The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 30, 2013
Operating engineers' new deal costs state up to $54.9 million

130620-capitol-mall.JPGThe tentative agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and the union representing roughly 11,000 heavy equipment operators will add up to $54.9 million to the state's payroll costs, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

The two-year deal, like most Brown has negotiated with other unions over the last two months, relies on a fiscal trigger to determine whether the money will be split over two years or deferred to the last year.

One scenario for state workers in Bargaining Unit 12, who are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, provides a $1,200 bonus on July 1, 2014 (which equals 2.5 percent of the average wage for employees covered by the contract) and a 3 percent raise on July 1, 2015.

That, along with higher employer contributions to health insurance premiums and a few other minor non-wage increases, would cost the state $54.9 million, according to the LAO.

But if Brown says revenues in fiscal 2014-15 aren't sufficient to cover the bonus, union members will have to wait one year to get a 3.25 percent raise with no bonus. That plan would reduce the contract's three-year cost to $42.3 million.

That hits the high points of the IUOE deal, but if you want to get more deeply into the numbers and terms, here's the analyst's report:

July 18, 2013
Column Extra: The first try at CHP pay parity

Our column in today's Bee takes on the question: How did CHP officers' pay become set by law?

The answer is a story than spans four decades, Republican and Democratic governors and battles wages in the statehouse, the courthouse and the ballot box.

Ironically, Caifornia voters rejected a measure to guarantee CHP officers receive pay comparable to the maximum paid their counterparts statewide. Gov. (and former actors' union president) Ronald Reagan signed the first CHP pay parity law.

The documents below include the 1972 ballot measure's title and summary in a letter from then-Attorney General Evelle Younger to -- that's right -- former Secretary of State Jerry Brown.

Proposition 16 Title and Summary

July 15, 2013
California Lottery director Robert O'Neill resigns

130715-Robert-T-O'Neill-KP.JPGAfter less than two years on the job, the head of the California Lottery has resigned his post.

Robert O'Neill announced his sudden departure on Friday in an email to staff obtained by The Bee, saying he will "pursue other personal and professional interests." His resignation took effect today.

Leadership of the $4.3 billion lottery has turned over three times during Gov. Jerry Brown's third term in office. Brown dismissed Lottery Director Joan Borucki in 2010 and named Linh Nguyen her interim replacement. A year later, Brown appointed O'Neill, a former executive with the global audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP.

Brown's office hasn't yet returned a call seeking comment on O'Neill's departure or who will replace him. The natural choice -- at least in the interim -- would be the lottery's No. 2, Chief Deputy Director Paula LaBrie.

Here's O'Neill's email to staff:

June 5, 2013
SEIU 1000 president: Contract 'fight is on' with Jerry Brown

20120620_HA_WALKER0083.JPGThe head of the state's largest public employee union has told its members that contract talks with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration have snagged over money.

"The fight is on," SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a statement issued just a few hours today before a Capitol rally expected to draw several thousand state employees in Sacramento.

Brown's labor relations arm, the Department of Personnel Administration, has been telling SEIU and nine other unions in bargaing talks that new labor contracts must be "cost-neutral," despite the state's improving budget picture. The pacts all expire on July 1, 2 or 3.

"Our members do not lead 'cost-neutral' lives, and we will not end this contract without money," Walker said.

The union said that the administration rejected a proposed pay increase across the board for Local 1000 members and nine other money proposals that its negotiators have brought to the table.

CalHR spokeswoman Pat McConahay declined to respond to the union's characterization of bargaining talks.

"We do not comment on ongoing negotiations," McConahay said.

PHOTO CREDIT: SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee 2012 file

February 1, 2013
Jerry Brown names appointees to state public employee board

130124 Jerry Brown Amezcua.JPGGov. Jerry Brown today announced two appointments to the California Public Employment Relations Board.

Both jobs pay $128,109 per year and require Senate confirmation. The five-member board administers the collective bargaining laws that cover state, local and regional public employees in California.

Appointee Eric Banks, 41, of San Diego, filled several roles for Service Employees International Union Local 221 for the last 13 years, including president and director of government and community relations, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Berkeley resident Priscilla Winslow, 60, was a legal adviser for the board until last year. A UC Davis law school graduate, Winslow launched her legal career in 1977 as chief counsel for the Clerical and Allied Services Employees Union, according to Brown's announcement. She was assistant chief counsel for the California Teachers Association from 1996 to 2012.

Banks and Winslow are both registered Democrats.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his State of the State speech to California Legislators in the Assembly Chambers at the State Capitol in Sacramento Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Sacramento Bee / Hector Amezcua

January 17, 2013
Column Extra: Jerry Brown versus unions over holiday pay

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much 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 updates the lengthy court battle over disciplinary threats made against state workers who might stay home on Lincoln's Birthday and Columbus Day, even though the state dropped those occasions from its paid holiday list in 2009.

As our column explains, the tussle between Gov. Jerry Brown and three unions isn't in appellate court because of a dispute between labor and management over whether the holidays were legally removed. It's a question of whether this provision of the Dills Act was violated.

The unions won the first round in Sacramento Superior Court. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger , the state's employer-in-chief at the time, appealed. Brown has kept the appeal going.

Click here to see the 3rd District Court of Appeal calendar of the case.

Here's the original verdict by Sacramento Judge Timothy Frawley that the administration is challenging:

January 15, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Lawmakers reach public pension deal

Thumbnail image for countdown 1.JPGThis is the last in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

Events that seem momentous at the time often are partially or completely undone by subsequent events or simply time's passage. How many high school buddies fade into memory's mist? How many marriages end in divorce?

It's especially true in politics: A century of legal race discrimination followed the passage of the 13th Amendment. More recently in California, voters passed Proposition 8, which is then challenged in the courts and could be undone there or by another ballot initiative.

While not nearly as socially significant as slavery or same-sex marriage, public pension changes in California have a similar here-today-gone-tomorrow history. Over the last 25 years, the benefit has become a political football, with state and local officials of all stripes playing one side or the other, approving benefits, pulling them back, rewriting laws or undoing them as the politics of the moment dictate.

On Aug. 28, about an hour before Gov. Jerry Brown formally announced it, The Bee broke the news that he had reached an agreement with lawmakers on pension reform. The announcement ended -- for now, anyway -- a four-year public debate over public employee retirement benefits waged by Republicans, pension reformers, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office and the Little Hoover Commission.

Now, just a few weeks into the latest pension-change law, there's controversy brewing over how it should be applied after CalPERS sent a list to employer members in December that views nearly 100 varieties of pay beyond base wages to be pensionable.

How will history view the deal first reported by The Bee in this post? A passing political fad or a permanent pension fixture?

Here's the most viewed State Worker item of 2012: Jerry Brown, Democrats reach deal on public pension overhaul.

January 11, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for cuts

countdown 2.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

With California's economy slow to rebound, the Brown administration held a series of secret meetings in the warming days of May to tell state employee union leaders that cuts in his 2012-13 budget revision would include about $800 million from compensation costs.

Brown was confronting converging issues: The state budget deficit had grown since his January budget draft, which didn't include the payroll cuts. He wanted to voters to approve a tax hike measure and the effort would be made tougher if state employees were spared from the same fiscal ax he was applying to social services and schools.

Some state workers thought Brown's whispers to the unions were treasonous. Isn't he a Democrat? Hasn't he said that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furloughs were a bad idea? And now he's leaning on furloughs???

But eventually, 19 of 21 bargaining units negotiated a monthly furlough day with the administration. Lawmakers imposed the unpaid time off on two bargaining units that held out.

Furloughs are scheduled to end June 30 of this year and, since voters approved Brown's tax measure, the 2013-14 budget is in better shape. (Brown says there's no deficit. Others disagree.) The governor's new budget plan avoids extending any state employee compensation cuts into the next fiscal year.

Here's the post that some state workers thought they'd never see: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

January 9, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown's pension reform legislation

Thumbnail image for countdown 3.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

It's not often that a governor issues draft legislation and invites lawmakers and special interests to kick it around, but that's exactly what Gov. Jerry Brown did nearly a year ago by releasing state and local public pension reform language.

Pension reform crusaders said the plan was weak. Minority Republicans, who had little political leverage, eventually co-opted Brown's pension legislation as their own and then dared the Democratic governor and majority-party lawmakers to reject it. The political judo move didn't trip up the Democrats, who simply ignored the Republican's/Brown's bill.

The public pension measure that Brown signed in September included many of his original proposals, from putting an end to service credit purchases and "pension holidays" for employers and employees to pushing back the normal retirement age and requiring workers and their employers to split normal pension costs 50-50.

Brown's hybrid pension idea didn't gain traction, nor did any of the changes to the CalPERS board's composition that would have required changing the state constitution.

How will history regard Brown's push for pension reform? It probably depends on whether the new law sticks for at least a generation. That's how long it will take for state and local governments to fully realize its impact on their finances and their recruiting and retention.

For now it's safe to say this: Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for all of his public-pension rhetoric, didn't accomplish the changes that Brown signed into law last year.

Here's the State Worker's No. 3 post of 2012: Jerry Brown delivers pension reform language to legislators

January 9, 2013
Read the legal arguments for ending prison oversight by feds

Gov. Jerry Brown wants the federal court to end its control of California's prisons, arguing Tuesday that the state has solved problems with inmate health care and prison overcrowding that prompted the intervention.

Bee reporters Sam Stanton, David Siders and Denny Walsh teamed up on this story about Brown's position and the coming legal battle it will assuredly provoke. Dan Walters' column today weighs in with historical perspective on Brown's prison politics.

Here's the state's request to the federal courts, which lays out the administration's rationale for the state resuming full control of the penal system. The main points are distilled in the table of contents.

Motion to Vacate by jon_ortiz

January 4, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown proposes 4-day work week

countdown 5.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

As Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, Jerry Brown said that state worker furloughs were a bad idea. But as a governor confronted with a $16 billion budget deficit in 2012, he offered up a modified version of the policy last summer -- a four-day, 38-hour work week that would cut state employees' pay by the same amount as one furlough day per month.

(The administration protested when media accounts used "furlough" to describe the short work-week plan.)

Critics noted that Utah saw workplace productivity drop off when state employees there went to a 4/10 weekly schedule. Others wondered how departments closed on Fridays or Mondays would do business with private businesses and other government entities that ran on a five-day work schedule. And what about months with five Mondays or Fridays?

Brown eventually worked out an unpaid personal leave day program -- don't call it a furlough program! -- with most state employee unions and imposed it on the holdouts.

Here's the breaking news post from May 14, ranking No. 5 on the State Worker's most-viewed items of 2012:
Jerry Brown's budget proposes longer days, shorter weeks for state workers.

January 3, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: SEIU Local 1000 agrees to furloughs

countdown 6.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

The 6th most-viewed State Worker blog post reported that SEIU Local 1000 and Gov. Jerry Brown had reached an agreement that cut one day's hours and pay per month for the final year of the union's contract.

In exchange, Local 1000 and Brown agreed to terminate student assistants and retired annuitants. Neither group is represented. The governor and the local also agreed to set up a task force on wasteful state outsourcing.

November 21, 2012
Blog back: Jerry Brown's furlough battle with unions

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGBlog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

Our report on the latest development in the furlough fight between Gov. Jerry Brown and unions representing state engineers and scientists became an opportunity for blog users to toss in their thoughts about the governor's relationship with labor, the value of unions and whether furloughs save money at all.

Nov. 19, 2012 Jerry Brown administration files furlough appeal

HAHAAAHAAHAA Ha... Now litigation will spend any dollar saved over the past decade.... California will now enjoy the costs of fraud right in their own pockets... LOL... And whats new?

There's a common misperception that furlough litigation costs have offset state payroll savings from furloughs. That's clearly not the case. Not even close.

