The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 1, 2013
State launches annual benefit for domestic-violence victims

130930-VCP-benefit.jpgCalifornia state government and local businesses today started a month-long campaign to collect clothing for domestic-violence victims and their children.

This is the third year that the California Victim Compensation Program has sponsored the annual benefit during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In the past, the "Suited for Success" drive has focused on collecting professional attire for women to wear for job interviews and to work. This year, organizers have tweaked the title to "Suited for Successful Families" and have expanded their collection efforts to include new and gently-used professional attire for women and men, children's clothing, diapers, and new toys.

Donations collected through Oct. 31 will go to nonprofits that serve domestic-violence and sexual-assault victims, including WEAVE, My Sister's House, Plumas Rural Services, A Community For Peace, and the Sacramento Children's Home.

In 2012, state employees, businesses, legislative staff, and Sacramento residents donated nearly 2,000 suits, slacks, dresses, shoes, and belts.

The Department of General Services, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer's Office, the Commission on Teaching Credentials, the Folsom Police Department, the City of Folsom, First 5 California, and the Office of Emergency Services also are participating.

Sacramento businesses Chicory Coffee at 1131 11th St. and Vallejo's Restaurant at 1100 O St. have set up collection bins to take donations from the public.

PHOTO: From left: Christina Robleto, Officer Cyndi Mitchell, Sgt. Andy Mayo (all from the California Highway Patrol) and Victim Compensation Program Outreach & Communications Coordinator Anne Gordon load women's clothing to take to WEAVE's thrift store in this October 2011 picture. Courtesy California Victim Compensation Program

May 20, 2013
State denim drive collects 1,900 items for women's causes

130519-denim-drive.JPGThe final tally is in: Government employees at 20 state and local departments and four Sacramento-area businesses collected 1,916 pieces of clothing during last month's Denim Drive.

Many of the donated items go directly to victims of violent crime and abuse, while others will be sold in thrift stores that fund assistance services, including WEAVE, Yolo Co Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center., and La Casa de las Madres in San Francisco.

The annual drive is inspired by Denim Day, an observance that started 12 years ago to protest an Italian court's decision overturning a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans.

Here's the roster of this year's Denim Drive government- and private-sector sponsors:

August 22, 2012
Annual California state workers' campaign supports nonprofits

The California State Employees Charitable Campaign Kick Off startes this morning at 11 and will run through 1 p.m on the west side of the State Capitol.

The event includes more than 100 local nonprofits sharing their goals and offering state employees opportunities to volunteer or donate money.

The California State Employees Charitable Campaign launched in 1957 as a fundraising drive focal point for state workers. The organization has reached out to more than 297,000 state employees and, according to a press release issued for today's event, "thousands of nonprofits are now receiving a total of $6.9 million" as a result of its efforts.

The capital-region chapter covers Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties and more than 80,000 State employees. State workers locally have raised and donoted more than $3.7 million for nonprofits.

March 13, 2012
BloodSource recognizes Cal EPA for blood donations

120309 BloodSource Cal EPA photo.JPGThe California Environmental Protection Agency has received the Gift of Hope Award from BloodSource for employee blood donations last year totaling 600 pints.

The regional blood collection organization has recognized Cal EPA employees many times over the years for their generous donations: Most Units Drawn (2001); Blood Drive of the Year (2001); Holiday Blood Drive 100+ (2002); Most Registered Units (2003); and the Symbol of Excellence presented to Cal/EPA for having the most registered donors in State Government (2004, 2006, 2009, 2010).

Click this link to read more about Cal EPA's blood drive efforts and its latest award.

PHOTO: Cal EPA employee and frequent donor Donald Johnson gives blood at the Agency's most recent blood drive held on March 7, 2012. / Photo courtesy of Dominique Word.

December 6, 2011
Patton psychiatric technicians sponsoring toy drive

Patton State Hospital psychiatric technicians and their coworkers will hold their seventh annual "Techs for Tots" motorcycle parade and toy drive on Saturday. The event raises money and collects toys for needy children in the Highland area.

