The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 10, 2013
The Roundup: San Jose judge rules on leave cashouts; Texas denies union-rep rights; phishing scheme targets government workers

HA_newspapers3808.JPGSan Jose public employees: Judge says city owes retired librarian $28,000 for unused sick leave
SAN JOSE -- San Jose owes a former employee more than $28,000 for unused sick leave under a judge's ruling that puts the city on the hook to pay millions of dollars to other retiring workers from the generous perk that it has tried to claw back. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mary Arand's tentative ruling, dated Thursday, could influence other cases in California. Mercury News

Missouri workers could keep gun in locked cars
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (AP) -- The Missouri House has advanced legislation guaranteeing state workers the right to keep firearms in their vehicles on state property when they're on the job. KRCG 13

PUC official in hot water for trying to secretly record meeting
A routine staff meeting at the state Capitol turned controversial last week when a California Public Utilities Commission official was caught trying to secretly record the conversation. Sacramento Bee

Daniel Borenstein: Stockton bankruptcy explores whether pension promises can be broken
A bankruptcy judge's ruling last week declaring the city of Stockton insolvent sets the stage for a possible legal showdown over whether financially destitute municipalities can alter employee pension benefits. Mercury News

State jobless agency changing how it handles claims
COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's jobless will now have to file claims online instead of having state workers take their applications at a workforce center, a move required by shrinking federal funding, officials announced this morning. GreenvilleOnline.com

Under 50 and grabbing state pensions
Hundreds of lucky state employees are opting to jump into retirement before they hit age 50 thanks to loopholes in the law, a Herald review of the latest pension report shows. Boston Herald

Gov. Jerry Brown's prison program blamed in fatal stabbing

The case of a convicted felon who allegedly stabbed a woman to death at a Fontana park-and-ride has exposed flaws in Gov. Jerry Brown's controversial plan to give local governments responsibility for nonviolent prisoners, San Bernardino County authorities said Tuesday. Los Angeles Times

Caltrans watchdog bills pass Senate committee
SACRAMENTO -- Legislation aimed at making Caltrans more transparent was approved by the California Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Tuesday. Mercury News

The tragedy of the Oregon public employee pension system, and a solution: Guest opinion
Oregon's PERS system debate mirrors similar problems across the country, and tragically the debate revolves around two competing, yet necessary, values. First, as the poet Robert Frost wrote, there are "promises to keep" when employees work for years with the expectation of deferred compensation in the form of pension benefits as they reach retirement age. The Oregonian

Broken PERS system threatens state's fiscal health
As a retired teacher (albeit from our neighboring state to the south), I understand too well the sacrifices teachers make, and why they and many more Oregon public employees are intent on defending the state's Public Employees Retirement System. Mail Tribune

Even the law is corrupt
Our opinion: Public officers who betray the public trust should lose their pensions, but a law that supposedly does that exempts most current employees and lawmakers. That needs to change. Albany Times Union

Report: Benefits Push Average City Of Irvine Wages To Over $143K Per Year
IRVINE (CBSLA.com) -- Public employees of the city of Irvine earned total compensation packages last year that averaged nearly $150,000 per year including the cost of benefits, according to a study released Tuesday.IRVINE (CBSLA.com) -- Public employees of the city of Irvine earned total compensation packages last year that averaged nearly $150,000 per year including the cost of benefits, according to a study released Tuesday. CBS Los Angeles

Phishing Campaign Targets U.S. Gov't Employees
United States government employees are being told to avoid placing too much personal information on social media sites or other public pages. Phishers recently used that sort of data to target public workers in the energy sector. Infopackets.com

State workers raise money for deliveryman's family
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - State employees are raising money for the family of Nathan Leon. The pizza deliveryman was killed last month in an attack authorities believe is connected to the murder of Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements. KOAA.com

Some state workers in Iowa to pay part of health costs
DES MOINES -- Gov. Terry Branstad is releasing details of a salary and benefits plan for nonunion state workers that requires them to contribute 20 percent of their health insurance costs. Omaha World

Scrutinized public workers denied union rep right
A divided Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Texas public workers who belong to unions have no right to having a union representative with them when they're questioned during internal investigations. The Eagle

Only 1 in 14 Wisconsin government workers got raises
Madison - In the first round of pay raises since Wisconsin all but ended collective bargaining rights for state workers, supervisors issued average pay increases of 6.52% - but only about 1 of 14 eligible workers saw increases. Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

AFSCME Ratifies New Contract
Following fifteen months of debate and negotiations, the largest state employee union has approved its next three-year contract. Community Word

Workers want pay plan restored; Bullock, state seek 5 percent raises in deal with Schweitzer
HELENA -- Some state employees and state officials asked a Senate committee Tuesday to pass a pay-increase bill for state workers, but not before restoring it to the original level agreed to by unions and then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer last summer. Montana Standard

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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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