October 2, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses public pensions on Jon Stewart show

121001Schwarzenegger book signing.jpgFormer California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on The Daily Show Monday to promote his autobiography, "Total Recall." The three-part unedited interview with host Jon Stewart touched on California's fiscal woes, with Stewart framing the subject as a political problem created by an initiative process that has allowed voters to refuse to raise taxes and simultaneously demand more government services.

Schwarzenegger pivoted from that point to public pensions, a topic that became a focus of his administration. The California Legislature created a system that now carries "$400 billion" in unfunded pension obligations, the Republican movie star said, money spent "looking backward" to pay benefits for work done that could be used for investing in the future on things such as education and infrastructure.

Stewart, a Democrat who generally sides with organized labor, offered little resistance to Schwarzenegger's pension claims, although the two later sparred over tax policy and the economy.

We've embedded the Daily Show segments below. Scroll to the 5-minute, 50-second mark of the first one to catch the pension discussion. The second clip includes Schwarzenegger explaining why he didn't feel beholden to the Republican Party. He crosses swords with Stewart over tax policy in the third segment, which opens with Stewart asking, "I'm wondering why you aren't a Democrat."

September 12, 2012
UPDATED: Jerry Brown signs California public pension reform bill

Gov. Jerry Brown this morning signed Assembly Bill 340, the pension reform measure that the lawmakers passed on the last day of the legislative session.

Read more from The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall by clicking here.

Updated at 1:16 p.m.: From AFSCME California spokesman Willie Pelote: "Today when Governor Brown signed AB 340 he made his disdain for a secure future for public employees crystal clear. AB 340 was flawed legislation that failed to take into account the massive concessions that public employees across California have made to balance budgets at the state and local level. As if there was any doubt the Governor's comments yesterday that pension changes didn't go far enough revealed that the Governor's real intent is to take public retirement funds and hand them over to the same Wall Street gamblers who drove our economy into a ditch."

Updated at 12;12 p.m.: SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker has released a statement about the pension legislation that reads, in part, "SEIU Local 1000 has always supported smart pension reform that ensures that as many workers as possible can afford a modest level of retirement security as they grow older. We believe that, in the long-run, the solution to the retirement crisis is to expand retirement security for all workers - public and private - not whittle away at the pensions of teachers, nurses, analysts, auditors and water quality personnel."

July 13, 2012
A look back at Jerry Brown's furlough history
July 13, 2012
Column Extra Part 2: How Gov. Jerry Brown would counter a furlough lawsuit

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much 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 each Thursday.

On Thursday, we looked at one way Professional Engineers in California Government might sue the state for imposing furloughs on its members and violating state and federal contract laws. The union hasn't committed to suing and has said it still hopes to work out an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown for wage reductions.

But how would the state, specifically the Brown administration, defend the imposed furloughs?

July 11, 2012
Jerry Brown administration issues furlough orders for holdout California state worker unions

blanning.jpegIt's official. Gov. Jerry Brown has accomplished what his predecessor couldn't: All state workers under the governor's authority are now furloughed.

Despite Brown's long-time criticism of furloughs as a bad business practice for the state, his Department of Human Resources (the former Department of Personnel Administration) last week issued a memo to government personnel officers detailing how to execute a 4.62-percent cut in the hours and pay for employees whose unions didn't negotiate a salary reduction with Brown.

The memo applies to about 11,000 state engineers in Bargaining Unit 9, most of whom work for Caltrans, and another 900 or so heavy machinery operators in Bargaining Unit 13.

Although the state's furlough memo applies retroactively to July 1, the Brown administration is still open to a negotiated reduction, said CalHR spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley.

"We've certainly left the door open," Jolley said.

Bruce Blanning, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government, said that the union is continuing to talk with the Brown administration. In the meantime, it has told members to comply with the furlough policy, even though PECG may later fight it in court.

"We've told them to take days off if they're told to," Blanning said. "Obey now, grieve later. Anything else would be insubordination."

Still, Blanning said, "We'd prefer to work it out."

July 10, 2012
Jerry Brown says California public pension reform won't be on November ballot

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGGov. Jerry Brown has backed away from his earlier call for legislators to put a pension-change measure on the November ballot, although the administration is continuing to push for statutory changes.

In an email to The State Worker, Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford said, "There won't be pension changes on the November ballot. But we'll get the reforms done, you can count on that."

July 5, 2012
From the notebook: More about the union furlough agreements

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Here are some interview quotes that didn't get into Tuesday's Sacramento Bee story on the SEIU Local 1000 ratification vote on the side-letter furlough deal with Gov. Jerry Brown:

July 3, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 members vote to accept furloughs

SEIU Local 1000 has announced that 65.76 percent of its members have approved a furlough agreement reached with Gov. Jerry Brown last month that assigns them them 12 unpaid days off over the fiscal year that started on Sunday.

The union announced the results on its website this morning, a day later than it had promised last week when it announced that members would have one day to vote at one of more than 80 polling places around the state. It did not release the raw tally of the votes in its announcement this morning.

"Because Local 1000 chose to negotiate with the governor rather than let our members be subject to imposed furloughs, we were able to achieve important solutions that went beyond a pay reduction in exchange for time off," Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a statement posted this morning on the union's website.

The agreement requires the state to purge its payroll of all student assistants and "non mission-critical" retired annuitants by Sept. 1. The state won't hire either again while Local 1000-covered workers are on furlough.

The deal also sets up a task force that will regularly review outsourced service contracts.

The vote affirms a cost-cutting move that the Brown administration estimates will save the state some $839 million, about $401 million of that payroll relief to the general fund. SEIU's agreement is key to achieving the savings because the union covers 93,000 employees, roughly half the state's unionized workforce.

Many state workers were angry when Brown figured those savings into his May budget revision, since they are under two- or three-year contracts that already included a year of furloughs and remain in effect through June of next year.

Some SEIU workers were particularly upset, thinking that Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker had privately assured Brown that she could deliver the pay cut. Walker said that she had suggested going to a four-day, 10-hours-per-day workweek which Brown "tweaked" to a 4/38 schedule. That essentially amounted to a two-hours-per-week furlough that reached the 5 percent pay cut the governor sought.

Eventually, Local 1000 negotiators pressed for a more conventional floating furlough day that cut state employees' monthly pay by nearly 5 percent but allowed some flexibility with when they took the time off. Several other unions had previously agreed to similar furloughs, including, for the first time, groups representing CHP officers and state fire fighters.

June 26, 2012
Defining 'mission critical' retired annuitants in California's state workforce

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

So what's a "mission critical" retired annuitant, anyway?

We'll soon find out. As we've reported, the horse-trading between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 over furloughs included a mandate that departments purge their payrolls of RAs by Sept. 1. Only those deemed mission critical -- in other words, people whose departure would impair the normal function of the organization -- will be exempt.

June 25, 2012
Poll: Will SEIU Local 1000 members vote for a pay cut?

As reported here, SEIU Local 1000 will let members cast ballots on Wednesday to register where they stand on a new furlough agreement negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The results of the vote will be announced on July 2. How do you think it will turn out?

June 15, 2012
Correctional officers, firefighters, psych techs, Jerry Brown tentatively agree to furloughs

State firefighters, correctional officers and psychiatric technicians will take a 5 percent pay hit starting next month under agreements their unions reached Friday with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The news came at the end of a week that saw several unions engaged in intense negotiations with the administration over the wage reduction. The largest group, the 93,000-member SEIU Local 1000, had submitted a proposal to Brown but as of this afternoon had yet to finalize the deal.

The agreements with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the California Department of Forestry Firefighters and the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians all mirror a deal reached with the CHP officers' union last week. Under those terms, employees' pay is docked eight hours per month for one year, but the time can be taken later.

The deal with the firefighters marks the first time that group has been furloughed since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the policy in February 2009.

Firefighters' union spokesman Terry McHale said that members have "given and continue to give" with budget hits to department staffing and equipment the last few years.

"We understand the tenor of the times," McHale said.

Spokesman JeVaughn Baker declined to talk specifics about CCPOA's deal with Brown until the union's leadership could evaluate it.

June 14, 2012
CA budget bill deletes state worker furlough language -- for now

Thumbnail image for assembly seal.gifThe Legislature's 2012-13 state budget proposal eliminates language that Gov. Jerry Brown proposed that would have allowed him to furlough or make other payroll-cutting moves against rank-and-file state workers if their unions refused to negotiate a 5 percent pay reduction.

The unions have been pushing Democrats in the Legislature to make the change, which strengthens their position in negotiations with the administration to cut a total $839 million from the state's payroll costs.

Lawmakers could make more language tweaks between now and Friday's budget deadline or later enact legislation that restores some or all of the authority Brown wanted.

The budget language indicates that Democrats are hoping that all the unions will negotiate payroll reductions for the coming budget year without legislative intervention. But just as the union's hand is strengthened at the bargaining table now, Brown's position is weakened. The unions, which all have current contracts, could view the watered-down bill as a reason to seek more at the table, give Brown less or refuse any pay-cut deal at all.

There's a question in this for Brown, too: How much does he want explicit authorization to enact payroll reductions if bargaining fails? Is he willing to veto a budget that fails to give him that leverage? Or is he certain that all the unions will accept a 5 percent pay reduction even if there's no imposed furlough threat backing him up?

Here's the pertinent language in Assembly Bill 1464 and Senate Bill 1004, which was released this morning. We've underlined the key phrase:

June 14, 2012
Column Extra: The proposed California budget furlough language

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.

The Bee's State Worker column today dissects some of the politics in play over Gov. Jerry Brown's state worker pay reduction proposal as lawmakers prepare to pass a budget on Friday.

Here's the proposed budget language that confers authority on the governor to furlough state employees, among other things, to cut $839 million in the state's employee compensation costs.

Worth noting: Unlike the furlough era under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, all 21 bargaining units that represent some 183,000 organized state employees have current contracts through July 1, 2 or 3 of 2013, adding a new legal wrinkle to any litigation that imposing furloughs would spark.

Live Chat: The Bee's Jon Ortiz hosts: California Supreme Court rules on furloughs

Section 3.90

June 12, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 pushes for trade: furloughs for tougher outsourcing rules

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGSEIU Local 1000 negotiators resumed bargaining with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration this morning, and are seeking cuts in outsourcing and ending the use of retired annuitants and student employees as conditions to accept a pay reduction.

The union said in a memo to members on its website that negotiators also want "maximum flexibility" for employees to take unpaid time off to meet Brown's goal to cut workers' hours and pay by 5 percent. The governor has suggested achieving the savings by putting state workers into a four-day workweek schedule of 9.5 hours per day, but is open to alternatives.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown / 2010 Sacramento Bee file, Hector Amezcua

June 11, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker holds online meeting on bargaining, Jerry Brown's furlough

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Yvonne_Walker_small.jpgSEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker held an online town hall meeting on Saturday to discuss negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration over his proposal to cut employees' hours and pay by roughly 5 percent per month.

Formal talks started that day and continued Sunday. There's been no word on the status of the discussions or any agreement between the state's largest public employee's union and the administration.

In the following video, Walker says the union first proposed a four-day, 10-hours-per-day workweek, but that Brown's May budget revision give it a "twist": four 9.5-hour days.

Still, Walker gives Brown credit for including organized labor in his budget plans, for explaining to the unions why he wants $839 million in employee compensation cuts ($401 million from general fund wages) and for negotiating with the unions.

"I'm going to be honest with you. The 5 percent cut, that's real," Walker said, "But what's not real is how you get there. I think the bargaining teams have been spending a lot of time over this past week trying to get to that dollar amount in different ways."

June 8, 2012
California Highway Patrol officers' union agrees to monthly furlough

For the first time, California's Highway Patrol officers are going to be furloughed.

The union reached an agreement at with Gov. Jerry Brown that furloughs Patrol officers 8 hours per month for one year starting July 1. Officers can bank the hours to take later, but their paychecks will reflect the 5 percent pay reduction regardless.

Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley confirmed the agreement. Jon Hamm, CEO of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, said that the language of the deal encourages officers to take their banked furlough time before taking paid vacation.

