The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 13, 2013
Brown administration files final furlough brief in appellate court

jerry_brown_2012_amezcua.JPGLawyers representing Gov. Jerry Brown have filed their last brief in the final furlough skirmish between state labor and management.

The administration's brief attacks a lower court ruling in favor of Professional Engineers in California Government and California Association of Professional Scientists that said Brown in 2011 illegally furloughed their members two days longer than the Legislature had authorized.

Superior Court Judge Steven Brick also ruled that about 250 scientists and engineers should receive all wages lost to furloughs -- up to 70 days -- because their jobs involve cleaning up contaminated military base sites. The judge agreed with the unions that furloughing them violates provisions of the state's health and water codes and breaches a constitutional stipulation that legislation may deal with only one main subject.

Total back pay for those 13,000 or so engineers and scientists would cost the state an estimated $12 million.

The Brown administration has asked the First District Court of Appeal to overturn Brick's decision, saying that it incorrectly interprets the law. A decision could be a year or more away, since the court has no deadline to schedule a hearing or render a decision.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched furloughs in February 2009. Various iterations since then, whether imposed or bargained, have cost state workers between 5 percent and 15 percent of their hours and pay. The appeal is the last furlough case in a long string of more than 40 lawsuits filed from Los Angeles to Sacramento to the Bay Area.

Click here to read Brown's final appellate court brief.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

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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


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