Here's the event flyer with all the details. Nice work, Patton staffers!
Techs 4 Tots

November 3, 2011
State workers give generously to outfit women for work re-entry

Picture 028.jpgWorkers at the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and the California Highway Patrol finished up a record-breaking clothing drive on Monday to benefit Women Escaping A Violent Environment's "Suited for Success" program.

In October, which is also Domestic Violence Awareness month, state workers at the two departments collected more than 500 gently-used professional clothing items and accessories to stock WEAVE's Arden Way thrift store. The "Suited for Success" program gives women a $100 store voucher to shop there for professional attire after they finish a program intended to help them return to work.

Among the donations by staff at the board and Highway Patrol: over 420 suit items
and more than 100 accessories including belts, handbags, jewelry, and shoes, "a record breaking drive for us," said board spokeswoman Anne Gordon.

"Overall, we collected far more items than anticipated and the quality of donations was exceptional," said Victims Compensation Board Executive Officer Julie Nauman in an email to staff.

PHOTO: From left: Christina Robleto, Officer Cyndi Mitchell, Sgt. Andy Mayo (all from the California Highway Patrol) and CalVCP Outreach & Communications Coordinator Anne Gordon load professional women's clothing just before dropping off all donations at WEAVE's Arden Thrift Store located off Arden Way. / Courtesy California Victim Compensation Program.

August 24, 2011
State workers' event at Capitol aims to raise money for charity

The California State Employees Charitable Campaign Kick Off starts this morning at 11 and will run through 1 p.m on the west side of the State Capitol.

The event includes more than 100 local nonprofits sharing their goals and offering state employees opportunities to volunteer or donate money. Look for entertainment by the Nitty Gritty CalPERS Band.

The California State Employees Charitable Campaign launched in 1957 as a fundraising drive focal point for state workers. The statewide effort now includes 31 regional campaigns throughout California. Last year 44,872 donors supported thousands of nonprofits with pledges totaling $7.25 million, the campaign says.

April 13, 2011
State workers launch drive to assist crime victims

The state Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board launches its second annual "Denim Drive" today to collect women's and men's denim clothing items to benefit Women Escaping a Violent Environment. The event runs through April 27.

This year employees at Corrections, CalEMA and Health and Human Services are joining the Victim Compensation Board to collecting donations at their worksites.

Employees in those departments are collecting gently used clothing items and will donate them for sale in WEAVE's thrift stores. The profits from the sales assist victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

The drive is inspired by Denim Day, an observance that started 12 years ago to protest an Italian court's decision overturning a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans.

February 7, 2011
State workers collect tons and tons of food

Thumbnail image for 110128 Food Drive.JPG

Question: What do all of these have in common?

>> The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome roof.
>> Sixty-two small school buses.
>> Three adult blue whales.
>> All the food and cash donated by state workers to the California Emergency Foodlink.

Answer: They're all roughly equal to 620,000 pounds.

From Nov. 1 to Jan. 3, state workers rounded up 290,000 pounds of food and $124,000 in cash donations to purchase groceries. Taken together, the charitable gifts equal 310 tons of goods, enough to fill 15 semi trucks, according to this Foodlink release. The donations will go to 130 charitable organizations in the greater Sacramento area. To see a breakdown of donations by department, click here.

Nice job, state workers!

January 28, 2011
CalPERS, Board of Equalization give generously to food drive

110128 Food Drive.JPG
Despite tough times, folks at the Board of Equalization and CalPERS donated about 65 tons of food to the 2010 California State Employees Food Drive.

BOE said Thursday that it collected more than 81,000 pounds of food. Earlier this week, CalPERS said it collected nearly 50,000 pounds of food.

The collection period ran from Nov. 1 through Jan. 3. The donations go to California Emergency Foodlink, which is passing the goods on to Sacramento-area food closets.

