A new three-year contract for about 7,000 state workers in public safety and inspection jobs will add about $26.5 million in costs through fiscal 2015-16, according to a just-published review by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
The centerpiece of the agreement with the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association and Gov. Jerry Brown is a 3 percent raise on July 1, 2015. The union represents employees including California Highway Patrol dispatchers, Department of Motor Vehicles licensing-registration examiners, park rangers and game wardens.
Two other employee subsets in the union, state hospital police officers and developmental center peace officers, are in line for an additional 4.67 percent bump on the same date.
The agreement also gives employees the option to cash out up to 20 hours of vacation or annual leave each year at their employing department's discretion.
There's no official estimate of what that would cost, although the LAO says it would be "a few million dollars in any given year." While the leave buyouts would hit departments in the short-term, they're a long-term savings because employees who cash out when they exit state service do so at their final pay rate.
"At the end of fiscal 2011-12," the analysis embedded below notes, "the state's liability associated with Unit 7 employees' vacation/annual leave balance was about $55 million."
PHOTO: A California state park ranger scans the area near the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River in Auburn State Recreation Area on Oct. 27, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench