The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 8, 2013
Union-backed bills target managers' pay, special retirement fund

130408-beall-2013-senate-chamber-amezcua.JPGThe California Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee's hearing today is considering one measure aimed at increasing state managers' pay and another that would close and cash out a special retirement fund.

Senate Bill 216, by committee chairman Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, would require the Department of Human Resources to "address" managerial and supervisorial employees' salaries "consistent with the principle that a minimum 10 percent supervisory salary differential is appropriate."

If the state can't afford to keep management salaries at that level, then CalHR would have to explain its decision to the Legislature with a report on the affected positions paid below the 10-percent policy.

Management groups have long complained about what's called compaction, which occurs when salaried managers earn less that their subordinates. Unions are concerned with the issue because lower management pay creates a hurdle for negotiating rank-and-file wages.

Sponsors and co-sponsors of the measure include both organized labor and management groups, including the Association of California State Supervisors, California Association of Professional Scientists, California Correctional Supervisor Organization and Professional Engineers in California Government.

Beall has also introduced Senate Bill 277, which would close down and cash out the State Peace Officers' and Firefighters Defined Contribution Plan.

The defined-contribution program was set up for state firefighters and correctional officers. While the firefighters union never negotiated an employer contribution into the retirement fund, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association -- which is sponsoring the bill -- bargained a 2 percent-of-base-pay contribution for their members. The state paid that into the fund from October 1998 through April 2011.

The union and the state two years ago agreed to end those contributions. In exchange, CCPOA members received a higher deferred pay raise that kicks in June 30 for top-step employees kept the existing leave system in place.

Since then, the money has sat in a CalPERS-managed account, untouchable until an active employee left state service.

Beall's bill would terminate the account by Jan. 1, 2014, and distribute the funds. If participants make no choice for their money, it would automatically roll over into another special retirement savings account administered by CalPERs.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, listens during a Senate floor session in March. 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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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