Foodlink spokeswoman Mary Meagher said that the organization will finish picking up donations today, so verified numbers for all state employee donations should be available next week. We'll post the info here.


December 14, 2010
Food donation drive-through set for Wednesday at ziggurat

101214 Ziggurat building.JPGState workers will be collecting food in front of Department of General Services headquarters at the distinctive ziggurat building in West Sacramento on Wednesday morning.

DGS does this every year as part of its push to collect holiday donations for Foodlink. State workers throughout the Sacramento region are collecting food for the program, which picks up the goods and then distributes them to more than 80 relief programs.

Donations can be dropped off at 707 Third St., West Sacramento (click here for a map), where DGS employees will accept food from 7:30 a.m. until 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. There will even be a makeshift drive-through so that donors don't have to leave their cars if it's raining.

Click here for more info about the Foodlink Food Drive sponsored by California state employees. This link opens the DGS press advisory about its donation drive-through event.

PHOTO: The ziggurat building in West Sacramento, site of Wednesday's Foodlink food drive sponsored by the Department of General Services. 1998 Sacramento Bee file / José Luis Villegas.

December 10, 2010
Corrections launches charitable events for the holidays

Thumbnail image for wrapped gift.jpgThe California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is partnering with a wide variety of employee, community and law enforcement groups to raise money, collect toys and distribute food in three dozen charitable events around California that begin on Saturday and run through Christmas Day.

A few examples:

Saturday: Toys collected by Mule Creek State Prison employees in Ione will be placed on a float that will be driven in the Ione Christmas Parade. The toys will then be given to the Amador County Sheriff's Department for distribution to local families who can't afford gifts for their children.

Wednesday: Ironwood State Prison plans a "Gift for Kids" event, allowing needy families in the community to shop for their children. The gifts are donated
by both Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and Ironwood State Prison staff.

Dec. 20-21, 2010: Staff from the California Institution for Men will deliver toys to children at Canyon Ridge Hospital, Mt. San Antonio Hospital, and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

Click here for CDCR's full list of events. Here's hoping each effort spreads seasonal cheer to those who receive and those who give.


October 29, 2010
Union sets up fund to assist family of killed state employee

The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians has established an account to assist the family of the Donna Gross, a Napa State Hospital employee who was killed at work on Saturday. A patient at the facility has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Click here for more details about the fund and how to donate.

August 31, 2010
State employees' charity sets Thursday for Capitol kick-off event

Thumbnail image for 100830 checkbook2.gifThe California State Employees Charitable Campaign has scheduled its annual Kick-Off Event for this Thursday on the Capitol's West Steps from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will feature than 100 nonprofits that will share their missions, goals and volunteer opportunities. Organizers also plan entertainment by the Shnoogie Brothers, a rock and blues band made up of state workers.

CSECC started in 1957 as a sort of one-stop shop for state workers to support charities. Last year state workers pledged more than than $8.7 million via 31 regional campaigns conducted by the organization. Click here for more information about the SCECC and charities that it assists.


August 18, 2010
Inaugural Capitol suit drive collects hundreds of items

100818 suit drive.JPGSacramento-area residents donated about 700 items to the first-ever State Capitol Suit Drive, which was held Tuesday at the Senator Hotel. The business suits, shoes, shirts, skirts and blouses will go to several local nonprofits: Crossroads Diversified/Works One Stop Career Center, Women's Empowerment, Overcomer's Program, and the Greater Sacramento Urban League.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and the Men's Warehouse retail chain backed the drive, part of a national effort to provide business attire for the unemployed.

PHOTO: A woman drops off clothing for the State Capitol Suit Drive at the Senator Hotel in downtown Sacramento. / Courtesy State Capitol Suit Drive.

August 16, 2010
Capitol lawmakers and national retailer plan Tuesday 'suit drive'

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez are kicking off the Capitol's inaugural "suit drive," part of a national effort backed by the Men's Warehouse to provide business attire for the unemployed.

