false disability benefit claim and then lying to investigators about it was sentenced today in Sacramento Superior Court, more than three years after her arrest.

Judge Geoffrey A. Goodman handed Lisa Trevino-Angelo, now 41, three years of informal probation and a total of 40 days in jail, according to a court spokeswoman. Each of the misdemeanor convictions had carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

The judge recommended that Trevino-Angelo serve a medical furlough instead of incarceration. She has until Feb. 22 to apply and to qualify for the program or she must turn herself in to serve jail time.

As a personnel specialist working part time for the Department of Motor Vehicles in 2008, Trevino-Angelo applied for disability benefits. She claimed the chronic pain, anxiety and fatigue she suffered were so crippling that she was virtually homebound and hardly able to lift a coffee cup to her lips.

CalPERS, which administers state employee disability benefits, collected four hours of investigative videotape that showed Trevino-Angelo bowling in Elk Grove, lifting a toddler, jumping at a soccer game and carrying bags while shopping. She was arrested in 2009.

RELATED POSTS:
Former California DMV worker convicted of disability claim fraud
State worker's sentencing for fraud delayed until January
View Trevino-Angelo disability fraud documents

January 4, 2013
California attorney general releases parks investigation results

Attorney General Kamala Harris' office has released its investigation into how and why the Department of Parks and Recreation hid tens of millions of dollars in special funds for at least 15 years.

Bee reporter Matt Weiser, who broke the story last summer, has a breaking news story here.

Our sister blog, Capitol Alert, has an executive summary of the investigation at this link. Watch for more news in tomorrow's cyber/fiber Bee.

January 4, 2013
State scientists' contributions to No on 32 equal $40 per member

The California Association of Professional Scientists' spent half of its political money last year on defeating Proposition 32, the failed campaign finance ballot measure.

With about 2,500 members, CAPS is one of the smallest state employee unions. Still, the $100,000 it gave to the anti-32 effort amounted to $40 per member.

By comparison, SEIU Local 1000, the state's largest employee labor group, sent about $15 per represented employee (both fair-share and full members) to the anti-Proposition 32 campaign. The 13,000-member Professional Engineers in California Government, gave about $46 per member to defeat Proposition 32.

The scientists total political spending for the year came to $200,000, with about 1 percent, $2,400, going non-campaign contribution expenses such as legal and consulting services, Internet costs, meetings and appearances.

As you look through the CAPS PAC data that follows, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open pages with the information parsed and totalled a few different ways.

Remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions break out donations given to political campaigns and causes.

January 4, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown proposes 4-day work week

countdown 5.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

As Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, Jerry Brown said that state worker furloughs were a bad idea. But as a governor confronted with a $16 billion budget deficit in 2012, he offered up a modified version of the policy last summer -- a four-day, 38-hour work week that would cut state employees' pay by the same amount as one furlough day per month.

(The administration protested when media accounts used "furlough" to describe the short work-week plan.)

Critics noted that Utah saw workplace productivity drop off when state employees there went to a 4/10 weekly schedule. Others wondered how departments closed on Fridays or Mondays would do business with private businesses and other government entities that ran on a five-day work schedule. And what about months with five Mondays or Fridays?

Brown eventually worked out an unpaid personal leave day program -- don't call it a furlough program! -- with most state employee unions and imposed it on the holdouts.

Here's the breaking news post from May 14, ranking No. 5 on the State Worker's most-viewed items of 2012:
Jerry Brown's budget proposes longer days, shorter weeks for state workers.

January 3, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: SEIU Local 1000 agrees to furloughs

countdown 6.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

The 6th most-viewed State Worker blog post reported that SEIU Local 1000 and Gov. Jerry Brown had reached an agreement that cut one day's hours and pay per month for the final year of the union's contract.

In exchange, Local 1000 and Brown agreed to terminate student assistants and retired annuitants. Neither group is represented. The governor and the local also agreed to set up a task force on wasteful state outsourcing.

January 3, 2013
New LAO report dissects California state employee costs

So how much does California pay for state employee compensation? What is the state's running tab for retiree benefits? How many get a paycheck from the state?

The Legislative Analyst's Office answers all those questions and more in its new Cal Facts 2013 report, a compendium of public finance and program trends in California.

State Worker blog users will be most interested in pages 23 through 25, which deal with those state retirement liabilities, state employee compensation costs and the numbers of employees in various areas of government.

The LAO publication distills complex topics and trends into easy-to-understand charts and graphs. It's a go-to source for quick answers on everything from how many inmates transfer to state hospitals to renewable energy facts and state residents' average daily driving distance.

2013 Calfacts

January 3, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Unions blast pension reform legislation

countdown 7.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

The press event called by several public labor organizations convened in an upstairs conference room across from the Capitol with a single goal: Make it clear that the unions were angry about a pension reform bill on the verge of becoming law.

January 3, 2013
SEIU Local 1000 member demands more access to union records

Mariam Noujaim, the SEIU Local 1000 gadfly on a quest to publicize the union's staff expense records, says that her recent inspection of documents was so restricted that she is demanding another, longer look.

In a Dec. 28 letter to Paul Harris, Local 1000's chief counsel, Noujaim recounts the limits placed on her November examination of staff expense records:

During our recent audit attempt, you limited us to four (4) hours to inspect the records we were given. You also made certain that we had no skilled help to analyze what was given. We were not allowed to have a lawyer (much less a tax lawyer) or, an accountant, present (just SEIU members). Moreover, when we found something of interest, we could not make a copy or tell anyone what we found.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge signed off some limitations, such as how many people could review the records. Others conditions, however, were open to interpretation or left unspecified in court, such as the time allotted for the review.

January 2, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: U.S. Supreme Court rules against SEIU

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for countdown 8.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

In a year that saw government unions sustain losses in Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere, perhaps the biggest hit that a California public labor organization took in 2012 came out of Washington, D.C.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that SEIU Local 1000 didn't appropriately notify members and fair-share payers when it temporarily raised fees in 2005 and 2006. The 7-2 decision in Knox v. SEIU Local 1000 further defined the law requiring unions give nonmembers in closed-shop workplaces a chance to opt out of unexpected fee increases or special assessments.

The news of the court's decision was quickly drowned out a few days later by Local 1000's deal with Gov. Jerry Brown to accept furloughs for the last year of the union's contract.

Here is 2012's No. 8 State Worker blog post: U.S. Supreme Court rules against SEIU Local 1000 in fee case



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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