The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Thumbnail image for 110520 Jimenez.JPGUnion delegates in Las Vegas have just re-elected Mike Jimenez to a three-year term as president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

Here's the vote count, as reported to The State Worker by Pacovilla blogger and CCPOA retiree Bob Walsh, who is attending the union's annual convention at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino:

In the interest of this blog's function as a forum, The State Worker asked candidates for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association presidency to tell us why they want to lead the union. Delegates at CCPOA's annual convention, which runs from Aug. 15-18, will vote on four men who are vying for the office.

Incumbent Mike Jimenez has declined to participate.

On Monday we ran e-mailed remarks by C.J. Mohammed. The next day we gave space to John Lanthripp. Today we're featuring four paragraphs from Marques Jones via e-mail. As with the other submissions, Jones' words have not been edited.

In the interest of this blog's function as a forum, The State Worker asked candidates for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association presidency to tell us why they want to challenge president Mike Jimenez. The CCPOA's annual convention runs from Aug. 15-18.

We posted C.J. Mohammed's statement on Monday. John Lanthripp offered the following seven paragraphs, which we have not edited, via email.

In the interest of this blog's function as a forum, The State Worker asked candidates for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association presidency to tell us why they want to lead the union. The CCPOA's annual convention runs from Aug. 15-18. Delegates there will vote on who will lead the union for the next three years.

We'll run one candidate statement per day. So far the challengers to incumbent Mike Jimenez -- C.J. Mohammed, John Lanthripp and Marques Jones -- have submitted responses. Jimenez has not yet responded to our request.

Mohammed offered the following two paragraphs, which we have not edited, via e-mail:

bp escorted robert.JPGAttorneys for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association have until Sept. 12 to file an opening brief in the $4.4 million union paid leave lawsuit the state has brought against the union, according to an appellate court notice posted this week.

The suit involves money CCPOA allegedly owes as reimbursement to the state for wages and benefits paid to members who were on leave so they could engage in union business.

See the Thursday print edition version of this story with comments from CCPOA's attorney.

HA CCPOA PRESIDENT.JPGThe Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has set aside about $350,000 to pay several hundred corrections officers while they attend their union's annual convention later this month in Las Vegas.

The arrangement with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is unique among the state's collective bargaining agreements. Up to 10 rank-and-file employees from each of the state's 37 correctional facilities may claim three days of what's called activist release time while they attend the Aug. 16-19 convention. This means that the state will pay them for those days without getting reimbursement from the union. A department spokesman was unable to provide an exact cost figure because it's still unclear which employees will attend.

Between 2006 and 2010, when the union worked without a contract, the activist release time provision was not in place. Activist release time was agreed to more than a decade ago in exchange for the union accepting other concessions, according to Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley.

The state generally bears the cost when employees take time off from work to focus on activities directly related to collective bargaining or special contract-related hearings. For other union activities such as conventions and social events, the union typically reimburses the state for salary paid to an employee who wasn't actually at work.

CCPOA has worked in both activist release time, which does not require reimbursing the state, and a release time bank, which allows employees to donate unused personal days to a fund that other union members can draw from. The union has told this year's convention attendees to request three days of activist release time and one day from the time bank.

Activist release time accounted for 0.2 percent of union leave used by employees in the corrections department between 2000 and 2005, according to an Office of the Inspector General report issued in 2006. The report mainly scolded the department for potentially costing the state millions of dollars by not properly monitoring the release time bank.

But the report also said the department's activist release time costs had exceeded the annual budget of $368,000 by a low-ball estimate of more than $400,000 from 2002 through 2005. At the time, the department said it had already begun establishing policies to better account for union leave time.

CCPOA spokesman JeVaughn Baker did not respond to multiple calls seeking comment.

PHOTO CREDIT: California Correctional Peace Officers Association president Mike Jimenez in June 2004. (Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee).

100609 gavel.jpgA court hearing scheduled for this morning in the multimillion dollar defamation lawsuit against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association has been delayed until Aug. 29.

The attorney for businessman Brian Dawe, who successfully argued that CCPOA ruined his livelihood, asked the judge for more time to file a brief opposing the CCPOA's request to put up a handful of properties the union owns as security in the case.

Under the new mutually agreed to timeline, attorney Daniel Baxter has until Wednesday to file the opposition brief. CCPOA will have until Aug. 22 to reply.

The union said last month that it didn't have enough cash to acquire a bond to cover an amount 125 percent above the $5 million award Dawe is due, pending appeal.

A jury original awarded Dawe $12.5 million, but Judge Lawrence Karlton, who heard Dawe v. Corrections USA, CCPOA, et al., lowered the award to about $5 million. While CCPOA and Corrections USA appeal the overall decision, Dawe is appealing the judge's lowering of the award.

The properties CCPOA has asked the court to accept as security include its headquarters, two homes in Natomas and land in Rancho Cucamonga.

The five-year-old case stems from when CCPOA ousted Dawe from the board of directors of Corrections USA. Dawe claimed the firing was unjust, and that CCPOA officials discredited him without merit. As a result, he said he was unable to earn a living and damaged his company, Flat Iron Mountain Associates.

110731 Dawe Notice

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

Attorneys for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Brown administration will have a chance to make oral arguments next month in the key outstanding court case on state employee furloughs.

A decision had been expected any day based on written briefs filed late last year and early this year, but the 1st District Court of Appeals announced this afternoon that it has scheduled a hearing for Aug. 18.

CCPOA initially won the case, and after some legal maneuvering the state was successful in getting the appellate court to consider the case.

Jonathan Yank
, an attorney for CCPOA, said the court might want to hear more about how this case relates to the landmark state Supreme Court decision in Professional Engineers In California Government v. Schwarzenegger that the furlough program was legal.

The CCPOA case is distinct in that its "self-directed" furlough program essentially involved state employees working for free with the promise of actual days off in the future.

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgPrompted by our recent posts on the "special fund" furlough cases in the state's 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, several blog users have called and emailed for the status on the fourth -- and legally distinct -- furlough case, CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger.

This gets a bit complicated, so hold on ...

Editor's note: This post was corrected on July 20 to report the correct September hearing date.

A bankruptcy court told Don Novey, the former head of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, to submit a new bankruptcy plan after questions arose about his original filing -- and he has.

Federal Judge Thomas Holman's tentative ruling Wednesday accepted some of the concerns about Novey's plan raised by the bankruptcy trustee and an attorney for CCPOA, which Novey owes $20,000 from an arbitrated contract disagreement.

Today Novey attorney Peter Macaluso filed an amended bankruptcy plan. Creditors and the trustee can now review it. Another hearing to confirm or further modify the plan is set for Sept. 6. Here's background on the case.

Thumbnail image for 110623 Novey file photo 2002.JPGDon Novey, the former president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, will have to submit a new bankruptcy plan after a creditor and a trustee both objected to his first one.

Bankruptcy court Judge Thomas Holman's decision prolongs a proceeding that has highlighted Novey's bitter falling out with his former union, which fired him in 2009 over allegations he breached his consulting contract with the organization. Novey still owes CCPOA $20,000 from an arbitrated settlement, but he is seeking to shed that obligation and others through bankruptcy.

Union attorney Barry Spitzer has vigorously challenged Novey's bankruptcy plan, implying that he and his wife, Carol, have hidden some of their assets and understated the value of others to shield them from the proceedings.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association has appealed a multimillion federal defamation lawsuit ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, a move that has led the union to offer its West Sacramento headquarters and three other properties it owns as collateral for a multimillion judgment against it.

Lawsuit appellants normally have to post a "supersedeas bond" to cover 125 percent of the awarded amount. CCPOA's court filing says it can't because "it has insufficient liquid assets to satisfy bank requirements."

Judge Lawrence Karlton, who heard Dawe v. CUSA and lowered the $12 million awarded by a jury last fall to about $5 million, has the discretion to reset the bond amount or waive it entirely.

CCPOA says that its headquarters, the two Natomas homes it owns and the land it owns in Rancho Cucamonga are worth a total of $6.2 million. The union is offering them as security while the appeal goes forward. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

CCPOA is appealing a decision that its representatives defamed businessman Brian Dawe and his associates and damaged his livelihood. Attorney Dan Baxter, who represents Dawe, has cross-appealed Karlton's decision to reduce the award.

Click here for earlier posts about the case that include court documents and a transcript. Here's the union's request to use the property as security during the appeals process. (Hat tip to Blog User J for flagging this for The State Worker.)
CCPOA's Alternate Security Motion

Alliance4Safety, which is a new effort by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association to unite law enforcement groups around common interests, has posted the video above on You Tube (CCPOA has also posted it on the union's website.)

The piece uses scenes from a California prison riot and splices an older "correctional officer" using a walker into the frame. He enters the scene from the right.

"Knock it off! You're in trouble now!" the hunched-over officer mutters. "You keep riotin'. I'll be there in a second."

The video ends with the on-screen message: "Raise the retirement age for cops? They're kidding, right?"