According to a press release issued this morning, the legislators and the Houston-based retail chain are encouraging Sacramento-area residents drop off their "gently used" professional attire -- suits, pants, dress shirts, sport coats, slacks, ties, belts, and shoes -- at on Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Senator Office Building at 1121 L Street.

Donations are tax deductible.

February 11, 2010
See how much departments gave to Food Drive

Here's a breakdown of the 770,000 pounds of food that state workers collected during the 2009-10 Food Drive.

The top five donors by department:

Office of the Governor (First Lady's Office) -- 260,153 pounds
Board of Equalization -- 131,033 pounds
Department of Education -- 52,450 pounds
CalPERS -- 41,981 pounds
Franchise Tax Board -- 20,984 pounds

Click here to see the figures for all departments.

February 9, 2010
State employees donate pounds and pounds of food

Despite furloughs that have knocked down their pay 14 percent, state workers collected 770,000 pounds of food from November through January for the annual Food Drive.

Last year state workers collected 758,000 pounds. The donations go to California Emergency Foodlink, which is passing the goods on to more than 120 Sacramento-area food closets, where demand for food assistance is up at least 35 percent in the last year.

"The California State Employees yet again proved what an extremely generous group they are," Foodlink President and CEO John Healey said in a press release that announced the donation total. "We are incredibly thankful for their continued support in the fight against hunger."

Click here to read the Foodlink press release.

February 8, 2010
CalPERS donates more than 20 tons of food

CalPERS employee John Hobbs, who co-chaired the fund's employee November-to-January food drive, sent out this Thursday e-mail about the effort:

Good Afternoon CalPERS,

Attached are the final CalPERS results for the 2009 State Employees' Food Drive. We do not have the results for the other state departments yet. When we get the overall state numbers we will let you know.

I want to thank all of the those here at CalPERS, who participated in the State Employees' Food Drive this year. Because of you, we were able to donate 41,981.54 pounds of food this year.

Hopefully the economy will be in better shape next year and we will be able to help even more of those less fortunate people in our area.

I also want to thank all of the division food drive, coordinators for their hard work this year, without them we couldn't do what we do here at CalPERS.

Here are the results for the most food and the most food per employee:

Total Weight:
Investment Office -- 13,659.94 pounds
Actuarial and Employer Services Branch -- 6,138.13 pounds
Information Technology Services Branch -- 5,711.30 pounds
Customer Services and Education Division -- 4,140.37 pounds

Pounds per Employee:
Executive Office -- 59.50 pounds
Investment Office -- 59.13 pounds
Office of Policy and Program Development -- 58.80 pounds
Actuarial and Employer Services Branch -- 37.43 pounds

Thank You

John Hobbs

2009 CalPERS Food Drive Co Chair
Innovation and Implementation Services Division
Portfolio Information & Analysis Office

Food collected by CalPERS and other state agencies and departments is going to Foodlink for distribution to over 120 food closets and agencies throughout the Sacramento area.

January 12, 2010
DGS collects 5 tons of food

We hear that the Department of General Services has taken in about 10,000 pounds of food during the state employees' food collection drive. We reported last month that General Services' drive-up donation event at its West Sacramento HQ took in about 1,000 pounds. Click here for photos from that special event.

State workers have been collecting food for California Emergency Foodlink since November. Collections officially end Friday and pick ups run from Jan. 19 through Jan. 28, Foodlink spokeswoman Mary Meagher said. The donations will go to about 120 food closets and agencies throughout the Sacramento area.

We'll have the final tally in February for all state employee donations. Meanwhile, we'd love to share how much other departments and agencies have collected. E-mail The State Worker (please include a contact phone number) and we'll get the good word out about your good works.

December 24, 2009
See the 'Cubicle Cowboy' segment on CBS13

CBS13 featured "Happy Jack" Hastings on its 10 p.m. broadcast Wednesday night, including several snippets of his song, "State Worker Blues." Click here to view the story. (The station had a brief feature at 5 p.m. that teased the later broadcast.) And clicking here will open our last blog post about Jack with lyrics and audio links to his new songs.