The Brown administration had said that it wanted to avoid a policy that allowed banking furlough hours because that leads to employees taking less paid leave, creating a deferred cost for the state when the leave credits with monetary value are cashed out at the end of an employees' career.

Brown proposed putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts four days per week and closing departments on either Fridays or Mondays. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern has said that the administration wants the workweek furlough or equivalent cuts of 5 percent negotiated in time for scoring in the budget, which lawmakers must pass by next Friday.

Until now, CAHP members had never been furloughed. Hamm said union members understand that they need to make a sacrifice, given the state's $15.7 billion budget crisis.

"Our members' reaction has been pretty positive (to the furlough)," Hamm said this afternoon. "I think this is sinking in. They're saying, 'I'm lucky to have a job.'"

The agreement will go to members for a ratification vote starting next week, Hamm said.

Thursday's CAHP agreement signals that other unions representing workers in 24/7 jobs -- prison officers, psychiatric technicians, firefighters and others -- are under pressure to take similar deals if they haven't already.

It may also complicate talks scheduled with other unions, including Saturday's scheduled negotiations with SEIU Local 1000, that center around Brown's plan instead of the arrangement worked out with CAHP.

June 8, 2012
Unions meeting with Brown administration on 5 percent cut

Look for a series of announcements in the next few days from Gov. Jerry Brown and several bargaining units that they have reached agreements to reduce employees' compensation.

Brown proposed putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts four days per week and closing departments on either Fridays or Mondays. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern has said that the administration wants the workweek furlough or equivalent cuts of 5 percent negotiated in time for scoring in the budget, which lawmakers must pass by June 15.

That doesn't leave much time.

SEIU Local 1000 is meeting with the administration Saturday. California Association of Psychiatric Technicians is meeting Tuesday. We've heard -- but haven't confirmed -- that other unions have already met with the administration and that deals with those groups will soon be announced.

June 8, 2012
State employees suggest alternatives to Jerry Brown's four-day-workweek furlough plan

The Association of California State Supervisors is running a poll on its website to gauge the popularity of various alternatives to Gov. Jerry Brown's four-day workweek proposal.

The Brown administration has said it will consider alternatives that accomplish the 5 percent cut in employee compensation costs the governor wants in the 2012-13 state budget, so ACSS asked its members for ideas and then used them for the online poll. The options include:

• Reinstituting the Personal Leave Program.
• Going to a one-day-per-month furlough.
• A five-day workweek with 7.5-hour shifts.
• Closing offices at 3 p.m. on Fridays.
• A 5 percent pay cut, working hours not impacted. (0.8 percent picked that option)
• Letting departments design their own savings plans.

June 7, 2012
UPDATE: 13,000 California state workers win back pay in furlough lawsuit

Editor's note, 5:51 p.m.: This post has been updated with a response from the Brown administration.
Editor's note, 2:40 p.m.: This post has been updated with a statement by CAPS President David Miller.

An Alameda County judge has ruled that state engineers and scientists are owed back wages because they were excessively furloughed last year.

The decision, which also includes a ruling to restore all the furlough wages withheld from a few hundred employees' paychecks, means some 13,000 workers could receive roughly $10.5 million in back pay. The payments would not affect the state's general fund, because the employees due the money are paid from special funds.

In an email to The State Worker, Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said, "We are evaluating the ruling and are likely to appeal."

The Superior Court decision affirms that "this was an Illegal act by Gov. Schwarzenegger that cheated employees," said Bruce Blanning, executive director of the engineers' union. "They're entitled to the money illegally withheld from them."

California Association of Professional Scientists President David Miller issued a statement, "The ruling proves what CAPS has contended all along: the Schwarzenegger furlough plan was misguided, didn't save money, and was illegal. We look forward to working with the Brown Administration to implement the decision and avoid illegal furloughs in the future."

It's worth noting, however, that the extra two days of furlough that make up the bulk of the back wages awarded in the unions' lawsuit occurred in April 2011, when Jerry Brown was governor. The Bee has contacted the administration, seeking comment on whether Brown will appeal. We'll update this post with the response.

June 7, 2012
Column Extra: What Jerry Brown said about pension reform

Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGWith 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 Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that pension reform is high on his agenda and that this week's public pension vote in San Jose is a wake-up call to lawmakers.

Hat tip to San Francisco Chronicle reporter @Carla Marinucci who tweeted video of her brief interview with Brown:

June 4, 2012
Jerry Brown administration defines 'very top' California state workers due for bigger pay cut

120514 Jerry Brown budget presser Amezcua.jpgThe Association of California State Supervisors is reporting on its blog that Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has narrowed down which state workers' pay will be cut by more than 5 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal year:

Acting DPA Director Julie Chapman confirmed in a meeting today with your ACSS that potential cuts above 5% would target "agency secretaries and higher officials," not state supervisors, managers, and confidential employees.

In his May budget revision, the governor proposed furloughing workers two hours per week and reducing the state workweek to four days to cut employee hours and pay by 5 percent. He wants to bargain the cuts and is open to other ideas to achieve the savings as part of closing the state's $15.7 billion budget gap (and that's a charitable administration estimate).

The supervisors' association report answers one of the questions raised when Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern told reporters last month, "No one will excluded (from a pay reduction), except people at the very top. We'll have to do a little better than that."

Morgenstern didn't define who at the "very top" would be hit with a heavier pay cut. That sparked speculation in some quarters that excluded workers might get dinged more. Apparently, that's not the case.

Next question: How much is "a little better than that"?

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his revised state budget plan during a Capitol news conference on Monday, May 14, 2012. / Associated Press, Rich Pedroncelli

May 31, 2012
Breaking news: California state officials' pay will be cut

111111 axe.jpgFrom our sister blog, Capitol Alert:

Pay for California Gov. Jerry Brown, legislators and all statewide officeholders will be cut by 5 percent from current levels, the state's independent salary-setting commission decided today.

Read more by clicking here.

May 25, 2012
California supervisors group mobilizing to fight Jerry Brown's 4/9.5 furlough plan

The Association of California State Supervisors, a member-run organization that represents excluded state workers, is girding itself to battle Gov. Jerry Brown's four-day workweek proposal.

"We need to present the Governor and the public with facts. Specifically, we need to show how the reduced workweek will impact California taxpayers," ACSS President Arlene Espinoza said in an email. "This is your chance to fight for your career and you can do it from the comfort of your own desk."

The memo then asks for "historical proof that furloughs don't work" and "educated guesses about how the 4-day workweek won't work."

Click here to read the memo.

May 24, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 to start pay cut talks with Jerry Brown

In a letter to members this afternoon, SEIU Local 1000 officials said that they are preparing to negotiate with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration early next month, spurred by his proposal to put state workers on a 4/9.5 workweek that would cut their hours and pay by 5 percent.

The chairs of Local 1000's nine bargaining units said that whatever concessions they negotiate will be put in a "side letter" agreement. That would avoid reopening the local's contracts.

Ahead of that, union officials are soliciting savings ideas to offer as alternatives to Brown's furloughs. Next week the local will conduct an online survey of members.

The union's bargaining team will review all of that information ahead of negotiations scheduled to start June 9. Whatever agreement is reached at the table will go to the rank and file for a ratification vote.

Here's the union's rationale for bargaining cuts:

"As the elected leaders of all nine bargaining units within Local 1000, we agreed that it's better to be aggressive participants in the effort to find solutions to achieve savings. We intend to be part of the action, not acted upon.

"We could have said 'no,' and demanded that the governor honor our contract. By staying engaged, we minimize the potential for a huge number of layoffs and even deeper cuts in vital services, like education and the programs that serve California's most needy."

Here's the entire letter:

May 22, 2012
Commission could cut state elected officials' pay

From Bee Capitol Bureau colleague Jim Sanders' report this morning:

One week after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed slicing state workers' pay by 5 percent, the Democratic governor and legislators find themselves targeted for a "share the pain" salary cut.

Members of California's Citizens Compensation Commission said Monday that a pay-cut proposal for statewide officeholders will be on the table when the panel meets May 31.

Click here to read the entire story, which includes lawmakers' reactions to the idea.

May 17, 2012
Live chat today at noon will take on Jerry Brown's workweek plan

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for chat logo.jpgWhat does Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to restructure the state workweek mean for state workers and the public?

Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Will it really happen? What about other aspects of his plan to cut costs, like reducing outsourced work and eliminating hiring of retired annuitants?

Join us here at noon today for an hour of your questions and comments during what is sure to be a lively online chat about Brown's version of furloughs. You can even sign up for an email reminder at

May 15, 2012
From the notebook: More reactions to Jerry Brown's California workweek plan

Thumbnail image for notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users the data, the notes and the quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

Our story in today's Bee looks at Gov. Jerry Brown's prosposal to cut $401 million in general fund employee costs ($839 million all funds) by putting state employees on a 4/9.5 weekly furlough schedule.

We inerviewed several folks who didn't get into the final version of our story, including Bruce Blanning, executive director of the state's engineers' union and Tim Yeung, a Sacramento-based labor attorney.

Here are some highlights of our discussions with both men:

May 14, 2012
Jerry Brown says workweek changes will be bargained

Gov. Jerry Brown said today that his administration will bargain with labor to get the 5 percent, $839.1 million savings from employee compensation costs that his May budget revision proposes.

Here's what the governor said during this morning's press conference when asked how he would hit the savings target:

"Negotiations. We have contracts and we'll look at a variety of ways (to make savings). The state employees particularly have come forward some very imaginative ideas. They've been helpful. They've been willing to step up to the plate even though they represent some people who are not paid all that much. So we will work for a 5 percent cut. And we're going to figure it out. But that will be the financial value of the changes we make and it will be mutually arrived at."

May 14, 2012
Read what Jerry Brown's budget plan says about cutting state workers' hours, pay

California Gov. Jerry Brown released today a revised plan to close the state's projected $15.7 billion budget gap.

Here are the four pages that deal with reducing state employee costs, including a plan to shorten the workweek for most state workers, government reorganization and cuts to special -fund programs and state real estate costs.

Our sister blog, Capitol Alert, has posted the entire revised budget proposal online.
California May budget revision on state government

May 14, 2012
Jerry Brown's budget proposes longer days, shorter weeks for state workers

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGState employees would work longer shifts but fewer of them under the revised budget plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown this morning, saving the government more than $800 million.

Brown's budget envisions putting a four-day, 38-hour workweek for "the majority of state employees." If broken into four equal shifts, that translates into four 9.5-hour workdays and a reduction of hours and pay of eight hours over four weeks.

Brown's plan doesn't spare prisons or state hospitals: "The Administration will pursue commensurate reductions in work hours and pay for employees of entities that operate 24 hour a day, 7 days a week when implementation of the four-day workweek is not feasible."

The plan also cuts the state's operating costs by cutting energy usage at state-occupied buildings.

In sum, the workweek reconfiguration plan would save an estimated $839.1 million in fiscal 2012-13. Of that, $401.7 million would be savings for the general fund, which Brown says is confronting a $16 billion deficit.

The budget plan also anticipates more savings through cutting outside contracts, particularly in information technology services, eliminating "non essential" hiring of retired annuitants and cutting 11,000 state positions on top of the 15,000 eliminated in the 2011-12 budget.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown / Sacramento Bee file

May 14, 2012
Jerry Brown to release California state budget revision today

From our sister blog, Capitol Alert:

Just how bad will it be?

Gov. Jerry Brown is releasing his revised budget in Sacramento at 10 a.m., and with his deficit estimate now at $16 billion, nobody thinks it'll be easy on the eyes. As Kevin Yamamura reported Sunday, "No sector that relies on state funding is likely to escape deeper cuts. Brown has already told state worker unions to expect at least a 5 percent compensation reduction."

Brown's morning news conference will be streamed live on the California Channel's website. The revised budget itself will posted online shortly after 10 a.m. at this link. Afterward, the governor will head to Los Angeles for a second news conference at 2 p.m. Come back to Capitol Alert later today for details and reactions from legislators and others.