We mentioned in a post on Tuesday that today is the last day for most state employees to burn their 2010-11 Professional Development Days, although department mandates and some union contracts have caveats to that rule.

Here's a May 25 memo that outlines how CDCR is handling the policy for managers and rank and file. (Hat tip to Blog User J for passing it along.)
Requesting and Approving Professional Development Days

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 notes that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is both a debtor and a creditor.

Debtor: The state is restarting litigation to force the union to pay millions of dollars owed on its union paid leave tab with the departments of Mental Health and Corrections and Rehabilitation. The sides disagree on how much is owed.

Creditor: A lawyer representing the state's prison officers' union has filed several objections to a bankruptcy plan submitted by the former president of the state's prison officers' union that dumps tens of thousands of dollars in debt he owes.

Don Novey's plan would shed all unsecured debts, including the $20,000 he owes to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association from an arbitrated resolution to a contract dispute. Novey and his wife, Carol, owe much more than that in credit card and other unsecured debt, but CCPOA was the lone creditor to question the Noveys during a contentious bankruptcy hearing last week. This post has more details about the bankruptcy filing itself.

CCPOA attorney Barry Spitzer, whose questions during the hearing indicated he thought the couple undervalued or hid their assets, put his suspicions in writing and filed them with the court on Thursday.

"(CCPOA) hereby objects to the confirmation of the Debtors Chapter 13 plan as not being proposed in good faith," Spitzer wrote in a three-page document. Among his allegations:

>> The Noveys' gross income totaled more than $1.5 million from 2008 to 2010, during which time they didn't pay some taxes and ran up credit cards, "yet claim no significant assets." So where's the money?
>> The Noveys have overstated their IRS tax debt by about $30,000.
>> The Scottsdale, Ariz., condo they've claimed is a rental (and therefore protected property in bankruptcy) is actually a second home.

A hearing date is set for July 19 at 9:32 a.m.
Objection to confirmation of Novey bankruptcy plan

Several blog users have asked what's next for Don Novey, the former head of the state correctional officers' union who has filed for bankruptcy.

According to this schedule of deadlines and meeting dates, creditors and the bankruptcy trustee have until Thursday to file objections to Novey's filing. A hearing, should it be needed, is already set for July 19 on the sixth floor of the federal courthouse in Sacramento.

From the contentious tone of the creditors' hearing last week, we expect California Correctional Peace Officers Association attorney Barry Spitzer will file an objection on behalf of his client.

We wouldn't be surprised if he resurrects questions he raised in the hearing about the Noveys' cash and bank accounts (they told the court that they have about $2,700 in total) and whether their Scottsdale, Ariz., condo is truly a rental property. The Noveys said last week that it is, even though they bought it in 2006 but have never rented it out. (A rental property that generates revenue might not be seized in bankruptcy, whereas a second residence, such as a winter home, could be.)

Novey, CCPOA's former president, adjusted his bankruptcy filing in Sacramento's federal court last week. The amended documentation, which you can view here, adds minor property holdings, increases the estimated value of a pair of boxing gloves signed by Mohammed Ali from $250 to $1,200 and offers proof for the $5,000 estimated value of family jewelry, among other changes.

The amended filing also adds two timeshare properties, one in Cancun and another in Hawaii, worth a total $2,200.

Novey and his wife, Carol, filed Chapter 13 to avoid paying about $181,000 in credit card and other unsecured debts, including $20,000 from a stipulated settlement with CCPOA. The plan they filed with the bankruptcy court pays $82,000 owed in state and federal taxes and reschedules debts on their Rocklin home and the Arizona condo.

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

Last week's news that former CCPOA President Don Novey has filed for bankruptcy protection stirred plenty of comment about the man, his legacy, his split from the union he led for 20 years and the motivation behind The State Worker's coverage.

Don Novey, the former head of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, has filed for bankruptcy in Sacramento's federal court.

A May 17 court filing (see the link below) provides a window into the life of the former military intelligence officer and amateur boxer who has been credited with building one of the most powerful labor organizations in California. It also hints at what happened after CCPOA and Novey split amid accusations he had breeched his consulting contract with the union.

Reached today by phone, Novey declined comment. "I can't talk to you," he said.

Novey and his wife, Carol, filed for Chapter 13 protection, stating that their liabilities total $630,000 against assets of about $354,000. From December through May, which is the period of time the bankruptcy court is considering their income, Don Novey has earned an average $28,205 per month,which works out to an annualized earnings of about $338,470. Much of that income is exempt from creditors' claims.

That's down significantly from his 2008 income of $673,443 and the $576,225 he made in 2009.

Among the Novey's debts: $55,000 in federal taxes, another $27,000 in taxes owed to the state and unsecured debt of $181,000. Most of that is revolving lines of credit, but it also includes $20,000 owed to CCPOA from an "arbitration award," the bankruptcy filing shows.

Apparently that's money that Novey is paying after the union terminated his three-year, $150,000-per-year consulting contract late 2009 and then sued him. CCPOA alleged that Novey had spent time and used resources for other clients that should have been dedicated to CCPOA matters.

At the time, Novey linked the termination to his public criticism of CCPOA leaders' decision to suspend four retired union members. He also was publicly critical of the union's decision to hire a parolee, a move that was eventually upheld by the state's Office of Inspector General.

Mike Jimenez , CCPOA's current president, declined to comment on the Novey lawsuit during a May interview, citing terms of the stipulated settlement.

Novey's bankruptcy filing shows he's taken some real estate hits, too. He owes about $272,000 on loan taken out in 2009 on a Rocklin home he first purchased in 37 years ago. In 2006 Novey bought a condo in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $154,500. He still owes about $95,000 on it, but it's valued at just $48,000, according to the bankruptcy filing.

Novey, 63, retired from the CCPOA presidency in 2002 after more than 20 years in command. During his watch, union membership exploded as California built dozens of new prisons. Novey amped up the group's influence by using the millions its members provided to sponsor tough-on-crime ballot measures, elect legislators, punish political enemies and back union-friendly gubernatorial candidates.

But the falling out with his former union and his advice to several of his law enforcement clients to back GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman last year instead of the eventual winner, Democrat Jerry Brown, dinged Novey's reputation.

The case is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in Judge Thomas Holman's courtroom at 10:30 a.m.

Click here to download the 50-page bankruptcy filing.

Thumbnail image for 110520 Jimenez.JPGWe never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users data, notes and quotes from the notebook that informed what we published. This is the third in a series of posts spinning off "California Highway Patrol, prison officers compete for pay, respect," published on Tuesday.

Mike Jimenez, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, sat down with The State Worker last month for a lengthy discussion that informed Tuesday's story in The Bee about CCPOA and its sometimes-contentious relationship with the California Association of Highway Patrolmen.

Over breakfast at Crepeville in Midtown Sacramento, Jimenez talked about Gov. Jerry Brown, battles with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the union's future (including his decision to run for a third term, which we reported in this post).

Some highlights from the interview:

110520 Jimenez.JPGKill the rumors that Mike Jimenez, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, is about to retire. He's not.

In an interview with The State Worker this morning, Jimenez said he will seek re-election at the union's Aug. 17 convention.

Jimenez turns 50 next month and admitted today that he had considered retiring. Struggles to control his diabetes, a messy divorce and professional stress had driven him into a "dark period," he said. He took an extended medical leave of absence in 2009, fueling rumors that he was just hanging onto the office until he could retire.

Observers figured that Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander's re-election in December had cemented plans for Jimenez to retire at 50 and hand over the reins to his No. 2.

But the personal clouds have lifted, Jimenez said. The union has a contract for the first time in five years. His personal life has settled down. Some weight loss and medication has helped get his diabetes under control.

"I'm feeling much different now," he said. "My health is good. My spirits are high. I'm looking ahead and moving forward."

Unlike SEIU Local 1000, which chooses officers via individual ballot (today is the deadline for its latest election), CCPOA delegates vote for officers at their conventions. Jimenez won re-election to his second three-year term in 2008. Should he win a third term, it will be his last, he said today.

PHOTO CREDIT: CCPOA President Mike Jimenez at the union's West Sacramento headquarters / José Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee 2010

With just 400 to 450 words for our Thursday State Worker column, much of what we learn in the ramp-up to writing it never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that don't make the cut.

Our column in today's fiber/cyber Bee discusses the fitness pay provisions in the contract that Gov. Jerry Brown recently negotiated with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

As part of our research, we looked at all the CCPOA contracts (and the terms imposed on the union in 2007) to see how the language had changed over the last 20 years. We thought that State Worker blog users might like to see the pertinent sections, so we've cobbled them together here from documents posted on the Department of Personnel Administration's website.

Click the images to enlarge them:

1104119 Matt Cate.JPGThe Bee's Sunday editorial about the California Correctional Peace Officers Association contract has prompted Corrections Secretary Matt Cate to respond with a rebuttal to assertions the piece made about the deal.

Cate's letter, published on the department's "CDCR Star" web page, fires back at 10 points in the editorial.

Click here to read it.

Update, April 20, 5:15 a.m.: The Bee's editorial board has published a correction. Read it here.