December 22, 2009
'Cubicle Cowboy' releases 'State Worker Blues 2009'

091221 Jack Hastings.JPGHe's back. John "Happy Jack" Hastings, The Cubicle Cowboy, has a new version of his signature "State Worker Blues" tune for the 2009 holidays and a companion parody of John Prine's "Christmas in Prison" titled, "A Capitol Christmas Carol."

Here's Hastings' e-mail to The State Worker:

That's right. I'm back with a revised version of the State Worker Blues for 2009. Performed at the Health Services Food Drive Talent Show again this year. For the first time, we're offering a "professionally recorded" CD of the song (and a companion piece, "A Capitol Christmas Carol") with proceeds going to benefit the California State Employees Food Drive. The songs will not be available for download but, because of your continuing commitment to and incisive coverage of State Employee issues, I'm attaching a full-length MP3 if you want to post it on your blog or whatever. Haven't had an opportunity to do a video but if it happens, you'll be the first to know. Information on ordering the CD is available at Anyway, wishing you continued success and happy holidays, ~ Happy Jack Hastings

Long-time State Worker blog users will recall we wrote about Hastings a few times last year. (Click here for one of those posts.) Once again, we're happy to point people to And, Jack, we hope you sell out of CDs.

Click the following link to read the lyrics and listen to "State Worker Blues 2009" and "A Capitol Christmas Carol."

December 10, 2009
UPDATE: DGS collects food at HQ drive-through

11:15 a.m. : The folks at DGS took photos of their chilly morning at the food drop-off station. Click here to see the pictures on flickr. The unofficial tally, we hear from one elf who was at the event: about 1,000 lbs of food collected and hundreds in cash.

Thumbnail image for DGS logo.jpgDepartment of General Services staff just wrapped up their annual drive-through food collection at their West Sacramento HQ. This morning's event, part of the department's push to collect at least 20,000 pounds of food by Jan. 9, will contribute to the big California Emergency Foodlink food drive for distribution to more than 120 food closets and agencies throughout the Sacramento region. (Click here for more about that.)

DGS last year took in more than 31,000 pounds of food and cash donations.

Earlier this week, DGS staff donated additional gifts to children and seniors as part of Sacramento County's annual "Gifts from the Heart" campaign.

Tuesday DGS staff donated additional gifts to children and seniors as part of Sacramento County's annual "Gifts from the Heart" campaign.

And one week from today, DGS employees will join Santa for gift deliveries more than 75 children and families in West Sacramento.

December 7, 2009
Patton employees to participate in 'Techs for Tots' toy drive

Thumbnail image for 091207 toys tots.JPGThe staff at Patton State Hospital in Highland has been collecting toys for a the last few weeks in the lead up to CAPT's 'Techs for Tots' event this Saturday, which includes a parade, a motorcycle caravan to the Highland YMCA, a volunteer breakfast and, of course, a visit by Santa to help distribute gifts to needy kids.

Last year's 'Techs for Tots' provided gifts to more than 100 children, CAPT says.

Motorcyclists who want to join the caravan can pay an entry fee of $10 or donate an unwrapped toy on the day of the event. Click here for CAPT's press advisory, which has more details.

IMAGE: Santa and his helpers pose for a picture during the 2008 "Techs for Tots" / photo courtesy of California Association of Psychiatric Technicians

November 26, 2009
Column extra: Results from the state worker swap meet

Our column in today's fiber and cyber Bee highlights the Employees Helping Employees program started at the Victim Compensation & Government Claims Board.

It reminded us that state workers elsewhere have been looking out for each other, including at a Nov. 14 swap meet that we told you aboutin this blog post and several others.