April 18, 2012
Salary cap measure clears California Senate committee

120418 Senator Anderson Senate Floor Photo.JPGA bill that would cap California state employees' pay at no more than what the governor earns cleared the Senate Public Employee and Retirement Committee today on a 3-1 vote.

Senate Bill 1368, authored by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, would limit the annual pay of state officers and employees, including overtime, to the governor's salary, currently $173,987 per year.

The measure exempts current salaries set by contracts but requires the limitations to take effect for those employees once those deals expire. Anderson's bill also includes exemptions for public safety workers and judges.

Republican Sens. Ted Gaines of Rocklin and Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel and Democratic Sen. Juan Vargas of San Diego voted for the measure. Sen. Alex Padilla D-Los Angeles, opposed it. Chino Democratic Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod abstained.

The measure now moves to the Senate Governmental Organization Committee for a hearing Tuesday.

CalSTRS, which has sponsored a bill that would allow it to boost pay for its chief financial officer and chief operating officer well beyond what the governor earns, has opposed the measure.

Related posts:
Anderson bill would cap state worker pay at Jerry Brown's salary
The State Worker: Linking state pay cap to governor is tricky exercise
Column Extra: Who earns more than Jerry Brown?
Bill allows big pay hike for two CalSTRS executive jobs

PHOTO: Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, on the Senate floor in 2011. / Courtesy Joel Anderson.

April 9, 2012
Poll: Why has hiring dropped off under Jerry Brown's watch?

As our story in today's Bee notes, state hiring fell 25 percent during the first year of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's administration when compared with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's last year in office.

But how much is Brown responsible? After all, the state still added more than 10,000 new full- and part-time employees in the first 14 months of his comeback third term. How much of the difference in numbers is a difference in leadership style, administrative savvy, political experience or bureaucratic cooperation?

Is is possible, for example, that Schwarzenegger's tough-on-state-workers policies (furloughs, attempts to withhold wages during budget stalemates, the campaign to roll back public pensions) prodded so many civil servants into retirement that his administration wound up hiring more than Brown?

Or has Brown, drawing on his many years in the public sector including two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983, simply done a better job of managing the state deficit -- and gained the bureaucracy's support to slow hiring in the process?

On The State Worker's Facebook page, retired state worker Mike Carbahal gave this opinion: "Schwarzenegger did not know what he was doing, nobody paid him or his programs much if any attention - Brown on the other hand does know what he is doing and is taken very seriously."

What do you think?

March 30, 2012
Jerry Brown starts clock on sweeping government overhaul

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGA three-month countdown started today on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to downsize state government.

The administration delivered an eight-page proposal to the Little Hoover Commission that would, among other things, reduce the number of state agencies from 12 to 10, consolidate some departments and eliminate others.

"The state's bureaucracy is a labyrinth of disjointed boards, commissions, agencies and departments," said Brown said in a press release this afternoon. "This common sense plan makes government more efficient, responsive and coordinated and will ultimately save taxpayer dollars."

Brown made the sweeping changes part of his state budget draft in January. Now Little Hoover has 30 days to review the plan and issue recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. The plan goes into effect unless a majority in either the Assembly or the Senate reject it within 60 days of receiving the commission's report.

Click here for the governor's letter to The Little Hoover Commission and summary of the consolidation plan. You can see the reorganization plan delivered to the commission by clicking the link below.

March 9, 2012
AFSCME proposes extending state worker contract for one year

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2620 has proposed extending its expiring labor agreement for one year.

Cliff Leo Tillman Jr., Local 2620's senior business agent, made the initial proposal to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration in a letter (posted below) presented at yesterday's public "sunshine" meeting at the Department of Personnel Administration. State law requires the meetings to publicly air initial labor proposals and allow public comment on them.

AFSCME represents about 4,600 health and social service professionals in Bargaining Unit 19. Its contract expires July 2. State doctors, psychiatric technicians and skilled crafts employees and maintenance staff in three other bargaining units are working under contracts with the same expiration date. None have yet offered a formal initial proposal.

AFSCME's proposal clearly signals the union isn't going to press for pay raises or other big gains while Brown is trying to close a $9.2 billion state budget gap, but detailed talks will still occur behind closed doors later when state and labor negotiators meet.

It's no surprise that AFSCME has proposed extending its current deal. Click here for a recent State Worker column that explains why.
AFSCME contract rollover proposal

February 24, 2012
Ron Yank explains why he's leaving Jerry Brown's administration

Thumbnail image for 110816 Ron Yank.JPGAs we reported earlier this week, Department of Personnel Administration Director Ron Yank is leaving his post at the end of this month. The news -- which he spread himself in a series of personal calls and emails -- surprised labor leaders and state managers.

Late last month I asked Yank how he was enjoying his job as California's labor relations point man. "I love it," he said, and told me that he had no plans to leave.

I asked him that question nearly every time that we spoke over the last year. Yank didn't need the money, having retired from a long and successful career in labor law representing the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and other unions.

And I always wondered whether Yank, a marathon runner who admits to flashes of temper and salty language when it gets his point across, was suited to head a bureaucracy.

The DPA director sits at what can be an uncomfortable intersection between politics, law and finance. The job requires offering carrots and sticks to other department heads and labor leaders and walking a narrow path between the administrative independence that gives the office power while still executing the governor's agenda.

Ron Yank never struck me as a guy who was keen on asking for permission. His exit illustrated that fact. Instead of waiting for the governor's office to announce his departure and name a successor, he broke with protocol, picked up the phone and started calling union leaders to tell them he was leaving at the end of the month. The news quickly spread.

On Wednesday, Yank said that despite all of his assurances to the contrary, he took the post with the understanding he would leave after one year. That was all the time he was willing to take away from his family in the Bay Area, he said.

He didn't want to make that known for fear of hobbling his effectiveness. "If I'd been a lame duck, we couldn't have accomplished half the things we accomplished," he said as we drank coffee at a restaurant near DPA's offices on S Street.

What follows is an email to DPA staff with the subject line, "Why is Ron leaving his job after only one year?" Yank issued it a few hours after news of his exit surfaced on Tuesday. We're publishing it here after confirming its authenticity with DPA.

As of this morning, the Brown administration still hasn't issued an official statement about Yank's departure or named a successor.

February 15, 2012
CalPERS: Jerry Brown's hybrid pension plan won't significantly cut state's costs

Thumbnail image for 100607 CALPERS HQ.JPGGov. Jerry Brown's proposal to put future state and local government employees into hybrid retirement plans won't significantly cut the state's pension costs and could cost some employers more than their current defined benefit plans, the California Public Employees' Retirement System said in an analysis released Tuesday afternoon.

"For school employers, cost savings are expected to be 2 percent of payroll, while local public agencies will vary but are expected to be greater than the State overall," CalPERS staff analysis concluded, while employers' cost for safety workers' pensions would increase.

The fund confirmed that the governor's plan would lower benefits for new workers and shift more risk from employers to employees. Brown and other pension reformers have argued that both need to happen.

The report, requested by the Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions, didn't consider administrative costs to manage a hybrid plan or to possibly close current defined benefit plans. It used two hypothetical retiring employees to illustrate how a hybrid plan would work:

As directed by the Committee staff, the hypothetical member is someone hired at age 32 that will eventually retire at age 67 for miscellaneous members and hired at age 27 that retires at age 57 for safety members.

Brown's goal is for a hybrid system that combines retirement income streams aiming to total 75 percent of an employee's income averaged over his or her final three work years. For miscellaneous workers, Brown's proposal envisions 25 percent coming from a 401(k)-type savings account, 25 percent from a defined benefit and 25 percent from Social Security.

Safety workers who don't pay into Social Security would receive 50 percent from a defined benefit. Hybrid pensions for the California Peace Officer Fire Fighter group would cost the state 2.1 percent more, CalPERS concluded.

Some links for those who want to dive into the deep end of the public-pension debate pool:

The CalPERS hybrid cost analysis
Hybrid Actuarial Analysis 2. 2012.docx
Summary of Gov. Jerry Brown's 12-point pension reform plan
Bill language of Brown's 12-point pension reform plan

PHOTO: CalPERS headquarters. Sacramento Bee photo.

January 23, 2012
California special agents seek halt to Jerry Brown's layoffs

The Association of Special Agents has filed for a temporary restraining order against Gov. Jerry Brown to stop the layoffs of its members at the Department of Justice.

The court filing, submitted Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court, is a new phase of the association's litigation against Brown. The group says that Brown targeted about 300 of its members for layoff in retaliation for their union's 2010 endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.

The agents are a subset of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.

The Brown administration has denied the ASA charge, saying that legislative Republicans' refusal to extend higher taxes triggered the cuts to Department of Justice jobs.

Here's the 329-page filing by ASA President Mike Loyd:
120123 ASA TRO

January 20, 2012
Four state unions, Jerry Brown administration to start bargaining

120119 negotiate.JPGDidn't we just do this?

With contracts covering tens of thousands of state employees set to expire this summer, the Department of Personnel Administration has scheduled meetings in February and March so that the government and four unions can publicly release their initial bargaining proposals.

Agreements with the International Union of Operating Engineers (Unit 12), the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (Unit 16), the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians (Unit 18) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Unit 19) expire July 1. The four groups represent roughly 24,000 state workers.

January 19, 2012
Column Extra: More about reorganizing California government

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, some of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Here are a few sources that underpinned today's State Worker column in The Bee:

The Little Hoover Commission's summary of gubernatorial reorganization plans dating back to the first term of the Ronald Reagan administration.

"Boards and Commissions in State Government" by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.

"Little Hoover Commission's Role in Governor's Reorganization Process"

January 18, 2012
Jerry Brown says public pension 'arithmetic doesn't add up'

Updated at 10:42 a.m. with Brown's extemporaneous remarks.

In this morning's State of the State address to the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown said a little about public pensions and his proposal to change them at the state and local level. Here's what he said, reading from his prepared text:

"As for pensions, I have put forth my 12-point proposal. Examine it. Improve it. But please take up the issue and do something real. I am committed to pension reform because I believe there is a real problem. Three times as many people are retiring as are entering the workforce. That arithmetic doesn't add up. In addition, benefits, contributions and the age of retirement all have to balance. I don't believe they do today."

Then Brown deviated from his prepared remarks with these comments:

"Starting tomorrow if you work for 30 years, are you going to live to 80, 90, 110? How much is that? How many people are retired? How many people are working? How many people are coming along? How does it all work out? Anybody who tells me that you feel absolutely confident that 40 or 50 years from now things are all going to be paid for are not looking at the numbers and the other comparable investments."

January 10, 2012
Poll: Will Jerry Brown successfully reorganize government?

If you haven't already, check out the list of agencies, departments, boards, offices and commissions that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to ax, reorganize and consolidate, then take our poll:

January 4, 2012
The State Worker's Top 10 of 2011: No. 2 -- Jerry Brown's pension reform plan

countdown 2.JPGThis is the latest installment in a series of posts looking back at the most-read State Worker blog items of 2011.

Labor unions poured money and manpower into Democrat Jerry Brown's 2010 gubernatorial campaign, even while privately admitting concern over his notorious unpredictability.

Which Gov. Brown would they get? The one who, during his earlier turn in office, signed the law that allowed state workers to organize? Or would they get the Brown that cut 2,000 Caltrans engineers and vetoed raises for state workers?

They got a little of both.

December 23, 2011
The State Worker's Top 10 of 2011: No. 9 -- Furlough fears

countdown 9.JPGThis is the second installment in a series of posts counting down the most-read State Worker blog items and columns of 2011.

We started fielding a few calls, emails and Facebook messages in late September from state workers wondering if furloughs might return. The reason: A provision in SEIU Local 1000's contract requiring employees take 12 unpaid leave days over 12 months would expire at the end of October. So would a corresponding no-furlough guarantee.

The state workers who contacted us wanted to know: Would Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature bring back furloughs once the leave program ended?