PHOTO: CDCR Secretary Matt Cate / www.cdcr.ca.gov.

The Department of Personnel Administration has just posted the tentative memorandum of understanding with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

The PacoVilla.com Corrections blog posted a draft of the agreement earlier this week, but we're told by DPA spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley that the 208-page document released today is complete. One example: The DPA document includes a side letter about a field officer training program, whereas the earlier draft says the parties will meet within 90 days to hammer out a program.

The administration usually publishes a summary of labor agreements that include cost estimates. DPA hasn't done that with the Unit 6 contract because, we hear, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Department of Finance are still hammering out the final estimates. Those numbers should post soon.

Then the contract will go to the Legislative Analyst's Office for review. The LAO has 10 days to issue a report on what it believes the contract will cost or save the state.

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWe reported on Wednesday that a federal judge has reduced what the California Correctional Peace Officers Association must pay for punitive damages in a defamation case from $10 million to about $2.5 million. Judge Lawrence Karlton's Dawe v. Corrections USA, CCPOA, et al. decision can be challenged by the plaintiffs with either a new trial that focuses on the punitive phase of the case or taken to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Here's Karlton's order:
Judge's ruling on damages awarded in Dawe v. CUSA, CCPOA
IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgA federal judge has reduced a $10 million punitive damages award leveled against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association last year, although the plaintiffs in the case can appeal the reduction or seek a new trial that focuses on what the award should be.

Sacramento Federal Court Judge Lawrence Karlton rendered the decision last week, cutting what was a total $12.5 million decision against CCPOA -- compensatory and punitive damages awards combined -- to about $5 million.

The decision is the latest turn in Dawe v. Corrections USA, CCPOA, et al. Last October a jury unanimously found that CCPOA had spread falsehoods about Brian Dawe, a founder and former executive director/treasurer of Auburn-based Corrections USA.

CUSA is a national law enforcement coalition, and CCPOA is a member. The union eventually took over the organization's board then ousted Dawe five years ago after he raised questions about the coalition's finances.

Dawe successfully argued that the unjust firing and remarks by CCPOA officials and publications issued to explain his departure hampered his ability to earn a living and damaged his company, Flat Iron Mountain Associates. The jury awarded Dawe and his $2 millionin compensation. Another former Corrections USA employee involved in the matter, Gary Harkins, won a $315,000 defamation compensation claim against the union.

But Karlton took issue with the jury's punitive awards: $9 million to Dawe and his firm and another $1 million to Harkins. The judge lowered those amounts to match the compensatory awards. The punitive damages were "unconstitutionally excessive," Karlton said, noting that CCPOA's net worth was a factor in his decision.

That's not the end of the matter, however. Karlton gave the plaintiffs three weeks to ask for a new trial to argue for a higher punitive damages award. They also have the option to appeal Karlton's decision to a higher court.

Plaintiffs' attorney Dan Baxter couldn't be reached by phone, but he sent the following e-mail in response to a message we left with his office:

The board of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association on Monday approved the tentative agreement that union negotiators reached last week with Gov. Jerry Brown, according to Pacovilla blogger Bob Walsh.

As of Monday night, we couldn't find the agreement's language posted on CCPOA's website. The Department of Personnel Administration hadn't published the agreement online either.

Walsh, a retired correctional officer, attended the Monday board meeting. The late-afternoon vote went 47-4 with six abstentions, Walsh reported, noting that, "Interestingly enough, the whole Executive Council except (CCPOA President) Mike Jimenez abstained."

Walsh had a few more details that didn't surface in our reporting on the CCPOA contract:

Holidays will now pay double-time, as opposed to the old 1.5 time plus 8 hours of holiday time. There will now be no mechanism to earn holiday time. Holiday relief officers will go away, though the state still has an obligation to allow people to burn existing holiday time.

On July 1 every Unit 6 employee loses 1 hr of vacation time, which goes into the (release time bank.)

Walsh's opinion: "I honestly think that this is likely the best deal that can be had for Unit 6 at this time under these circumstances."

The California Correctional Peace Officers' Association has reached a tentative agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown.

DPA spokesman David Gay said that the administration isn't releasing the details yet.

CCPOA has been without a contract since July 2006 and has been working under terms imposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger since September 2007. The union represents about 32,000 state prison officers and parole agents.

The union "went all in" for Brown's gubernatorial run, CCPOA President Mike Jimenez told the Bee in an interview after the November election, putting in about $2 million toward media ads supporting the Democrat and attacking Republican candidate Meg Whitman.

CCPOA's deal, reached after marathon talks that concluded around 5 a.m. today, leaves bargaining Units 9 (engineers), 10 (scientists) and 13 (building maintenance and operations engineers) without contracts. Units 2 (legal professionals) and 7 (law enforcement and inspectors) reached tentative agreements last week.

Here are the details, in a letter from Chuck Alexander, CCPOA's executive vice president:
110315 Alexander MOU memo

This post has been updated with details of the deal. Updated at 3:27, March 15, 2011.

Thumbnail image for 100625 CDCR logo.JPGWe noted earlier today that Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan allows for a $395 million "augmentation" for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The money would go to pay correctional officers' salaries, inmate medical transportation costs and a few other things.

But does that mean Brown is assuming a contract with full hours and pay for correctional officers? Is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, one of six unions without a contract, going to escape a pay cut?

Gov. Jerry Brown's 2011-12 budget proposal provides for an "ongoing augmentation" of nearly $400 million that would go to "fully fund the salary and wages of authorized Correctional Officers, Sergeants, and Lieutenants, which is critical to ensuring that the adult institutions have the resources to pay security staff."

The deal also calls for tighter financial accounting from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

It's not clear whether the $395 million augmentation assumes a pay reduction for corrections staff like the one unpaid day per month in SEIU Local 1000's contract. The Bee's budget guru, Kevin Yamamura, has left a message with the Department of Finance to find out. We'll let you know what Finance says.

The money also would pay for "swing space beds," empty beds at prisons that allow for the flexible transfer of inmates from facility to facility. Swing space beds figure into staffing levels at prisons.

The Schwarzenegger administration virtually eliminated empty swing space beds and the staffing that went with them. But, Brown's budget says:

100609 gavel.jpgA Sacramento Superior Court judge on Tuesday ruled that a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the state against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association can proceed.

The union had argued that the matter -- which involves money CCPOA owes the state to reimburse wages and benefits paid for members on leave to do union business -- should go to arbitration as provided in their expired contract.

The state, specifically the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Personnel Administration and (mostly) the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said that the deal to continue union paid leave was a separate agreement, so a taking the matter up in court was appropriate.

(For more details and links to court documents, you can start by clicking here.)

On Tuesday, the court agreed with the state. Here's the tentative ruling, which was subsequently affirmed Tuesday afternoon.
CDCR v. CCPOA

Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe ongoing union paid leave dispute between the state's prison officers' union and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is entering a new phase next week, when a Sacramento court will rule whether the the matter should go to binding arbitration.

Editors note 12:10 p.m.: The vote tallies in this post have been updated.

Incumbent Chuck Alexander will continue as executive vice president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association after winning nearly 90 percent of 431 delegate votes this morning.

According to Bob Walsh, our man on the ground at CCPOA's convention at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas, Alexander opponents Charlie Mohammed received 41 votes and Walter Tucker netted eight votes. Alexander received 374 votes. Eight delegates abstained. Four were absent.

Walsh, a CCPOA retiree who writes for the Paco Villa Corrections Blog, said that Mohammed told assembled delegates that "a vote for Chuck is a vote for cop killers" before he walked out of the convention.

That was a reference to CCPOA's support for Senate Bill 399, which would have allowed re-sentencing for minors who receive life without parole for murder. The union's position on the bill, which didn't clear the Legislature, rallied CCPOA dissidents.

Click here and here for our earlier posts about the CCPOA convention, which ends today.

Thumbnail image for 100720 Jerry Brown.JPGGov.-elect Jerry Brown is speaking at the California Correctional Peace Officers Association convention today. His appearance, announced this morning on the convention floor at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas, was confirmed by Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford a few minutes ago.

Brown has spoken to more than a dozen interest groups so far, according to Clifford, who said, "He's carrying a message of the seriousness of the budget situation."

Despite the grim message, Brown's appearance in Las Vegas signals a turn in management-labor relations for CCPOA. The union has been out of contract since mid-2006 and under terms imposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger since late 2007. Its relationship with the governor has alternated between public recriminations and stone-cold silence, punctuated with furlough lawsuits and several dozen unfair labor practice complaints against Schwarzenegger and his policies.

CCPOA went all-in for Brown during the election campaign, spending big on media buys blasting Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and supporting the Democrat. Union President Mike Jimenez recently told The State Worker that getting a contract with the Brown administration is his top priority next year, but he recognizes that California's shabby economy and state government's serial budget crises are critical factors that will shape any labor deal.

PHOTO: Jerry Brown speaks during a July 20 campaign event. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee

A much-rumored effort to oust California Correctional Peace Officers Association President Mike Jimenez has fizzled at the union's Las Vegas convention.