We've heard from Tamara Laws, a state worker who had the idea for the swap meet. We asked what happened. Her report:

  • Over 60 people came to the swap meet.
  • About half of the clothing donated was left over, and donations continued flowing in the day of the event.
  • Organizers sold cupcakes donated by Roseville-based WOW Imaging Products and Icing on the Cupcake of Rocklin. About $100 raised from the sales went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
  • The organizers also gave $50 to New Life Preschool & Learning Center for opening its facility to the swap meet and to support the school's emergency clothes closet for children.
  • A bulging pickup truckload of leftover goods went to Women Escaping A Violent Environment.
  • More leftover swap meet items will soon be delivered to several other local charities that work with children and teens.

Laws had plenty of help from her family and from other state employees: Amanda Cogburn, Karen Lynn Smith, Steve Alston, Terri Gibson, Tina Stidman and Tracie Sawyer-Bettencourt. Look for another swap meet for state workers in the spring, Laws said.

Unfortunately, there probably will be a need for it.

November 13, 2009
State workers donating to food drive

State workers in the Sacramento area, in partnership with California Emergency Foodlink, are collecting donations for the annual Food Drive. The effort will continue through January with food collection barrels located in state offices throughout Sacramento.

Foodlink says in this press release that last year California state employees in the Sacramento area donated over 750,000 pounds of food. You might think that furloughs would affect state employee participation this year, but it's been the opposite: More than 200 state departments and agencies are participating, a record.

The food collected during the Food Drive will be distributed by Foodlink to over 120 food closets and agencies throughout the Sacramento area. The organization says it has seen the demand for food assistance in the area rise at least 35 percent in the last year.

Check in with us in mid-December and in January for updates on how much state workers have donated.

November 12, 2009
State worker swap meet set for Saturday

Thumbnail image for 091112 Swap meet flyer.JPGA clothing swap meet and charity fundraiser organized by several state workers is set for Saturday at New Life Preschool & Learning Center, 10190 Systems Parkway in Sacramento. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click the image at right to see a larger image of the flier sent out by one of the organizers, Tamara Laws.

A logistical snag forced a Laws and other state workers behind the event to reschedule the swap meet last month. But the delay turned out to be a plus. The preschool stepped up, Laws said, to provide a better facility and free day care. And the extra time gave organizers a chance to collect more donations and find more charities to help.

Leftover goods and proceeds from refreshments on sale at the swap meet will go to:

October 28, 2009
State worker clothing swap meet rescheduled for Nov. 14

A clothing swap meet organized by state workers for state workers has been reset for Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New Life Preschool, 10190 Systems Parkway in Sacramento. (Click here for a map of the location.)

As we reported last week, a group of state workers had planned the swap meet for last Saturday, but they ran into a snag over its location that forced them to postpone the event. The preschool, which is waiving fees for state workers who enroll their kids, stepped up to help. You can click here to read more about New Life Preschool.

Organizers are continuing to accept clothing donations at these drop off spots until Nov. 12:

- 1515 S St., Room 104 North
- 10000 Goethe Road, Suite C1C
- 1900 Alabama Ave. (ask for Cecily Brown in the master data unit)

Leftover goods will go to charity as noted in this State Worker blog post.

October 22, 2009
State worker swap meet postponed, new site sought

Organizers have postponed a clothing swap meet for state workers that had been planned for this Saturday. The State Worker has promoted the event twice, including this post.

Karen Lynn Smith, one of the state worker organizers at Corrections, said that there was a problem with the site selected for the event, 10000 Goethe Road in Sacramento. The swap meet wasn't sanctioned by CDCR.

"I can't really say more," Smith said of the reason for the postponement. "We feel awful about this."

Organizers plan to find another location and hold the event next month. "We're trying to be positive," Smith said. "This just gives us the chance to gather more stuff."

This blog will post details of the new time and place for the swap meet as soon as the details are worked out.

October 21, 2009
State worker swap meet, charitable event slated for Saturday

We've blogged this before, but thought it worth mentioning again: Employees at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Office of Business Services will host a clothing swap meet for state workers on Saturday at 10000 Goethe Rd. in Sacramento from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can view the flier here for more information. Click this link for a previous State Worker blog post with more details.