This Oct. 25 post explained why that wouldn't happen: "More state workers to return to full hours and pay"

December 14, 2011
Poll: What next for Jerry Brown's public pension plan?

Although Gov. Jerry Brown's public pension reform plan is still in the formative stages, it's become the reference point in the debate about government retirement. For example, the public pension study released by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research specifically addresses the Brown plan. Pollsters have also surveyed public opinion on the governor's pension ideas.

So what do you think? What's next for Brown's pension plan?

December 1, 2011
Jerry Brown to attend legislative hearing on his pension plan

Brownpension2.JPGGov. Jerry Brown will be on hand this afternoon as a legislative panel convenes to review his pension proposal.

The Democratic governor will join Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Marty Morgenstern and Department of Finance deputy director Michael Cohen as they present his plan to the Joint Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions.

The 1 p.m. hearing marks the Legislature's first public vetting of the governor's proposal, which would raise the retirement age and scale back pension benefits for future workers.

Lawmakers will also hear testimony and analysis of the 12-point plan from the Legislative Analyst's Office, public employee pension systems CalPERS and CalSTRS, the University of California and representatives of public employee unions and employers.

This isn't the first time Brown has made a cameo at a public hearing on one of his proposals. Earlier this year, he appeared before a joint budget committee to make the case for extending temporary tax increases to help close the budget deficit. After months of negotiations, that proposal failed to win approval in the Legislature.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a 12-point public pension reform on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 that would ask voters to increase the age at which future state and local government employees could retire with full benefits and place them in riskier retirement plans than current workers. Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee.

November 23, 2011
Drug agents sue Jerry Brown over impending layoffs

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgThe Association of Special Agents is suing Gov. Jerry Brown and Department of Finance Director Ana Matosantos over targeted Department of Justice layoffs that the agents contend are politically motivated. The agents group is an affiliate of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.

Click here for Kevin Yamamura's report on Capitol Alert. Read our recent story about the political history that prompted the association's complaint by clicking here.

And here's the complaint filed in Sacramento Superior Court today:
Association of Special Agents v. Jerry Brown

November 22, 2011
Radio host Jeffrey Callison appointed to Corrections job

111122 CALLISON.JPGJeffrey Callison, whose Scottish brogue has been a distinctive feature of Capital Public Radio's "Insight" radio program for years, has been tapped for the press secretary of media relations position for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced Callison's appointment to the $102,015-per-year position this morning.

Callison, 50, has hosted the daily public affairs program on the Sacramento NPR affiliate since 2004. He started at the station as a reporter in 1996 and became its news director in 2000.

His one-hour radio show has spotlighted local politicians, pundits, musicians, artists and other newsmakers. Callison's demeanor and preparation for interviews came across on the air as a calm confidence that fit in with NPR's laid-back cerebral style.

The Corrections job doesn't require Senate confirmation. Callison is not registered to vote, according to this Brown administration press release, which also announced 12 other gubernatorial appointments.

CPR News Director Joe Barr said Callison would be missed: "Jeffrey helped build Insight into what it is today," Barr said in a statement. "We're really going to miss him and we wish him well in his new job. This is an opportunity to take the program in some new directions with a new host. We'll begin a search shortly."

PHOTO: Jeffrey Callison at Capital Public Radio's studio. / Jose Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee, 2007

November 21, 2011
Poll: Washington audit finds state paid for unused cellphones

Washington state's auditor says that nearly 6,700 state-issued cellphones that cost the government $1.8 million -- nearly a third of those reviewed -- were used infrequently or not at all during a study that ran from March 2010 through February of this year. Of those, a third weren't used one time during the audit period, reported Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag, but the state still paid more than $533,000 for them.

The Washington audit, which you can read here, echoes a similar study of California's state cellphones that found about 25 percent of the 54,000 wireless lines tracked in December 2010 weren't used -- but still cost the government more than $300,000.

Those finding supported Gov. Jerry Brown's February order to cut the government's cellphone inventory in half by June 1 of this year.

Departments turned in about 29,000 of 67,000 cellphones covered by Brown's order, with thousands more still under review as of the deadline, the administration said at the time.

Prompted by the Washington audit, we're curious about the impact to California state workers of the state's cellphone slim-down nearly six months later:

November 10, 2011
Poll: Who will have the most pull in the public pension debate?

It seems like everybody is talking about public pensions.

Gov. Jerry Brown has a 12-point plan he wants to put before voters next year. Republicans applaud the governor for offering up the proposals and have challenged him to call a special session to address the issue. Democrats are wary of Brown's plan.

Meanwhile, California Pension Reform has filed two pension proposals with the attorney general for title and summary, aiming to put one of them on the November 2012 ballot. Labor insists that any pension downgrades should be negotiated, not just legislated.

So what do you think?

November 9, 2011
GOP lawmakers demand special session on public pensions

Four GOP lawmakers this morning praised Gov. Jerry Brown's 12-point plan to change public pensions, then challenged him to go a step further by calling a special session to address the issue.

"The Legislature needs to give our full attention to this, right now," Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton said at a press conference held in his office. "After the first of the year, we're going to be all budget, all the time."

The Rancho Cucamonga Republican said that he sent his request that Brown reconvene lawmakers before the regular session starts in January. Dutton said he hadn't received a response as of this morning.

Dutton and three other GOP senators -- Tom Berryhill of Oakdale, Tom Harman of Huntington Beach and Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel -- took turns praising Brown for offering a series of public pension changes, which the Legislative Analyst's Office described Tuesday as "a bold, excellent starting point" though it "leaves many questions unanswered."

"I want to commend the governor publicly," Harman said. "I think he is serious."

The GOP caucus has a checkered history when it comes to public pension policy. Dutton was among a small number of Republicans who tried to block legislation last year that lowered benefits for new state hires and hiked what all state workers pay into their pension funds. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger desperately wanted the measure and had Democrats and labor on board.

October 26, 2011
Jerry Brown to propose less generous pensions, higher retirement age

Details of Gov. Jerry Brown's pension change plan are leaking out tonight.

Two of the most significant components: A mandatory hybrid pension system and aligning the retirement age to receive full benefits with Social Security, currently 67 for most employees. Both of those provisions would apply only to new hires.

Click here for the breaking news story by David Siders and look for more details in Friday's Sacramento Bee.

October 25, 2011
More state workers to return to full hours and pay next month

More than half the state workforce will return to full hours and pay starting next week.

The so-called "Personal Leave Program" ends Nov. 1 for the 95,000 employees covered by SEIU Local 1000 and another 30,000 excluded workers such as managers and supervisors.

The state sent paychecks to about 230,000 employees last month, according to the latest figures from the controller's office.

A little over one year ago, Local 1000 agreed to a contract that included one day of PLP per month for 12 months That agreement, which went into effect Nov. 1, 2010, also gave members a no-furlough guarantee during the PLP period.

Excluded managers and supervisors received similar terms via a memo issued by the Department of Personnel Administration.

Several blog users have asked if the end of PLP means that furloughs might return. Technically, it's possible, but we think it's extremely unlikely.

October 13, 2011
Jerry Brown talks about pension reform

From The Bee's David Siders on our sister blog, Capitol Alert:

BEVERLY HILLS - Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that he will propose pension changes requiring a constitutional amendment and a public vote, though he declined to discuss them in any detail.

Read the rest of Dave's report by clicking here.

October 10, 2011
Jerry Brown vetoes outsource contract reporting measure

Gov. Jerry Brown handed labor a legislative loss on Sunday by rejecting a union-backed bill that would have forced the government to post outsource contracts of $5,000 or more on the Reporting Transparency in Government website and then on the Financial Information System for California website, which is still under construction.

Brown reasoned that the information should already be posted on the state's "eProcurement" website. "I am issuing an Executive Order to ensure that these contracts continue to be posted on this site," Brown wrote in his Sunday veto message.

Public employee unions and Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-Monterey Park, argued that the state needs to make outsource contract information at least as easy to access as what the state spends elsewhere. A legislative analysis of the measure quoted Eng:

Currently expenditures and staffing levels associated with the use of civil service workers is routinely reported to the Legislature and is readily available to the public through the budget process each year. The same reporting requirements should apply for personal service and consulting contracts.

October 7, 2011
Jerry Brown signs one CalPERS bill, vetoes another

Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGGov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that sets new restrictions on how long former public pension fund officials must wait to lobby the funds for business, aiming to close the kind of "revolving door" access by former executives and board members that has scandalized CalPERS.

Brown also vetoed overwhelmingly popular legislation that would have lowered the annual limit on gifts that CalPERS and CalSTRS board members and executives could accept.

Controller John Chiang, who sits on both the CalPERS and CalSTRS boards, sponsored both bills and had publicly urged Brown to sign them.

October 7, 2011
Jerry Brown vetoes pension investments reporting bill

Gov. Jerry Brown has killed Assembly Bill 1379, which would have required that pension systems with at least $4 billion in assets report to the state controller all their California investments and California emerging market investments as of July 1, 2012.

Assemblyman Steven Bradford, the Gardena Democrat who authored the legislation, figured that making the information plain would help attract private investment to poorer parts of the state.

Brown vetoed the measure as redundant for some pension funds and a needless expense for others.
Jerry Brown's AB 1379 Veto Letter

September 30, 2011
How California's hiring freeze forces creative solutions

The hiring requests submitted to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration often show how thinking at the agency or department level conflicted with what decision makers in the governor's office defined "essential" jobs or how vacancies could be filled.

The Department of Transportation, for example, asked to hire an administrative assistant II who would work for the director of Caltrans. The position would have cost the department about $64,000 per year.

Failing to fill it would mean "the Director's ability to respond to urgent requests ... may be impaired. Responses to the Governor's Office and External Agencies may be delayed if the Director is not apprised of the priority," the department said. "Actions at this level affect the Department and Director's image and the ability to produce desired results."

Transportation couldn't transfer internally to fill the job, it said, because the vacant position "is the only Administrative Assistant II position in the Department."

The Brown administration gave the hire a thumbs down and offered an outside-the-org-chart solution:

September 29, 2011
California hiring freeze shows 'critical' in the eye of the beholder

Gov. Jerry Brown's hiring freeze order is pretty darn explicit: No hiring for jobs that aren't "critical" functions of a department's "core" mission. No hiring for positions that aren't front-line jobs providing essential front-line services, such as public safety jobs.

Toxic Substances' request No. I-0008, which we've posted below, said the department needed to hire a chief of its Office of Criminal Investigations (cost: $138,000 per year), to supervise its investigators and scientists. The public safety duties of the job made it a candidate for a freeze exemption, the department said, and leaving it empty would, "result in reduced law enforcement field presence in California."

That's not all. Leave the job unfilled, the department said, and you're weakening the deterrent for illegal hazardous waste dumping and you're hampering fair competition between businesses that follow hazardous waste handling and disposal rules and those businesses that don't.

Despite those dire predictions, the Brown administration slammed the request with three terse sentences:

September 8, 2011
Poll: How has Jerry Brown treated state workers?

As we head into the close of the first legislative session with comeback Gov. Jerry Brown in the executive's seat, it seems an apt time to ask:

August 24, 2011
Poll: Does the state's human resources merger matter?

We've written plenty over the last few weeks about Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to reshape California's state civil service by blending the non-constitutionally-mandated functions of the State Personnel Board and the Department of Personnel Administration into a new super-HR organization.

It looks like full speed ahead for the proposal, especially after Tuesday's bipartisan Senate committee support of Governor's Reorganization Plan No. 1.

The administration says the merger will save about $6 million by axing duplicated positions, but the Bigger Idea is to effect a cultural shift in the way the state handles current and potential employees.

What do you think? Will Brown's plan reach its lofty goal? Fall flat? Somewhere in between?

June 27, 2011
Brown hints at budget cuts affecting state workers

Gov. Jerry Brown avoided getting into many details about the budget that he and Democrats have agreed on, but a few newsy nuggets of interest to state workers did surface during his 15-minute press conference with reporters a few minutes ago.