CCPOA retiree Bob Walsh, a prolific contributor to the Paco Villa Corrections Blog, is attending the two-day meeting at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas and called us with the news.

"A recall vote never even surfaced," Walsh said. "No motion was made."

Jimenez also told the convention that he will not resign, Walsh said. Some union watchers had speculated that the 49-year-old Jimenez would step down over health concerns.

Some union dissidents had been calling for a Jimenez's ouster. They're upset over everything from the union's lack of a contract and its recent loss in a $12 million federal defamation case to disciplinary actions against members and its firing of former president Don Novey.

Now the question is whether Jimenez's No. 2, Chuck Alexander, will win re-election to his executive vice president post. Two candidates, Charlie Mohammed and Walter Tucker, are running against him. We'll report the results.

For weeks we'd heard from various union sources that the Schwarzenegger administration used a toaster oven to belittle the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the 32,000-member union that has been at odds with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for several years.

Now the truth can be told.

Indeed, Schwarzenegger's Chief of Staff, Susan Kennedy, did send a Black & Decker toaster oven to CCPOA President Mike Jimenez a few months ago. The State Worker saw the appliance on Monday during an hour-long visit in Jimenez's office. The toaster was still in the box with a white bow on top, sitting against a wall near his desk.

"It was a gift," Jimenez said.

The appliance arrived in September, he said, with a handwritten note from Kennedy recognizing a milestone in the number of unfair labor practice complaints filed by the correctional officers' union against the administration.

"It said something like, 'Here's a little something to commemorate the 75th ULP. Hope you haven't lost your sense of humor,'" Jimenez recalled.

Kennedy said this week that the toaster was just a gag and nothing more. But as word of the the appliance's delivery spread to other unions over the last few months, it's meaning morphed.

The speculation cast Kennedy as an erstwhile Vito Corleone in "The Godfather" and the toaster was like the horse head put in Jack Woltz's bed to convince the Hollywood producer to cast actor Johnny Fontane in a film. (Click the viewer to see the famous scene from the movie).

In this case, the rumormongers speculated, the message to CCPOA was, "You're toast."

Jimenez didn't see it that way. "I took it as being like a prize," like what banks used to give customers for opening an account, he said. "But I have to say, I didn't spend a whole bunch of time thinking about it."

101112 CCPOA camp.JPG
The band of dissident correctional officers and parole agents who set up a protest camp front of CCPOA's West Sacramento headquarters will pack up today.

Ian Pickett, the Kern Valley State Prison sergeant who organized the event to protest several recent moves by CCPOA's leadership and what the protesters charge is a lack of union transparency, wouldn't say whether the group will return next week.

"We want to keep them guessing," Pickett said this morning.

About 40 people, some from as far away as San Quentin, have visited the site since the protest started on Wednesday, he said, "and that's not counting the cops."

West Sacramento city police have come by the camp "a few times," Pickett said, but nothing happened. "They were really great, very professional -- and they wanted no part of this."

The protesters want the union's executive council to step down for reasons detailed in this post.

Lesley Price, a retired correctional officer who was at the camp this morning, predicted that "this movement's not going to stop. This is not some fly-by-night thing."

A message left with CCPOA seeking comment today wasn't immediately returned.

PHOTO: CCPOA members talk in front of the campsite they set up on Wednesday to highlight their anger at union leaders. Jon Ortiz / Sacramento Bee

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Editor's note, Nov. 12, 9:50 a.m.: This post has been changed to note that Don Novey has not been sued in court by CCPOA, although the two sides are in arbitration. Also, an earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Michael Flores as a CCPOA spokesman. Flores is a consultant with the union.

State correctional officers are staging a small protest at CCPOA's West Sacramento headquarters, calling for the union's executive council to step down over a series of legal and leadership miscues that the protesters say reveal ethical and possibly legal lapses among their leaders.

Eight men gathered this morning in the union office building's parking lot, near an SUV from which hung a crude spray-painted banner that read, "TAKING BACK CCPOA."

Their stated aim: Get rid of the current slate of CCPOA leaders and restore the union's honorable image, which they say has suffered from infighting, lawsuits and public spats with Schwarzenegger.

It's difficult to know how many correctional officers are involved with protest, since they're circulating to the site throughout the day, said CCPOA board member Ian Pickett, a Kern Valley State Prison sergeant who organized the event.

The protest started this morning at 8 a.m. Pickett said he'll stay there as long as correctional officers keep showing up.

Pickett ticked off a list of problems that the protesters have with the union's leaders, starting with a recent $12 million verdict against CCPOA in a federal defamation lawsuit.

"Why did it have to come to that?" he said in an interview this morning. "You have to be smart. Pick your battles."

Pickett also alleges that CCPOA officials suspended union-provided life and health insurance for eight Corcoran correctional officers and their families after the officers ousted the Corcoran chapter president who supported union President Mike Jimenez's 2008 reelection.

The union has taken legal actions against retired members, including CCPOA founder Don Novey, which Pickett called "despicable."

CCPOA has been without a contract since July 2006, and has blamed Schwarzenegger as a double crosser whose word at the bargaining table can't be trusted. "I blame Arnold," Pickett said, "but I blame (union leadership) even more."

The State Worker called CCPOA seeking comment. A receptionist channeled our call to CCPOA consultant Michael Flores , and we left a message.Flores called back this afternoon to request a correction to an earlier version of this post that wrongly referenced him as a union spokesman. He had no comment on this story.

PHOTO: CCPOA members protesting against the union's leadership gather near an SUV in the parking lot of the union's West Sacramento headquarters. Jon Ortiz / Sacramento Bee

As we reported last week, documents aren't publicly available that detailed the California Correctional Peace Officers Association's budgets and balance sheets in an Oct. 22 federal court hearing that produced a $10 million punitive damages verdict against the union. (That was in addition to about $2 million in actual damages the jury concluded CCPOA should pay.)

But the transcript of the Dawe v. CUSA, CCPOA hearing wasn't shielded. The State Worker acquired 60 pages of key testimony. They're posted below.

The conversation touches on a number of subjects, such as the decline of CCPOA's net worth; homes, cars and sports season tickets it has purchased; the union's employee payroll costs; property it owns in Southern California; member dues; the union's legal costs; it's fight with the state over union paid leave; unspecified political spending and more.

Before you start reading, here's the cast:

Mr. Nicolaysen - CCPOA chief financial officer Jeff Nicolaysen
Mr. Baxter - plaintiff Brian Dawe's lawyer Daniel Baxter
Mr. Mastagni, Sr. - David Mastagni, Sr., attorney for CUSA and CCPOA
Court - federal Judge Lawrence Karlton

101101 Jeff Nicolaysen Testimony

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgThe California Correctional Peace Officers Association has lost its appeal of a lower court ruling that found the state wasn't forcing correctional officers to work overtime without pay. Here's a bit of background from the 1st District Court of Appeal's decision:

In 2009, Kurt Stoetzl, a CCPOA member, and the CCPOA filed a first amended complaint seeking injunctive relief and backpay. In their first amended complaint, plaintiffs alleged that Unit Six employees routinely worked eight hours and 12 minutes per day, or a 41-hour workweek. Plaintiffs further alleged that defendants had a statutory obligation, under section 19851, to compensate Unit Six employees for time worked in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week at an overtime rate, and failed to do so.

Presiding Justice Barbara Jones and associates Terence Bruniers and Henry Needham upheld the lower court's ruling. Here's one reason:

A fundamental flaw of plaintiffs' arguments is that they presume that there must be a trigger for overtime compensation under state law that is more protective of public employees than what is provided by the (Fair Labor Standards Act). However, plaintiffs provide no authority for this underlying premise and we know of none. Plaintiffs seem to rely on a general assumption that any work in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week constitutes "overtime," automatically triggering a requirement for additional compensation. With respect to private sector employees, overtime compensation is regulated by various Industrial Wage Commission wage and hour orders and Labor Code section 510. Labor Code section 510, subdivision (a), provides in relevant part: "Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee." However, state and local government employees are exempted from the overtime rules applicable to private sector employees.

Click here to download the court's 17-page ruling. The decision comes one week after a federal jury rendered a $12 million defamation verdict against CCPOA. The union says it will appeal that decision.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

100831 calculator.JPGSeveral State Worker blog users have e-mailed to ask why we haven't posted CCPOA financial documents used in federal court last week to give jurors a sense of the union's net worth before they rendered a $10 million punitive damages verdict in the case, Dawe v. Corrections USA, CCPOA and others.

Here's the answer: We can't get them.

The State Worker has accessed the 7-page court document that details a federal jury's $10 million punitive damages verdict in Dawe v. Corrections USA and CCPOA. You can view the verdict by clicking this link.

The same jury decided that CCPOA should pay $2 million actual damages.

CCPOA has said it will appeal. The union has posted on its website an open letter explaining its side of the matter. The letter says that, "If there are any damages, those will not need to be paid until the appeal is complete - probably years from now." It also assures members that the union isn't bankrupt.