October 16, 2009
Retiring CalPERS' 'potato guy' collected tons of spuds

They're getting ready to say goodbye to the "potato guy" at CalPERS.

Research program specialist Tom Peterson is retiring at the end of this month. In the four years that he has run the fund's annual food drive, the event has taken in 361,000 pounds of potatoes.

Hence the nickname.potato.jpg

That's more than 180 tons o' spuds. Put another way, that's the same weight as Cleopatra's Needle, a 68-foot-tall granite obelisk in Whitehall, London. It's also about 30 tons more than a blue whale weighs, according to this fact sheet by the American Cetacean Society.

The CalPERS food drive under Peterson's leadership has also collected $52,172 in cash and 458,137 pounds of food, an average of 114,534 pounds per year.

Good work, Tom. You'll be missed.


October 14, 2009
Clothing swap meet to help state workers and charities

Yet another sign of these trying times.

Employees at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Office of Business Services are organizing a clothing swap meet for state workers on Oct. 24 at 10000 Goethe Rd. in Sacramento from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This flier says the event is a "hands-on community effort for State workers by state workers." And a litte further down: "To assist State workers during this difficult and stressful time a Swap has been organized. Clothes & accessories available at no charge (up to 10 items for men, women, and children)."

Karen Smith, one of the employees behind the swap meet, told The State Worker that the group needs more donations. You'll find contact information on the flier.

The first 10 items are free for state workers in need. Leftover goods and proceeds from refreshments on sale at the event will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and leftover clothing will go to Women Escaping a Violent Environment and the Stanford Children's Receiving Home.

October 9, 2009
FTB employees race ducks, raise bucks for charity

091008 ducks.JPG
Caption: Boats were used to corral and keep the more than 13,000 rubber ducks in the middle of the river. The ducks were dumped into the Sacramento River near Old Sacramento on the I Street Bridge. The 5th Annual Great Duck Race was in Old Sacramento. For $5, people could sponsor a rubber duck that will float down river between the I Street and Tower bridges, all to benefit Special Olympics Northern California. Oct. 3, 2009.

Here's an e-mail sent our way by Brenda Voet in the Franchise Tax Board's Public Affairs office:

Hi Jon,

On Saturday, October 3, FTB employees participated in the 5th Annual Great Sacramento Duck Race, an exciting race on the Sacramento River by yellow-rubber ducks from bridge-to-bridge in Old Sacramento. The proceeds from the sale of over 12,000 ducks, at last count, raised over $65,000 to support local Special Olympics programs in Northern California.

Here is the message of thanks from our Disability Advisory Committee to the generous FTB employees who participated in this event:

Great Sacramento Duck Race - Thank You!

October 7, 2009

By the Disability Advisory Committee

FTB's Disability Advisory Committee shares a sincere thank you with everyone who sponsored a duck! Our efforts will help fund the year-round sports training and competition for 3,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Sacramento region.

The 2009 Duck Race event raised over $54,000 for Special Olympics of Northern California. FTB shattered our goal of $1,000 by contributing over $3,000, making us the fourth highest donating "flock" behind only the Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff, and the Special Olympics of Northern California. We even had a few winners!

Thanks again, and don't forget to mark your calendar for the 6th Annual Great Sacramento Duck Race: Saturday, October 2, 2010!

Best regards,

Brenda Voet | Public Affairs Office | Franchise Tax Board

We're always happy to publicize the good things state workers do for charity. As the holidays approach, we hope state workers, departments and agencies will send along news about their fundraising efforts, toy drives, food bank collections and other acts of kindness.

PHOTO AND CAPTION: Bryan Patrick, Sacramento Bee

June 26, 2009
Lottery Commission approves $53.7 million plan for new headquarters
If you've been toiling away in the aging and decrepit California Lottery Commission headquarters for years, The State Worker has some good news for you.

The California Lottery Commission today approved plans to award a contract not to exceed $53.7 million to Otto Construction.  It will build a new six-story 155,500 square foot home for the commission on Richards Boulevard in Sacramento.