For a broader look at Brown's comments on the budget and those of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, click here to pick up Torey Van Oot's report on Capitol Alert.

The deal includes no taxes, since among Republicans "there is an almost religious reluctance" to avoid them, Brown said.

The governor was ready to wheel and deal on public pensions, but even that couldn't pull up the GOP's political anti-tax anchor. "I have to say, the pension proposals ... my office had the language written," Brown told reporters. "That's all now tabled."

The Democrats plan to pass a budget that makes another $150 million in cuts to each of the state's university systems and more cuts to the judiciary. (Brown hinted the the state's massive courthouse building project would be put on hold.)

The universities could see yet another $100 million in cuts triggered if state revenues don't meet higher estimates in the new budget plan.

Brown also nixed selling state properties and then leasing them back, a holdover idea from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration that Brown rejected and then said he'd reconsider.

April 26, 2011
Jerry Brown issues business travel restrictions for state workers

From our sister blog, Capitol Alert:

Gov. Jerry Brown today issued an executive order banning state employee travel that is "not mission-critical."

The order targets all in- and out-of-state travel that costs the state money and is not "directly related to enforcement responsibilities, audits, revenue collection or other duties required by statute, contract or executive directive."

Capitol Bureau colleague Torey Van Oot has the story and the executive order, which you can read by clicking here.

March 31, 2011
Jerry Brown issues pension reform plan

Gov. Jerry Brown today issued a 12-point pension reform agenda his office says he will introduce in the Legislature "with or without Republican support."

The first seven items seek to end abuses or tighten pension funding rules. The last five involve more systemic changes and are listed as "under development." We have a call in to the governor's office to find out what that means.

Brown released the details two days after talks broke down with Republican lawmakers over the state budget deficit. The GOP was seeking pension changes, among other things, in exchange for votes to place tax increase extensions before voters

Here's a summary from Brown's office, followed by proposed bill language:



MARCH 2011

1. Eliminate Purchase of Airtime. Would eliminate the opportunity, for all current and future employee members of all state and local retirement systems, to purchase additional retirement service credit. (RN 14777) (Note Walters, SB 522, would eliminate Air Time)

2. Prohibit Pension Holidays. All California public agencies would be prohibited from suspending employer and/or employee contributions necessary to fund the normal cost of pension benefits. (RN 14777)

3. Prohibit Employers from Making Employee Pension Contributions. All California public agencies would be prohibited from making employee contributions that fund the normal cost of employee retirement benefits in whole or in part. (RN 14777)

4. Prohibit Retroactive Pension Increases. All California public agencies would be prohibited from granting any retroactive pension benefit increases, such as benefit formula improvements that credit prior service. (RN 14777)

5. Prohibit Pension Spiking: Three Year Final Compensation. Final compensation for new employees would be defined as the highest average annual compensation during a consecutive 36 month period. (RN 14777)

6. Prohibit Pension Spiking: Define Compensation as Only Regular, Non-recurring Pay. Compensation means normal rate of pay or base pay. (RN 14777) (Note Simitian, SB 27, would exclude from defined benefit changes in compensation principally for the purpose of enhancing benefits; would place stricter limits on creditable compensation)

7. Felony Convictions. Prohibits payment of pension benefits to those who commits a felony related to their employment. (RN 14777) (• Note Strickland, SB 115, similar prohibition)


Impose Pension Benefit Cap.

Improve Retirement Board Governance

Limit Post-Retirement Public Employment

Hybrid Option

Address CalSTRS Unfunded Liability

Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reform proposal

February 14, 2011
Jerry Brown's Valentine's Day message to state workers?

The swanky Citizen Hotel has a suggestion for a cheeky candy heart Gov. Jerry Brown might send to state workers this Valentine's Day:


What would your candy heart to the governor say?

See more of the state politics-themed candy hearts in The Cititzen window display over at Capitol Alert.

February 4, 2011
Poll: What do you think of Brown's order to cut state vehicles?

This item first posted on Jan. 31, but we're bringing it back so that State Worker blog users can see the results now that item has been pushed off the home page.

Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered the state's vehicle fleet slashed and new vehicle purchases stopped. The mandate followed an earlier edict that government agencies and departments cut the number of cell phones issued to state workers.

(By the way, here's a perspective on Brown's phone recall by John Thomas Flynn of TechLeader.TV: "Jerry Brown, Cell Phones and the Law of Unintended Consequences.")

We're always interested in gauging what this blog's users think about these sorts of policies. Hence today's poll question:

February 1, 2011
Jerry Brown, government downsizer

After his State of the State speech Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown took media questions. Bee colleague and Capitol Alert blogger Torey Van Oot passed along her notes from the scrum about what the governor said when asked whether he would make more "symbolic" cuts, like his cell phone recall or state vehicle executive order.

"I think streamlining the state is more than symbolic," Brown said. "There are agencies that can be merged and layers that can be eliminated and I'm working on that."

When will Brown detail those mergers and consolidations? If recent history serves, he'll do it when it gives him maximum political impact.

One of Brown's political strengths is his sense of timing. When he ran for governor last year, he defied calls within his own party to fire back early at Republican Meg Whitman's multimillion-dollar negative ad campaign. His eventual win was a political tortoise-and-the-hare story (with help from Whitman's "nannygate" debacle). Brown knew that in politics the finish is more important than the start.

Now he's up against Reeps who are insisting early on that Brown's tax extension plan is a no go. Dems aren't happy with his planned cuts.

But rather than getting bogged down in a word war (remember Schwarzenegger's famous "girlie man" remark?), Brown going back to his tortoise strategy. So look for more cost-cutting announcements to trickle out of the administration over the coming weeks as the governor seeks to burnish his cost-cutter credentials -- and pressure members of his own party and Republicans on the other side to leave their comfort zones.

January 31, 2011
Department of Finance issues cell phone recall rules

110131 Finance seal.jpgThe state Department of Finance has issued the rules and forms for departments to inventory and turn in cell phones in keeping with Gov. Jerry Brown's Jan. 11 executive order to slash state-issued cell phones by 50 percent.

We've embedded the budget letter below. Click the following links for the detailed instructions and forms that departments are supposed to use to carry out Brown's order.

Cellular Device Inventory Reduction Instructions
Cellular Device Inventory Reduction Worksheet
Request for Cellular Device Exemption
Budget Letter 11 02: Cellular Phone Reductions

January 28, 2011
Read Jerry Brown's order to shrink the state vehicle fleet

As reported less than an hour ago on The Bee's Capitol Alert blog, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered the state's vehicle fleet reduced and has placed a moratorium on new state vehicle purchases. Click here to read the order.

January 28, 2011
Jerry Brown: Cut back on state cars

Gov. Jerry Brown has just issued an order to reduce the state vehicle fleet and to stop purchasing new cars. Bee colleague David Siders has more on our sister blog, Capitol Alert.

January 27, 2011
CalSTRS appointee helped with controversial pension report

110127 finger-pointing.jpgOn his way out the door, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a controversial pardon and a high-profile thumb-in-your-eye appointment to the UC Board of Regents. But have you heard about Cameron Percy?

Schwarzenegger appointed Percy to a spot on the CalSTRS board (compensation: $100 per diem) in December, as Gov. Jerry Brown's website notes. At 26, Percy has a graduate degree from Stanford and business experience with a couple of companies.

As a Stanford grad student, Percy helped author "Going For Broke: Reforming California's Public Employee Pension Systems," which Schwarzenegger and Co. referenced as a source for the oft-cited and highly disputed calculation that California's Big Three pension systems faced a collective $500 billion in unfunded liabilities.

CalSTRS' piece of that, according to the year-old study: $156.7 billion. Fund officials have said that's an overestimation.

(The fund says it had $146.4 billion in assets the end of 2010. Figures posted on its website show that its funding level was 78 percent as of June 30, 2009, but STRS has made investment gains since then. Generally, 80 percent funding is considered the threshold for healthy public pension systems -- although that rule of thumb, like most things about public pensions, has been a topic of debate.)

The Senate has a year to confirm Percy's appointment. We called Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's office and asked when the Rules Committee might take it up. Spokesman Nathan Barankin said there's no firm date yet: "But governors make their own decisions about appointments. Anyone can be yanked with the stroke of a pen."


January 20, 2011
Poll: How is Jerry Brown doing so far?

Yes, he's only been California government's employer-in-chief for 18 days. Yeah, we know that Gov. Jerry Brown is still fleshing out his appointments, fine-tuning his agenda and juggling dozens of pressing policy issues.

But that doesn't mean no one can have an opinion about his performance so far. And so we ask ...

January 10, 2011
New budget plan, old furlough policy

We noticed that Gov. Jerry Brown didn't utter the F-word -- "furloughs" -- during his 45-minute budget press conference today.

So we asked the Department of Personnel Administration whether there were any changes to announce. Are furloughs still on, just as they were under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

"We haven't been given any direction to the contrary," DPA spokeswoman Lynelle Jolleysaid this afternoon in an e-mail.

Click here for a December State Worker column that discusses of why Brown won't end furloughs for unions without contracts.

January 10, 2011
Budget plan adds money for corrections salary, overtime

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:

January 10, 2011
Brown budget calls for safety, peace officer designation review

The eight words tucked into page 175 of Gov. Jerry Brown's 2011-12 budget proposal hint at changes for some state workers who carry a gun and a badge. We've underlined the key phrase:

Efficiencies in State Operations
While there have been a number of reductions in state operations costs in recent years, there continue to be opportunities for additional savings. The Governor's Budget includes $200 million in savings associated with identification of efficiencies in state operations. For example, identification of agencies, departments, and programs that can be reorganized to eliminate duplication and unnecessary functions; review of state peace officer and safety classifications; and reductions in other areas like contracting; fleet operations; and, cell phone use.

January 10, 2011
Brown budget zeroes in on cell phones, cars and his own office

Two time-honored symbols of state excess, cell phones and vehicles, are targeted in the budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown this morning.

From page 7 of the introduction to the governor's 2011-12 budget (click here to open it):

Two areas of particular scrutiny will be the use of cell phones by state employees and the number of state vehicles. The state currently pays for about 96,000 cell phones, one for over 40 percent of all state employees. The Governor has set a statewide goal of reducing the number of cell phones by at least 50 percent. In addition, the Administration will reduce the number of vehicles the state maintains. There are approximately 13,600 light duty vehicles (cars, pickups, vans) in the state fleet, not including some 12,000 that are used for public safety. To reduce the number of vehicles in the state's fleet, the Administration will require each vehicle's purpose and necessity to be rejustified. Only vehicles necessary for critical state functions will be retained, and only when retaining such vehicles is cost effective.

The same introduction mentions cuts previously announced, including eliminating the Office of the Secretary of Education, cutting the Inspector General for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and trimming the governor's office budget by 25 percent.

January 10, 2011
Brown wants to cut payroll, offer cheaper health option

Gov. Jerry Brown said this morning that he wants state employees in unions without contracts to accept $308 million in concessions as part of a wide-ranging downshift in state spending. He also wants to add a lower health insurance option for state workers and retirees.

The cuts would be bargained to cover 63,000 state workers represented by California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment; California Correctional Peace Officers Association; California Statewide Law Enforcement Association; Professional Engineers in California Government; California Association of Professional Scientists; and International Union of Operating Engineers.

"This will all be done through collective bargaining and I'm sure there will be resistance. But that's what collective bargaining is for," Brown said.

Brown's budget proposal adds a "core health care option" that saves $72 million by providing "fundamental coverage at a lower premium," according to the 2011-12 budget summary of employee compensation and retirement.

The state faces at least a $25 billion deficit over the next 18 months. Along with cuts to employee compensation, Brown is proposing slashing college budgets, welfare and other services. He also proposed shifting many of the policies and services that the state now handles, such as juvenile justice and short-term inmate incarceration, to local governments.