Bee columnist Dan Morain observes in today's Bee that, "The once-mighty California Correctional Peace Officers Association has fallen far." This link opens his column. Clicking here opens our report last week about the Dawe verdict and revelations in court about CCPOA's assets, revenues and spending.

In response to State Worker blog user requests, we're continuing to post some of the more noteworthy recent campaign contributions and independent expenditures by state employee unions as we enter the final days of the 2010 election. Here's a list of recent independent expenditures by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, including a $1.58 million in two installments to oppose GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.

(Side note: Today's report by The Bee's David Siders, "Whitman draws boos for refusing to halt all negative ads," touches on the fact that even the GOP candidate and her Democrat rival Jerry Brown pulled their attack advertisements, that the considerable IE spenders opposing Whitman -- or Brown, for that matter -- wouldn't be constrained to go along.)

You'll also see $215,000 to oppose Assemblywoman Anna Caballero's quest for the state Senate. If you missed the pension payback story behind that, check out Capitol Bureau colleague Dan Smith's report by clicking here.

A federal jury has slapped the California Correctional Peace Officers Association with a $10 million judgment for punitive damages in Dawe v. CUSA, CCPOA, et al., according to attorney Daniel Baxter, who represented Brian Dawe and two other men in the 3-year-old lawsuit.

The jury, which heard the case in Sacramento's federal courthouse, decided that codefendant Corrections USA also must pay Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgpunitive damages, but the total for the Auburn-based prison officers coalition is about $300,000.

The$10 million is on top of $2.3 million in actual damages that CCPOA already owed to Dawe and other plaintiffs. Click here for an earlier post on the case, which includes some court documents. We'll post more records next week as they become available.

Furlough time that state workers have on the books can now stay in the bank indefinitely, according to a memo issued Thursday by the Department of Personnel Administration.

PML 2010-015 outlines the well-known details of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest furlough order: The policy reduces state workers' pay by an amount equal to three days per month with most employees taking off commensurate time off the second, third and fourth Fridays. Several departments, union bargaining units and a few employee classifications also are exempt.

Then, at the bottom of the second page, this two-line paragraph:

100625 CDCR logo.JPGThe California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is suspending its inmate visitation program on Saturday and Sunday to save money.

The department figures the shutdown will save $400,000 in overtime costs for the two days, just before the 2009-10 fiscal year ends June 30. The policy doesn't apply to attorney visits or visits to terminally ill inmates.

Earlier this month, the department ended its "Third Day" visits for the same reason. That program expanded visiting days to include Fridays at 21 of the state's 33 adult prisons as a reward for inmates who participated in rehab. CDCR hasn't announced when it will restart the program.

A press release about the Third Day program notes the shutdown will "provide coverage for staff on leave due to state mandated furlough or other vacancies."

A Centinela State Prison officer was stabbed Thursday afternoon inside one of the facility's housing units.

The victim, who we're not naming at the request of the department, suffered 4 puncture and slash wounds in the back of his neck and on the side of his torso. Prison medical staff assisted the officer, then sent him to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

"We expect he'll have a speedy recovery," Centinela spokesman Richard Dubbe told The State Worker. "He's in good spirits."

A 6-inch to 7-inch metal weapon was recovered near where the officer was attacked. A inmate suspected in the assault is currently in custody and has been moved to another facility.

Hat tip to Paco Villa's Corrections Blog for flagging this incident for The State Worker.

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Court Files posts introduce lawsuits of interest to state workers. We highlight the case, link you to the file and show you where to track developments on your own.

  • Click on the case number below to download the file. (9 pages)
  • Check for subsequent filings on the Sacramento Superior Court's document viewing page. Plug the case number into the appropriate field, click the search button and then scroll down to see a list of documents filed.

Case No.: 34-2010-80000521
Filed: 4/23/2010
Petitioners: California Correctional Peace Officers' Association and Charles Alexander
Respondents: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Matthew Cate

Case summary: The union, citing the California Public Records Act, in February requested information on how much CDCR has spent litigating and settling lawsuits back to 2007. CCPOA says the department failed to respond, so the union is suing.

We contacted CDCR and asked a few questions:

  • Did the department in fact receive the request and fail to respond in a timely fashion?
  • If so, why did the department fail to respond?
  • Is the department going to respond now? Has the information requested been deemed exempt?

CDCR spokesman Paul Verke is checking. We'll let you know what we hear.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

With just 400 to 450 words for our Thursday State Worker column, much of what we learn in the ramp up to writing it never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes, the documents and the observations that don't make the cut.

As we reported in today's State Worker column, the state is suing the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association for about $4 million in union paid leave reimbursements to the Corrections and Mental Health departments.

You can click here to view the complaint for damages that the state filed Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court. It includes CCPOA's last UPL agreement with the state and the list of 13 union officials OK'd for long term leave while in their official capacities with the union.

The union disputes the amount and says it had a deal with officials that was subsequently broken by the state. In this Mar. 22 letter to CDCR Secretary Matt Cate, union Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander references a Dec. 3 agreement between CCPOA President Mike Jimenez and department Undersecretary Scott Kernan. CDCR has denied any agreement existed.

The State Worker talked to CCPOA spokesman Lance Corcoran about the matter. Here's what he had to say in a telephone interview late Wednesday:

On CCPOA's UPL tab: Unlike the State of California, we believe in paying our bills. We will make good on what we actually owe. That's never been a question. But we're not going to pay more than we owe. ... The notion that we are reneging on a bill is laughable.

On the deal the union says it had with CDCR: We thought we had an agreement. As usual with this administration, that doesn't mean anything. They have no honor.

Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpgWith all the recent furlough court action, we're just now getting to the latest development in the fourth of the four Alameda cases ruled on by Judge Frank Roesch and now with San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal, CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger.

When we last left this case, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's legal team had won a decision from the appellate court to temporarily block Roesch's order to end self-directed Corrections furloughs pending a resolution of the appeal or another order from the appellate court.

On Feb. 26, the appellate court denied CCPOA's motion to dismiss the governor's appeal, although it also said the union's arguments about the timeliness of the appeal had merit. The court said it would treat the appeal as a request for a writ of mandate and set a schedule for the two sides to submit documents to support their positions.

Schwarzenegger filed this opening brief on Monday.

The governor argues that Roesch wrongly concluded that "self-directed" furloughs constitute an illegal salary reduction for Bargaining Unit 6 members and that the self-directed furlough program violates labor law.

Schwarzenegger also contends that even if the self-directed furlough policy shortchanges some members who can't redeem their deferred time off by the deadline of June 30, 2012, they have recourse to individually sue for unpaid wages. "The presence of an adequate remedy at law, however, means (Roesch's) issuance of the writ of mandate in this case was erroneous," the brief says.

CCPOA has until April 28 to file its response, The governor has 15 days to reply after CCPOA files. There's no date set for oral arguments.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

The First District Court of Appeal denied CCPOA's motion to dismiss Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's appeal of Alameda Judge Frank Roesch's decision in favor of the union. The denial, issued on Friday, means that the correctional officers and their supervisors that came under the ruling will remain on furlough.

Now the governor has 30 days as of Friday to file its appeal brief, CCPOA has to then file its opposition brief within 30 days of the governor's filing. Then the governor has 15 days after that to file a reply. At some point yet to be determined, the court will set a hearing date.

Click here to read the court's Friday decision.

For more about the Alameda case, click here and here.

Thumbnail image for calculator.jpgCCPOA has paid $81,000 on its union paid leave bill, according to Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Paul Verke.

The union handed over the check on Thursday after we wrote about its $4 million tab for union leave pay that goes back to 2005. The payment represents about 2 percent of what the union owes the state for wages and benefits paid to state workers who took leave to work for the union. The tab goes back to 2005.

Corrections and the Department of Personnel Administration sent CCPOA a letter last week outlining two reimbursement options for its November union paid leave bill for six members: Stephen Walker, Donald Baumann, Lance Corcoran, James Martin, Leonard McLeod and Perry Speth.

The state proposes that if the six employees turn in timesheets -- something the union has balked at in the past -- CCPOA would reimburse their salary plus 36 percent of their total compensation to cover benefits. No timesheets, and the rate would jump up to 49 percent.

CCPOA didn't return a call seeking comment, but our guess is that the union will contest how furlough hours figure into the equation. CDCR's calculations don't include a 14 percent furlough discount on base pay.

As we recounted in last Thursday's State Worker column CDCR had threatened to sue the union and to cut off pay to CCPOA members currently on union paid leave if it doesn't come up with half the cash by the end of this month and pay its October invoice in full.

Click here for the state's November UPL calculations for CCPOA and a letter explaining Correction's position.

IMAGE: www.freefoto.com

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpgThe Schwarzenegger administration has filed another brief in its legal slugfest with CCPOA over the validity of the governor's appeal of a recent court decision on "self-directed" furloughs.

Click here for our last post about the 1st District Court of Appeal case. To sum up, the governor appealed a December Superior Court decision that "self-directed" furloughs of correctional officers are illegal -- which would normally freeze the status quo (in this case, keep self-directed correctional officer furloughs in place) while the case goes to appeal.