 Commissioners also set aside an extra $9.1 million for unexpected contingencies and another $1 million for potential cost escalation during the life of the project.

 Ca lottery.gifTo see a lottery commission report about the headquarters project,  click here.

 Building the new headquarters may create as many as 900 construction jobs, offering some badly needed good news for the capital's battered economy.

 Yet some may wonder how the commission secured a new headquarters when most other state agencies and departments are laying off workers and slashing budgets?

 Lottery commission spokesman Bill Ainsworth has the answer. 

 The commission was created by a voter-approved state law in 1984. It operates like a business - and its money is kept separate from the state's general fund revenue.

 The law requires that at least 34% percent of the lottery's revenue go to public education.

Because it is costing more and more to maintain the old building, lottery officials decided they'd save money - and have more to return to education over the long term - by building a new headquarters that is far more energy efficient, Ainsworth added.

Officials explored renovating the old building, but its foundation is literally sinking.

"After careful analysis, we decided we just couldn't do nothing," Ainsworth said. "If you're running a business like we do, you look at investing over the long-term. Over the long term, we'll have more money to return to public education by lowering costs."

 "It's also a good time to be building. You can negotiate better deals with builders because there's not a lot of work going on out there right now," Ainsworth added.

If the commission and Otto Construction cannot reach a deal on a final contract, the commission also approved a back-up list of three other builders.
April 21, 2009
Donate $100K, eat with the governor; union spends $500K to defeat 1A

Our Capitol Bureau colleague, Shane Goldmacher, has a couple of reports you should check out if you haven't already:

From Shane's A1 exclusive in today's Bee:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is selling access to a pair of social soirees at his Brentwood mansion to deep-pocketed political donors willing to hand over at least $100,000 for his political fund.

Donors who cut six-figure checks will be able to sip cocktails with the celebrity governor and first lady Maria Shriver at their Southern California home this Thursday and dine again there early next month, according to the four-page fundraising invitation obtained by The Bee.

You can read that story here.

Then over on his blog, Capitol Alert, Shane has the details on SEIU's $500,000 deposit into the campaign to defeat Prop 1A.

Some Capitol insiders are telling us that the union's opposition to 1A is the reason that Republicans will hold up AB 964, the bill that cements SEIU Local 1000's new labor contract. The thinking from these people (who all work for Democrats, by the way), is that the Republicans see the union state council's 1A opposition as a double-cross of what all had agreed to during the bitter budget battle earlier this year.

(SEIU Local 1000, which represents 95,000 state workers, has been silent on 1A. Its members' interests are probably best served if the measure passes, since the bill raises taxes to relieve the state's cash-strapped coffers. But the local hasn't said anything, most likely to avoid crossing the union state council.)

As we reported Monday, it now looks like AB 964 will stall in the Assembly without the three Republican votes it needs to get the required two-thirds to pass.

IMAGE: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver / December 2008, Sacramento Bee, Brian Baer

April 20, 2009
Social Services department sponsors 'Kids Day' at the Capitol

cdss-logo.gifThe Department of Social Services is hosting its 5th annual "Kids Day" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The event on the Capitol's west side includes free dental screenings for children, resource booths and "gifts and prizes," according to this media advisory.


April 7, 2009
Parks department launches fundraiser to restore state forests

090406 state parks seal.jpgWith budget dollars so tight these days, California State Parks is reaching out for private donations to reforest public areas ravaged by fires in the last six years. "Join the Million Tree Challenge" aims to plant trees on about 1,800 acres of devastated land in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park near San Diego and Chino Hills State Park in San Bernardino County.

The campaign is accepting online donations at The Web site also has tons of information about trees and the environment, how to volunteer for tree plantings and clean up events and an explanation of where donated money goes.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southern California and Stater Bros. Supermarkets, a SoCal grocery chain, also are sponsoring the effort.

Click here to read the State Parks' press release and click on this link for a Q&A sheet with details about the reforesting effort.

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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