It's not clear what the long-term impact would be to the size of state government or the number of state workers. To ease the transition, the governor wants the Legislature to put up a ballot measure to extend taxes or another five years set to expire this year. If the measure fails, he said, the impact to the budget is fairly simple to estimate.

"Look through those different slides" he said pointing to a monitor that detailed $12.5 billion in cuts across the government spectrum, "and multiply by two."

Brown demurred when asked about budget specifics if voters reject the tax extension: "Some people would say I'm putting a gun to their head, so I'm not going to do that."

January 3, 2011
Schwarzenegger records last moment in office

Thumbnail image for 110103 Schwarzenegger video.JPGNow-former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a Twitter video this morning of his last moment in office -- literally. The 10-second post shows him shutting off the lights, cigar in mouth, with what appears to be the state seal under his arm. A cinematic end to the actor-turned-governor's seven years in office.

Click here to open the video on Twitter.

PHOTO: Screen capture,

December 16, 2010
The State Worker reviews the year's top posts: No. 9

This is the next in a series of posts looking back at the most-read State Worker blog posts and columns.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger usually let surrogates handle the dirty work of talking about furloughs, but on a few occasions he addressed the controversial policy himself.

countdown 9.JPGBut at an Aug. 3 appearance before the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Fresno, someone (probably a state worker) asked the governor, "Why did the state workers have to bear the brunt of fiscal mismanagement? When do we get our money back? When will the furloughs end?"

Schwarzenegger cut loose with a lengthy extemporaneous statement about furloughs that included his assertion that state workers "don't take on an extra burden," especially compared with private-sector employees who have lost their jobs.

Our post that afternoon included a transcript and audio clip of what Schwarzenegger said. It quickly drew hundreds of comments. Click here to read Schwarzenegger: "We're not taking anything away from any state employee."

October 11, 2010
From the Notebook: Schwarzenegger's budget press conference

101008 schwarzenegger presser photo.JPGFrom the Notebook blog posts give you the notes, quotes and details that don't get into our state worker news stories but that inform the writing nonetheless.

Our Sunday story on changes made to state employee pensions in 2010-11 budget legislation included a quote from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's at his Friday morning press conference.

You can hear what else the governor said about pensions and the budget by clicking here. Schwarzenegger starts talking about pensions at around the 3-minute mark. (Note: Listening to the 21-minute recording requires an MP3 file player.)

Photo: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, talks to the press after lawmakers approved the budget at the Capitol Friday morning. Sacramento Bee / Hector Amezcua

September 1, 2010
Schwarzenegger cabinet memo clamps down on hiring, OT

As we reported in today's Bee, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has told agency secretaries and department directors to stop hiring, a directive underscored in a memo issued on Tuesday and obtained by The State Worker today.

The memo from Cabinet Secretary Scott Reid also directs departments to cut down on overtime. Although it uses the term "hiring freeze" to describe the governor's insistence that state executives scrutinize all new hires, the memo isn't an executive order directing that all hiring end.

According to Reid, Schwarzenegger's directions include the following:

All state agencies and departments under his direct executive authority shall cease the hiring of employees (including the categories of retired annuitant, permanent intermittent, seasonal, temporary help, and student assistant).

The hiring freeze shall also apply to the transfer of employees between State agencies, the promotion of employees, and the contracting for individuals to perform services.

Every effort shall be taken to cease and desist the authorization of all overtime for employees.

August 31, 2010
Schwarzenegger to agency secretaries: Stop hiring

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met with agency secretaries and department directors Monday afternoon to personally deliver a message: Stop hiring.

The 4 p.m. meeting came after The Bee reported that the size of the state work force overall remained essentially flat from January 2009 through June of this year, although full-time hires were roughly half the number of employees who retired.

The 18-month period analyzed by The Bee included 17 months that state workers endured furloughs ordered by the governor that reduced their hours and pay by a total of 46 working days.

Schwarzenegger called the meeting "to reiterate that we should not be hiring unless absolutely necessary," said the governor's spokesman, Aaron McLear.

Departments were directed to cut their personnel budgets by 5 percent earlier this year and most have met that goal. But meeting that target doesn't mean departments have a green light to hire.

"The point isn't to just get to the (reduction target) and then start hiring," McLear said. "The point isn't to just maintain the current level of employees. The point is to shrink."

August 23, 2010
Schwarzenegger's job chart

100817 Job loss chart.JPG

Capitol Bureau intern Queenie Wong's post, "Schwarzenegger: State employees 'not in touch with reality,' " featured video of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking to the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce in Los Angeles.

During a Q&A with the audience, the governor referenced the job chart pictured above that illustrates how, in his estimation, state workers have been spared the fate that has befallen the private sector during the recession and hence are out of touch with reality.

We asked the administration for a bit more detail about the chart.

August 18, 2010
Breaking news: Furloughs back on for Friday

Furloughs for state workers are back on for Friday. The state Supreme Court has just said that it will review a lower court ruling that kept Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger from furloughing roughly 144,000 employees last week as he had planned.

Schwarzenegger had asked for the review after losing decisions in both Alameda County Superior Court and San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal.

Here's what the court's website says:

The petition for review is GRANTED. Because the issue whether the Governor has the authority to direct the unpaid furlough of state employees is pending before this court and is scheduled for oral argument on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, in the related case of Professional Engineers in California Government et al. v. Arnold Schwarzenegger et. al., S183411, and without expressing any view on the merits of that issue, we conclude that it is appropriate to grant review in this matter and defer further action pending our resolution of the currently pending proceeding. Pending further order of this court, further proceedings in the Alameda County Superior Court in case number RG10494800 (and in consolidated cases numbered RG10507922, RG10507081, RGI0503805, RGI0501997, RGI0516259, RGI0514694, and RG10528855), as well as the temporary restraining order of the Alameda County Superior Court issued on August 9, 2010, are stayed. Votes: George, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.
August 17, 2010
Schwarzenegger files final papers in Supreme Court furlough review request

Now we wait.

Attorneys representing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met a 9 a.m. deadline today to file the final brief in litigation that could determine whether furloughs resume this week for roughly 144,000 state employees.

The governor's side filed this response to yesterday's arguments by state employee unions that lower court decisions that have stalled Schwarzenegger's July 28 furlough mandate shouldn't be reviewed by the High Court.

Schwarzenegger is arguing that the Supremes should consider the matter because, he contends, Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven A. Brick erred by granting a temporary restraining order that kept Schwarzenegger from resuming furloughs last Friday. The governor says that the First District Court of Appeal compounded that error by denying his appeal to lift the restraining order while the lower court case moves forward.

With this morning's filing, the Supreme Court has all the documentation that it requested. If it renders a quick decision in the governor's favor, "Furlough Fridays" could return this week. A ruling against the governor would stop furloughs until at least next month when more court action is scheduled. A new budget deal or tentative agreements with individual unions between now and then also could affect state employees' work schedules.

August 13, 2010
Schwarzenegger: State employees 'not in touch with reality'

State employees fared better in the economic crisis than those in the private sector, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told an audience at the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce today.

"They say when we do furloughs that it's unfair because it will be an enormous pain on state employees," said Schwarzenegger. "They're not in touch with reality."

Pointing to a chart comparing job losses in the private sector versus the public sector, Schwarzenegger said that the economic crisis has had "no effect" on state employees. He noted that the straight yellow line representing job losses in the public sector showed no decline.

Over at Capitol Alert, Dan Walters has more on the governor's speech.

Watch the video below. The governor's comments on state workers start at about the 26-minute mark.

August 13, 2010
Schwarzenegger asks Supreme Court to OK worker furloughs

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formally asked the state's highest court today to clear the way for worker furloughs.

Schwarzenegger, after an appellate court ruled against him Thursday, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court that seeks to lift a temporary restraining order barring him from imposing furloughs.

If the High Court agrees with the governor and acts quickly, more than 144,000 state workers could be forced to take three Fridays off per month without pay -- beginning next week and extending at least until further court proceedings next month, unless a new state budget is passed before then.

Schwarzenegger ordered the furloughs July 28, but a lawsuit by employee unions prompted Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven A. Brick on Monday to block imposition of furloughs until a scheduled court hearing Sept. 13 at which both sides are expected to make extensive arguments.

Contending that even a one-month delay in launching furloughs would cost the state millions in lost savings, Schwarzenegger challenged Brick's ruling, appealing unsuccessfully to the 1st District Court of Appeal which in a two-sentence announcement Thursday sustained the temporary restraining order but did not say why.

Brick had concluded that "serious questions" have been raised about the legality of furloughs and that permitting them before the Sept. 13 court hearing could cause irreparable harm to workers struggling to pay mortgages and care for their families.

Schwarzenegger countered that blocking furloughs would harm the state's ability to function in a time of $19 billion deficit and a deadlock within the Legislature on passing a new budget.

The governor accused the lower court of interfering with his executive authority, and he argued that money saved by imposing furloughs - more than $75 million per month in general fund savings - is critical to retaining key health and safety programs during the budget crisis.

Irreparable harm to the state from blocking such cost-cutting "exceeds any harm that state employees will suffer from temporary furloughs," Schwarzenegger said in his appeal to the Supreme Court.

August 12, 2010
Appellate Court rejects state worker furloughs -- for now

Updated at 2:05 with reaction from both sides

A San Francisco appellate court let stand Thursday a judge's order blocking furloughs for more than 144,000 state workers.

The decision by the First District Court of Appeal means that workers will not be furloughed -- at least temporarily.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, through his Department of Administration, vowed to appeal to the California Supreme Court.

Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's spokesman, said that today's appellate ruling temporarily blocks one form of cost-cutting but does nothing to relieve the state's dire need to act quickly in meeting a $19 billion deficit.

"The furloughs are a direct result of the Legislature's failure to pass a budget, which is causing the state to run out of cash and face IOUs this month," McLear said.

"Whether through more furloughs, pay cuts, or layoffs we will realize the intended savings to state employee compensation and cut back just as every California family and business is doing," McLear said.

The issue before the appellate court was whether to lift a temporary restraining order issued Monday by Alameda Superior Court Steven A. Brick, who had barred the state from imposing furloughs until a Sept. 13 court hearing at which both sides will press their case.

Put simply, the effect of today's appellate ruling is to prevent the state from imposing four planned furlough days over the next month -- until the Sept. 13 hearing at which Brick will consider issuing a more permanent injunction.

If the California Supreme Court steps in quickly -- McLear said the governor's appeal will be filed Friday -- the possibility exists that furloughs could be imposed for the final two Fridays of August, and one next month, before the Sept. 13 showdown in Brick's Alameda County courtroom.

To compensate for the loss of payroll savings this week, employees would be asked to take an additional, self-directed furlough day in August if the High Court gives the green light, according to McLear. If furloughs are blocked throughout August, additional furlough days may be imposed in months to come.

J. Felix De La Torre, an attorney for Service Employees International Union Local 1000, said Thursday's appellate ruling, though not a final resolution, takes a big load off the minds of workers who were threatened with a new round of unpaid days off similar to a program imposed last year.

"Many of them were teetering on the edge of financial disaster, and this has allowed them to actually take a breath," De La Torre said of today's ruling.

Attorney Pat Whalen, representing state attorneys, hearing officers and administrative law judges, said today's appellate decision has triggered widespread relief. "Everybody is elated that their pay is not going to be cut," he said.

In issuing the temporary restraining order that sparked today's appellate ruling, Superior Court Judge Steven A. Brick concluded that there are "serious questions" about the legality of furloughs and that permitting them before the scheduled Sept. 13 court hearing could cause irreparable harm to workers struggling to pay mortgages and care for their families.

Brick also expressed doubt that the estimated "$80 million to $110 million" in general fund savings from from furloughs until Sept. 13 could make much of a dent in the state's $19 billion budget deficit.

Schwarzenegger, in his failed request to the First District Court of Appeal, said the lower court had overstepped its bounds by "questioning the wisdom, rather than the lawfulness" of gubernatorial policy decisions.

The Republican governor also argued that cost-cutting from furloughs was vital to retaining key health and safety programs during the budget crisis.