CCPOA's attorneys contend that the appeal isn't valid because Judge Frank Roesch didn't issue a judgment, which lays out the logic behind the ruling. No valid appeal, no frozen status quo. No frozen status quo, no self-directed furloughs for correctional officers starting in January.

A pertinent point from the governor's latest brief: Roesch had instructed CCPOA attorneys to draft a writ of mandate (the order to stop the self-directed furloughs) and the judgment for his review. It's a common practice.

Click the following link to find out what the governor's lawyers say CCPOA attorneys did instead.

With just 400 to 450 words for our Thursday State Worker column, much of what we learn in the ramp up to writing it never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes, the documents and the observations that don't make the cut.

Today's column, which you can read by clicking here, notes that Corrections and the Department of Personnel Administration are ready to unleash the lawyers on CCPOA to recover about $4 million in Union Paid Leave money. And CDCR is ready to pull the UPL plug on six people currently on UPL unless the union coughs up some cash.

Check out these links for more details about the dispute:

The 30-day notice letters from Corrections SecretaryMatt Cate and DPA Director Debbie Endsley to CCPOA VP Chuck Alexander.

The summary of UPL billing to CCPOA through through May 2009.

The 2006 press release about then-Inspector Gen. Matt Cate's report that CDCR "mismanaged" $12 million in resources tied to union paid leave.

100205 Anthony Kennedy.JPGState senator v. Supreme Court justice, mano a mano.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who hails from Sacramento, earlier this week criticized U.S. prison sentencing policies and zeroed in on California's "three-strikes" law as particularly troublesome. He also hammered "the correctional officers' union," calling CCPOA's support of three-strikes sentencing "sick." Click here to read the LA Times account of Kennedy's remarks at Pepperdine University.

100205 Tom Harman.JPGThe judge's opinion prompted state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, to issue an e-mail blast on Thursday with the headline, "Three-Strikes is not 'sick' but lenient early release policies are."

The closing graph of the release:

With all due respect to Justice Kennedy, the day to day issues facing a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in no way resemble the day to day issues facing California's law enforcement officials and district attorneys. I can only hope when our appeal of the federal-three judges' action on prison over-crowding reaches him, that he can be open-minded and fair.

IMAGES: Anthony Kennedy (top) / Sacramento Bee, 2009; Tom Harman / Sacramento Bee, 2006

Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpgCalifornia's correctional officers' union has sued a longtime union member in Sacramento Superior Court. The defendant, Steve Fournier, says he doesn't mind the lawsuit. In fact, he welcomed it.

California Correctional Peace Officers' Association v. Steve Fournier went before a Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang last Friday. The suit alleges that the retired CO and former union employee used his access to a Sacramento warehouse to steal sensitive union documents. Information from those papers, the lawsuit contends, have surfaced on a blog that is "heavily critical of the current leadership of CCPOA, and its president in particular."

Fournier says he took nothing, doesn't have any purloined records and that his critical blog posts come from knowledge gained as a former CCPOA union insider.

Click the following link to read more about CCPOA v. Fornier.

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Court Files introduce lawsuits of interest to state workers. We highlight the case, link you to the file and show you where to track developments on your own.

  • Click on the case number below to download the file. (24 pages)
  • Check for subsequent filings on the Sacramento Superior Court's document viewing page. Plug the case number into the appropriate field, click the search button and then scroll down to see a list of documents filed.

Case No.: 2010-80000426
Filed: 01/19/2010
Petitioner: David Clark
Respondent: California State Personnel Board
Real Party in Interest: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

From the court file:

CDCR served CLARK with an adverse action dismissing him from his position as a Physician and Surgeon effective the close of business April 26, 2002. The gist of the action against CLARK is that on June 27, 2000, he examined an inmate who claimed that he could not move his arms and legs following a fight. After conducting various tests on the inmate CLARK believed the inmate did not have the injuries he claimed. CLARK did not order an x-ray to determine whether the inmate had any spinal damage, and returned him to his cell. The next day other prison doctors had the inmate x-rayed, discovered severe cervical spinal damage, and rushed the inmate to the hospital. The inmate became a quadriplegic. CLARK was charged with failing to send the inmate for an x-ray and failing to properly diagnose the inmate's condition.

CLARK filed a timely appeal with the SPB. On October 22,2009 the SPB issued its decision sustaining his dismissal. CLARK has, therefore, exhausted his administrative remedies.

In sustaining the dismissal against CLARK, the SPB abused its discretion because the
findings are not supported by substantial evidence and/or denied CLARK his due process rights ...

Click the case number above to read the complete complaint, which includes a copy of SPB's dismissal appeal decision and 21 points that his attorney, Steven Bassoff, says aren't supported by the evidence or violate his client's rights.

CCPOA Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander blasted Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for arguing that correctional officers are too important to the prison system to end their "self-directed" furloughs but not important enough to exempt from the controversial policy.

In a letter to Cate on Friday that you can read by clicking this link, Alexander referred to arguments from Schwarzenegger's recent petition to the 1st District Court of Appeal to keep Controller John Chiang from restoring correctional officers to full pay this month.

One could reasonably deduce from the State's position in this petition, that Unit 6 correctional peace officers are critical to "the preservation of human life and safety." However, in the same brief, the State vigorously defends the continuation of furloughing these same peace officers in "self-directed" fashion, yet continues to argue that furloughs during the pay period they were earned would somehow jeopardize public safety.

As we noted in this post, the governor's attorneys filed a writ of supercedeas last week that included a deposition by CDCR Deputy Director Scott Kernan that lays out a catastrophic scenario if the state gives all correctional officers their furlough time off during each pay cycle instead of deferring it as self-directed furloughs allow.

Is Alexander right? If prison officers are so vital to public safety that furloughing them like, say, DMV employees, would disrupt the prison system and create a public and prison safety hazard, should they be exempt from the policy altogether?

Take our poll to register your opinion. And, as always, we welcome your comments.

Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpg Our State Worker column in today's Bee lays out the latest developments in the tussle between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and State Controller John Chiang over whether CCPOA members and their supervisors should receive full pay for January. You can click here to get up to speed on why Chiang says he has to do this and click here for a blog post that details the heat-seeking letters that flew back and forth between the SCO and the Department of Personnel Administration on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday afternoon Schwarzengger filed a "petition for writ of supersedeas and request for temporary stay" in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal to keep Chiang from restoring correctional officers to full pay.

Click the following link for links to court documents and to read what CDCR says ending self-directed furloughs would do to the prison and parole systems.

As Bee colleague Andrew McIntosh reports today in this story, Controller John Chiang plans to issue full pay to state correctional officers in the wake of Judge Frank Roesch's CCPOA furlough lawsuit decision.

After reading Andrew's story to get up to speed, click the following link for documents that lend more insight into the controversy.

Controller John Chiang said Tuesday he's going to restore full pay to the state correctional officers for the state government's January pay period.

Chiang and his chief attorney, Richard Chivaro, say the controller must make the move to comply with an Alameda County judge's mid-December decision in a heated furlough case pitting the governor against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

The Schwarzenegger administration immediately declared the maneuver illegal and vowed to fight it in the courts.

The administration will file papers in the 1st District Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning to "prevent this illegal action by the controller," Department of Personnel Administration spokesman Lynelle Jolley said Tuesday night.

Jacob Roper, a spokesman for Chiang, said the controller is acting because he wishes to comply with the court decision issued by Alameda County Judge Frank Roesch and thus avoid the risk of potential future contempt-of-court charges.

Chiang plans to get his office to make changes to the state's payroll system to eliminate the pay cuts resulting from the three furlough days a month ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Roper said the controller's actions have nothing to do with with the CCPOA's generosity to his political campaigns since 2006.

CCPOA lawyers argued that state corrections officers have had three days' pay deducted from their checks every month, but were never allowed to take the time off and had no hope of taking any time off anytime soon.

Chiang's move affects only CCPOA's case, not any of the three cases in which Roesch ruled in late December.

December 24, 2009
CCPOA, Novey and CO furloughs

Before yesterday's furlough news broke, our plan was to write our Thursday column about the two big developments with CCPOA, namely its furlough win Thursday in Alameda Superior Court followed by the revelation on Friday that it had axed its consulting contract with founder and former president Don Novey.

So we'll tackle those two topics here.

It looks like the CCPOA lawsuit was the first decision handed down because it was the most clear cut in light of the law. (Read more about the specifics of the ruling by clicking here.)

Union lawyer Gregg McLean Adam made this key argument to Judge Frank Roesch during oral argument in November: "There are legal consequences if (furlough time on the books) expires (by the June 2012 deadline). The state has a duty to pay employees monthly, and furlough time must be taken off during the pay period. ... Otherwise, the state could put off its obligations to pay indefinitely. ... What if they issue a memo tomorrow (putting off the redemption deadline) to 2015?"

Look for other unions with employees on self-directed furlough to make the same argument.

But here's the question: Is the CCPOA win a Pyrrhic victory?

Click the following link to read the e-mail response to the CCPOA win by the Schwarzenegger administration.

797-7W28NOVEY.highlight.prod_affiliate.4.JPGAs reported in The Bee today, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association has fired Don Novey, a labor icon who built the union into one of the most powerful political forces in the state. Novey retired as CCPOA's president in 2002, but he was a contracted consultant for the union until, he says, CCPOA terminated his three-year deal this week.

The union declined to comment for The Bee's story, although spokesman Lance Corcoran didn't deny Novey had been fired.

Here's Novey's e-mail response to CCPOA President Mike Jimenez, who has returned to his post after several months off for an unspecified medical reason. The Bee obtained the e-mail from a third party with knowledge of the matter before confirming its authenticity with Novey.

From: Don Novey
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 10:10 AM
To: Mike Jimenez
Subject: termination

Mr. Jimenez: I just received your termination notice today (17/12/09). Nice holiday gift. I never received your September 2009 message that you placed through a third party. Also we discussed the working with the three law enforcement organizations during June of 2008. However you were preoccupied defending an exfelon and did not return my 15 telephone calls along with your #2. We all know that he was alone with our staff and you did nothing. Also, when the contract was up for ratification, you were home asleep and had to be awakened by Robert Dean. Former speaker Brown was so embarrassed by your poor judgment and lack of professionalism. Jimenez, it's fine to go after me, but your Stalin like attacks on the membership and inability to focus on the concerns of the troops disappoints me. You never had a master plan in place and tried to get by the seat of your trousers. Your switching of the negotiation teams (a/b) was utterly a joke at DPA. If you would have delivered then there would have been no furloughs. By the way my work on proposition 94 was in conjunction with your endorsement of that measure. Jimenez, you unfortunately will have to deal with me in the future and my respect for the line troops will continue. Therefore your conclusion about destroying the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) with other group is pure horse manure. Jimenez get a life and return to the institution. Also set time aside next week for my appeal and I'm requesting all documents that were made in your determination of termination. Please have the documents ready for my review next Monday (21/12/09). In closing, I consider your action unfortunate and displaying poor leadership skills.

Ps: I've called you twice today without response, but what's new.

Click the following link to read Novey's second e-mail to Jimenez.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Monday it will issue 1,300 new layoff notices in Sacramento, Amador, Fresno and elsewhere after the assumed $1.2 billion cut to the department's budget.

Department chief of staff Brett H. Morgan announced details of the layoff plan in a letter to staff this afternoon.

"These truly are difficult times, and your concern and frustration are shared," Morgan told CDCR workers in a two-page letter that explained that layoff notices will go out this week.

Click this link to read it: CDCR Layoff notice 8.23.2009.pdf   The latest layoff notices are in addition to the 3,665 others that the department issued to workers on May 15, said Mary Hernandez, CDCR undersecretary for administration.


The division of juvenile justice will be the hardest hit. It will see 1,200 layoff notices issued to staffers with the least experience in Sacramento, Amadaor, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Bernardino San Joaquin and Ventura counties.

Only 100 layoff notices will be issued in the adult division, Fernandez said. The 1,300 includes twenty-five people to be put on layoff notice from CDCR headquarters here in Sacramento, she added.

The notices don't mean people will actually be laid off.

The employees affected will be put on a state restriction of appointment (SROA) list, giving them first shot at other CDCR jobs - either in their county or outside their county - as they come up during the period before they are truly laid off.

Fernandez was unable to say how many of the 3,665 who recieved such notices in May ended up without a state job at the end of the 120 day period.

The State Worker is trying to get that information for a post tomorrow. If you were among that first wave of layoff notice recipients, let us know how you fared.

Click here to listen to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" story, "Folsom Embodies California's Prison Blues." The Thursday piece runs 12 minutes, 21 seconds.

If you can't link directly to the NPR media player, click here and scroll down to the headline. You can download the Webcast from there or read a transcript.

While we're on the topic of prisons, Murrieta Republican Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth's office put out some data this week that we'll pass along for your inspection and comment, since we know a lot of CDCR folks are blog users.

Click the link below for an intro and link to the data.

Two sources are reporting that California Correctional Peace Officers Association convention delegates have voted on Tuesday to allow the union's executive council the leeway to call for a strike vote by members.

We called the union today to confirm the two independent reports, but we haven't heard back from CCPOA officials yet.

The popular Paco Villa Corrections blog says this:

Expressing outrage over the union-busting antics of the Schwarzenegger Administration, the CCPOA Convention concluded yesterday with the approval of a motion to conduct a strike plebiscite.

Click here to read the rest of the blog's report and analysis, which concludes, "At risk of incurring the wrath of my pro-strike brethren, let the record show, Paco Villa's blog is the unofficial NO STRIKE ZONE."

The second report comes from "The Green Flash," an online publication of the California Men's Colony:

To Our Members,

Yesterday (July 14, 2009) during the convention, the supreme body, consisting of all seeded delegates, voted 319 to 46 to authorize the Executive Council, if deemed necessary, to send out a vote to the entire membership to authorize a strike.

If the Executive Council finds it prudent to strike, an entire general membership vote will be required to authorize this action. A strike can only occur with the simple majority approval of all votes received from the general membership. The individual institution boards will not be voting on your behalf.

CMC's delegates voted unanimously (10-0) to authorize the Executive Council (E.C.) to call for a strike vote. More information will be presented as it becomes available.

United We Stand.

Pat Campbell, CMC CCPOA President

CCPOA Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander has sent lawmakers a list of Corrections and Rehabilitation Department cuts that he says would produce "more than a billion dollars of potential savings in the corrections budget ... without compromising public safety, prison security or the safety of correctional officers and other prison staff."

The list, which as of this writing isn't on the union's Web site, lists 10 ideas and concludes,

These are just some of our recommendations for reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of California's correctional system. We look forward to working with you to find others that will help the department succeed in its fundamental mission -- protecting the people of California.

To read the CCPOA plan, click the link below.

We spoke this afternoon with Chuck Alexander, acting president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, about the layoffs announced last week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So far, CCPOA has been mostly silent about budget matters affecting their members, including the 5,000 layoff notices sent out to state workers. Preliminary reports indicate that up to 3,600 of the letters have gone to Corrections and Rehabilitation Department employees, and most of those went to correctional officers with 15 months or fewer on the job, Alexander said.

(Note: The Department of Personnel Administration has pushed back its release of specific information about the layoff from this afternoon to Wednesday. The reason, we're told, is that the state needs more time to collate the lists of notified employees before presenting them to the unions.)

Read our Q&A with Alexander after the jump.

The powerful union representing 30,000 correctional peace officers statewide has joined the  battle to torpedo Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough and 10 percent pay cut plan.

Three San Francisco lawyers for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association have filed their own case against the state, the governor and the Department of Personnel Administration in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Lawyers Gregg Adam, Jonathan Yank and Jennifer Stoughton say in court documents filed earlier this week that the furlough and pay cut moves are illegal, unconstitutional and must be stopped by the court.

The union says its members pay cannot be cut without prior approval of the legislature and that has not occurred.

The union's complaint likely will be steered to the desk of Judge Patrick Marlette.

Marlette is already hearing similar cases filed by the state engineers and scientists and the Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, later this month.

Read the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association legal complaint here.

Thumbnail image for ccpoa-thumb-200x200.gifIn case you missed it, our Cap Bureau colleague Shane Goldmacher reports on his Capitol Alert blog that

Former Senate leader Don Perata has transferred another $400,000 to his legal defense fund from a campaign account he created to advocate for ballot measures.

This transfer follows a $1.5 million shift from $2.7 million that Perata collected to fight Proposition 11, the redistricting measure passed by voters in November. He's using the money to fight a federal corruption investigation. With this second money move, Perata has roughly $600,000 left in the campaign kitty. He spent a little more than $160,000 on the anti-Prop 11 campaign.

It should be noted that moving money in this fashion is legal.

As Shane reported in an earlier story, CCPOA gave $600,000 to the anti-Prop 11 campaign.
We heard from plenty from angry CCPOA members and non-members when we blogged about this last week. More angry calls and e-mails followed our analysis in our Thursday column. However, one former correctional officer we reached said of Perata's decision, "Good for him."

ccpoa-thumb-200x200.gifFor today's State Worker column about reaction to CCPOA's $600,000 defacto donation to Don Perata's legal defense fund, we reached out to a number of correctional officers, hoping for an on-the-record take from someone who hadn't been quoted before.

One person we contacted, Dave Freeman, is a recently retired CO and union supporter.

We asked Freeman, "How do you feel about what Perata did?" He responded, although his e-mail landed too late for us to make room in today's column. Fortunately, we can offer it here as a column extra for faithful users of this blog:

So.....Don Perata took our $600K? How do I feel about it? Good for him. That's how things get done in politics Jon, in California, in the Federal Government, and everywhere else.


Men are corrupt Jon. And you know that. Bureaucracies are just groups of corrupt men. The state prison is rife with corruption, as is most of California Government. So we have unions in state government for the same reason we have unions in the private sector. To protect workers from corrupt employers, they are a necessary evil. That's all there is to it.

I never promoted within the California System. The perception among many of us is that management promotes, for the most part, their friends and relatives. The current disciplinary matrix is being used as a management tool to run rough shod over line staff, who are seen as a threat by an incompetent, corrupt, prison management in the California system. Unions protect the workers Jon. And it takes money to promote their agenda.


Since I retired from California, I no longer fear repercussions from management like I used to. Prison employees fear their leadership Jon ... another reason we need strong unions.

I don't know where this country and the state of California are headed. As the bureaucracies get larger, the corruption and incompetence seem to increase. It's easy perhaps, to scapegoat unions or state employees, but unions are a reaction to the problem, not the problem itself.


Take care, Jon. This has probably reached you too late to be of any use to your column tomorrow, but feel free to contact me in the future if you like.


Merry Christmas, and may God bless you and your family.

Dave Freeman


The Campaign for New Drug Policies and the Drug Policy Alliance Network, backed by billionaire George Soros, have a new pro-Prop 5 ad that says, "Our prisons are overcrowded, and our prison guards are overjoyed."

Why? Because, the ad says, overcrowded prisons equals overtime for prison guards.

Clearly, the pro-5 folks think that there's a rich vein of public disdain for correctional officers to be mined.

The ballot measure would boost state spending on drug rehab programs by hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Many offenders in prison on drug and property crimes would be taken out of jail and put into treatment.

Proponents say passing Prop 5 would stem prison costs. Opponents say that it would put more convicts on the street and give them more chances to commit crimes than if they were behind bars.

This sad story broke in today's Bee. Our condolences to Officer Steve Lo's wife and his five children.

In our line of work you get to know a lot of people. One of the folks we've talked with quite a bit is Ian Pickett, a sergeant at Calipatria State Prison in Imperial County. He's been a bold, thoughtful advocate for his profession, willing to speak openly and on the record about what he likes and doesn't like about the job, CCPOA and leadership by state officials.

We quoted Pickett in our recent CCPOA pay story. Here's his e-mailed assessment of the piece:

Just read your article, not bad but it still leaned a little biased. I dont really blame you for that though, there is just a huge lack of knowledge on the general public's part of what really happens behind those walls.

Many, many Correctional Officers have degrees as well as other sources of higher education. Many of us are in fact high school graduates and just blessed with common sense. Then there are many like myself, veterans (USMC -for me) that went to the military and when getting out found a job that could take care of our families and utilize the skills that we attained in the military, unfortunately, for so many of us the skill that we rely on most, is how to survive in combat.

There are many lower level prisons in the state of California that might not experience the violence against staff like my prison or some of the other level 4's do. But those lower level prisons almost always are the ones that experience riots between hundreds of inmates, I invite anyone to experience either one of those possibilities and question our pay or, for that matter, our dedication to duty, once they see that truth.

It may get old to hear, but I guarantee you it gets older to see your partners beaten, stabbed, have feces and urine thrown on them etc.... sometimes a good paycheck and the ability to take your family and get away, is the only thing that can keep you sane in a job that your surrounded by insanity daily.

But pay is not the only issue that we fight for within our contract (or lack there of). In fact, it is probably at the bottom of everyone's list. We fight for our right to grieve decisions made by administrators that have no correctional experience, that are placed in charge of our department solely because they have that degree that the public feels is so necessary to have, in order to make the money we do. We fight for the right to bargain with local administrators when they decide to cut the staffing of a yard down to dangerous numbers, even more so than they already have. We also fight for the benefits that will be passed onto our family if the day comes that we have to lay down our life for a partner while performing the duties that the state deems necessary.

Thats just the thing. We as Correctional Staff did not invent this job, we were hired to complete a mission that no one wants to do, that no one wants to hear about and no one wants to see. They, just want it done.

In this profession, we get paid for what could happen, not what always does, unfortunately, due to the overcrowding and mentality of some inmates, it happens all too often.

Take care
Ian Pickett

October 10, 2008
Covering CCPOA

We're probably crazy for asking this, but is today's story about California correctional officer pay unfair?

"Please, please, please try writing something positive about us," said an anonymous caller who left a voice mail message this morning.

"These people are ridiculously overpaid," said another caller who didn't leave a name or number. "The Bee should investigate them."

Of course, the caller didn't leave any suggestion about what we should "investigate."

We won't deny that reporters have biases. All of us do. The standard that we aim for at the State Worker is fairness. Did all sides have a chance to weigh in? Where the facts presented accurately? Were the issues placed in context?

As readers, we bring bias to what we read, too. It's especially true when the subject is something we know a lot about, like our work.

Here at the State Worker, we're humbled each week to write about subjects and comment on events that personally impact our readers. Often you know far more about the subject than we do because you're living it.

If we get it wrong, let us know. If you have ideas for different angles we should consider, tell us. If you have insights that would deepen our understanding, share them.

As far as today's piece on wages, let's put it this way: If we go out to dinner with family tonight and meet a correctional officer and his or her family at the same restaurant, we'd be comfortable saying hello and talking about the story.

Few things that we write about here or in our weekly State Worker column get more response than when we talk about CCPOA. The union is often cited in The Bee and elsewhere as exemplifying how a well-heeled union can buy favors from elected officials. The stories usually have high-ups in the union and state government launching broadsides at each other.

We're more interested in hearing from the folks who work in the prisons, the front-line officers who have to live with the decisions made by legislators, the governor and their union.

Here's an example: A State Worker reader who goes by Prsnguard5150, sent along a YouTube video that he made about CCPOA's efforts to recall Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The video link came with this e-mail:

Hello, please allow me to introduce myself. I am well seasoned Correctional Officer. If you want to get a feel for what Correctional Officers generally feel about Arnold, feel free to look at some of my more political videos. The YouTube page and the videos are done on my own time and in support of CCPOA. CCPOA has not endorsed my page or the views on it. Arnold is not only under fire from CCPOA the organization, but the members too. Members such as me.

The soundtrack to the 1 minute 43 second video is a portion of "The Enemy," by Godsmack.

ccpoa.gifNew data released by the Department of Personnel Administration shows that California's state correctional officers make 38 percent more than their highest-paid counterparts in a survey of 10 states and the federal government.

DPA's numbers are more focused than those in the latest national correctional officers pay report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. California correctional officers make about twice the national average when all 50 states are factored in, according to the BLS.

The DPA's out-of-state comparison considered federal corrections wages and those in neighboring Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Nevada plus heavily populated states Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Throw in "total compensation" -- medical, dental and vision benefits, employer retirement contributions and the like -- and California correctional officers beat the median survey population by about 29 percent and the next highest -- Pennsylvania -- by about 24 percent.

The administration also looked at salaries paid to California city and county correctional officers. State officers earn about 20 percent more. With benefits the disparity falls to about 12 percent. You can read that page of the report by clicking here.

The comparisons are based on a California correctional officer's maximum base annual salary of $73,728, a national maximum median of $45,036 per year and a California city and county maximum median of $58,680.

The BLS survey shows the median state correctional officer salary at $36,140 per year and $34,820 for local governments.

Question: What, if anything, will these numbers mean to the ongoing contract battle between the Schwarzenegger administration and CCPOA? Will other unions attempt to leverage the information to an advantage as contract talks continue?

Our man in Las Vegas, Andy Furillo, reports in this story that CCPOA's re-elected president Mike Jimenez is toning down his recall rhetoric.

As we noted in our column today, some union watchers think that CCPOA's threat to mount a recall campaign against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was more about boosting Jimenez's image than ousting the Austrian Oak.

Our take: When the governor responded to the recall threat -- "So the prison guard union is not going to intimidate me with their kind of action... This is a different governor sitting here," -- he re-energized Jimenez and CCPOA. The union may be divided (hence 28 members who filed to run against him), but nothing unites like a common enemy.

Of course, the controversial union makes a foil for Schwarzenegger, too,

So what do you think? Is a recall push still an option for the union? Or now that he's been re-elected, will Jimenez save the million bucks or so it would take to get a recall on the ballot and put it toward other efforts?

The correctional officer's union just gave Bee colleague Andy Furillo the boot from its big presidential candidate debate in Las Vegas. Union delegates vote later today, and it looks like the contest is now down to two candidates and incumbent Mike Jimenez. Read the breaking news story here.

And check out our column today about division in CCPOA by clicking here.

ccpoa.gif

While cruising the Web the at home last night (the State Worker needs a life), we ran across this sample test published online by the Department of Corrections Office of Officer Selection. The 15 questions test reading comprehension, math and writing skills.

Of course, state corrections officers also have to pass psychological and physical tests, a background check (no convicted felons allowed) and complete academy training before they start work.

If yo're a state worker, how do these questions compare with the civil service test that you took for your job? We've looked around and haven't found other sample tests online. Feel free to send us a link via e-mail or post a site address to one in the comments below.



About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz started The State Worker blog and column in 2008 as a member of The Bee's business staff, where he covered workplace and labor issues. He moved to the Capitol Bureau in January 2009 to cover state employment issues full time. Join him 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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