Even before today's appellate ruling, released about noon, the Schwarzenegger administration had instructed workers in an e-mail to report to work Friday because the legal fight over furloughs remained clouded as that date approached.

Click here to read the memo.

August 5, 2010
Administration issues furlough letter; SEIU seeks to block order

The Department of Personnel Administration sent a draft pay letter to the State Controller's Office on Wednesday that defines the specifics of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough order.

The SCO will return the letter with appropriate codes filled in. DPA will then issue the final document.

Click here and here to read the furlough pay instructions.

Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgOn a related note, SEIU Local 1000 plans to ask Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick for a temporary restraining order to stop furloughs until a full hearing can be scheduled to debate the policy.

The TRO request will be heard Monday, the union says. The first "Furlough Friday" under the new executive order is set for Aug. 13.

Local 1000 also has a lawsuit before Brick that seeks to expand the number of "special fund" departments that the union says should be exempt from furloughs. Click here to read more about it.

August 4, 2010
Controller's office will follow governor's furlough order, unless...

100803 chaing july 2010 amezcua.jpgUPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: SEIU Local 1000 attorneys are planning to ask Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick to issue a temporary restraining order on Monday that would stop Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's order. The union is suing to stop furloughs of its members who work in "special fund" departments.

As we reported Tuesday, CalPERS has asked State Controller John Chiang to continue issuing full pay to its 2,300 or so employees, despite Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's new furlough order.

Here's what SCO spokesman Jacob Roper said when we asked whether Chiang would honor CalPERS' request or the governor's order:

"It is our intention to implement the pay letter, pending judicial determination, as there is a hearing on the special fund cases next week."

PHOTO: Controller John Chiang answers a question during an interview at The Bee's Capitol Bureau in July. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee.

August 3, 2010
Schwarzenegger: 'We're not taking anything away from any state employee'

100710 Schwarzenegger Amezcua.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke this morning to the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Fresno. During a question-and-answer period, he was asked, "Why did the state workers have to bear the brunt of fiscal mismanagement? When do we get our money back? When will the furloughs end?"

Our Bee Capitol Bureau colleague, Kevin Yamamura, was listening to the event live and caught the governor's answer, perhaps his most lengthy public statement on his furlough policy to date.

You can download the audio file by clicking here. The furlough question starts at the 36-minute mark.

While you're waiting for the file to load, you can read Kevin's faithful transcription:

August 2, 2010
'The Expendables' movie poster spoof

Here's a poster that takes off on "The Expendables," a movie featuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Click here for more information about the film, due out Aug. 13.

Thanks to Blog User G for letting us in on this.

100803 expendables.JPG

June 23, 2010
State issues memo on furloughs, minimum wage

Department of Personnel Administration Director Debbie Endsley has sent a memo to all California state agencies that lays out the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's position on furloughs (they're over ... for now) and the possibility of employee pay being withheld to minimum wage (he'll do it if there's no budget).

The latter assumes, of course, that the 3rd District Court of Appeals doesn't overturn a lower court ruling that State Controller John Chiang overstepped his authority by refusing to implement a similar wage withholding order during the 2008-09 budget impasse.

Here's the memo, which at least some agencies are forwarding to their workers:

Here's an update on the furlough and minimum wage situations.

With respect to furloughs, the current program ends June 30, and the Administration expects the State to resume normal hours of operation in July. The Governor's budget proposal includes four proposals to reduce employee compensation costs: a wage cut, one day per month of unpaid leave, increased employee contributions to pensions, and the workforce cap. The Governor retains the right and authority to order furloughs if necessary to address a fiscal and cash crisis.

As for the prospect of state workers receiving minimum wage in lieu of full wages, it will depend on when the Legislature and the Governor reach a budget agreement. The California Supreme Court ruled in 2003 (White v. Davis) that absent an appropriation, which for most of the payroll comes through the annual state budget, the Controller is prohibited from paying state workers beyond what is required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Absent a state budget, we will send instructions to the Controller to pay wages in accordance with the FLSA for the July pay period.

The four unions that recently reached tentative agreements on new contracts (CHP officers, firefighters, psychiatric technicians, and some medical professionals) would not be subject to any new furlough program or minimum wage payments, assuming their contracts are ratified in a timely manner.

Debbie Endsley

June 15, 2010
Dates, deadlines will impact state workers

calendar.jpgA recent e-mail from blog user D, who regularly corresponds with The State Worker and contributes to the blog behind the scenes, summed what many folks are saying as June 30 approaches:

There are four significant dates that state workers will be watching and two significant events that could happen any time:

May 21, 2010
Did Schwarzenegger and chief justice talk about furlough litigation?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the chief justice of California's Supreme Court talked about the judicial branch's budget on the same day that an administration lawyer hand-delivered a controversial letter that informally asked the court to review a furlough case that the governor had twice lost.

There's no connection between those May 11 events, the Schwarzenegger administration says, or the May budget revision three days later that added $19 million in new fee revenue for the trial security, or the Supreme Court's unanimous decision on Thursday to review CASE v. Schwarzenegger as the governor had hoped.

"The budget meeting had nothing to do with the furlough lawsuit," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. "The governor and the chief justice didn't discuss the (lawsuit) letter ... We never talk about cases that may come before the courts."

The State Worker made several calls to the state Supreme Court in San Francisco this afternoon, but couldn't reach an authorized spokesperson.

Patrick Whalen, the lead furlough litigator for CASE, which represents about 3,800 state legal professionals, said he was unaware of the May 11 meeting between Schwarzenegger and George.

"We're confident in the judiciary's ability to decide this case fairly," Whalen said.

Thursday's state Supreme Court order involves a San Francisco trial court decision, subsequently upheld on appeal, that the governor's furlough of 500 legal staff at State Compensation Insurance Fund violated a law that protects its employees from "staff cutbacks."

Service Employees International Union Local 1000 won a similar lawsuit that returned the remaining 7,500 State Fund employees to full hours and pay and restored their lost wages plus 7 percent. The governor has appealed.

Local 1000 spokesman Jim Zamora declined to comment on last week's meeting between Schwarzenegger and George.

The two government leaders have met seven times since early 2008, McLear said. Many if not all of the meetings involved the judicial branch's budget and there was always plenty of support staff in the room.

"These aren't secret talks," McLear said, calling last week's meeting "routine."

Three days after Schwarzenegger and George met, the governor released his annual May budget revision, which included an increase of $91 million from the state's general fund for the judicial branch.

That money, however, replaced anticipated funding the courts lost when lawmakers didn't sign off on Schwarzenegger's plan to fund the courts with traffic speeding fines using cameras to catch more violators.

The May budget revision also included a new fee to raise $19 million for court security.

Hat Tip: The Recorder, which reported the meeting in this story, and to blog user H for making us aware of it.

April 26, 2010
More about the recent Supreme Court furlough decision

Last week's decision by the state Supreme Court to reject Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough lawsuit consolidation request prompted many State Worker blog users to e-mail or call with questions about the ruling:

How many members of the court were involved in the decision?

All seven justices weighed in. Justice Joyce Kennard was the only one who indicated she would have granted the governor's request.

The court's ruling was very brief. Will the court publish more about the decision?

Click the following link for the answer to this question and others about the state Supreme Court's decision.

April 16, 2010
Schwarzenegger: Public pension 'bubble' is bursting

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talked about public employee pensions in his weekly address posted on YouTube today. Click the viewer to see the 2-1/2 minute clip.

April 14, 2010
1st District Court again sides with Schwarzenegger

It's official. Furlough Fridays will continue.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpgSan Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has issued a ruling on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's third petition for writ of supercedeas. Like the previous decisions (which you can read about here and here), the court has decided to keep furloughs in place for state workers in "special fund" departments named in CASE v. Schwarzenegger while the matter is appealed:

The petition for writ of supersedeas is granted as follows: Pending consideration of the appeal on file herein, and subject to further order of this Court, the "Order Granting in Part Motion for Relief From Automatic Stay," filed March 23, 2010 in Alameda County Superior Court Number RG- 09-453982 is stayed.

The decision keeps furloughs in place for those employees throughout the appeals process, despite Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch's order last month that the governor end the policy for state workers in one of the so-called "special fund" departments named in lawsuits brought by CASE, SEIU Local 1000 and Union of American Physicians & Dentists.

Schwarzenegger asked the 1st District Court to keep furloughs in place during the appellate process. He won temporary stays in all three cases on Mar. 30. Today's decision, like the two that preceded it, is specifically about extending the stay on Roesch's order, not the legal underpinnings of his ruling that employees in special-fund departments have been illegally furloughed.

Click here to open the court's Web site. Scroll to the bottom to read today's ruling.

April 13, 2010
Appellate court issues second furlough decision

San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has again sided with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by deciding to keep furloughs in place for state workers in "special fund" departments named in SEIU Local 1000 v. Schwarzenegger while the case is appealed.

The governor is fighting a lower court ruling in this case and two others. Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch last month ordered workers restored to full hours and pay if they worked in one of the departments named in lawsuits brought by Local 1000, CASE and Union of American Physicians & Dentists.

Schwarzenegger then asked the 1st District Court to keep furloughs in place, winning temporary stays in all three cases on Mar. 30. This latest decision makes the temporary stay permanent while the court considers Schwarzenegger's appeal.

Here's the wording of the ruling, which you can find on the court's Web site:

The petition for writ of supersedeas is granted as follows: Pending resolution of the appeal herein, the "Order Granting in Part Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay," filed March 23, 2010, in Service Employees International Union Local 1000, and Yvonne Walker v. Schwarzenegger et al., Alameda County Superior Court Number RG-09-456750, is stayed. The stay will remain in effect until issuance of the remittitur or upon further order of this court.

The appellate court on Monday issued a similar decision in the UAPD case, as we reported here. The court hasn't yet issued a ruling on the governor's third stay request in the CASE matter.

April 12, 2010
Appellate court sides with Schwarzenegger

The 1st District Court of Appeal has granted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's petition for writ of supercedeas in Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Schwarzenegger. The decision means that furloughs continue during the appeal of Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch's decision to end furloughs for state workers in "special fund" departments named in the lawsuit.

Here's the language from the San Francisco-based court's Web site:

The petition for writ of supersedeas is granted as follows: Pending resolution of the appeal herein, the "Order Granting in Part Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay," filed March 23, 2010, in Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Schwarzenegger et al., Alameda County Superior Court Number RG-09-456684, is stayed. Unless otherwise ordered, the stay will dissolve upon issuance of the remittitur. *Before: Jones, P.J., Simons, J. and Needham, J.

It's highly likely that the court will make similar rulings in the mirror writs the governor requested while he appeals Roesch's decisions in similar trial court lawsuits won by CASE and SEIU Local 1000.

So how long will it take for the appellate to render a decision on Schwarzenegger's appeal? We have no idea. The courts move at their own pace. And there's still a possibility that the state Supreme Court could decide to intervene in these three furlough cases and four others. Click here for more about that.

April 6, 2010
Governor's Office posts economic interest statements

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, his senior office staff and deputies have posted their Form 700 statements of economic interest on the Web. Click here to see who filed. From there, you can link to individual forms.

April 2, 2010
Governor files documents in Sacramento furlough appeal cases

Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpgThe paper flew in Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal on Thursday as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger filed six documents in his interlocking furlough fight with PECG, CAPS, SEIU Local 1000 and CASE.

These cases are all appeals of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette's Jan. 29, 2009, ruling that Schwarzenegger had the emergency authority to furlough state workers.

Thursday's action in the 3rd District Court came two days after San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal temporarily blocked an Alameda judge's order that state workers in nearly 70 "special fund" departments return to full work schedules this week.

Click the links below to view each set of 3rd District Court filings, which mirror each other:

A supplemental letter brief and motion for judicial notice filed by the governor's side in PECG/CAPS v. Schwarzenegger.

The governor's letter brief and motion for judicial notice filed in SEIU v. Schwarzenegger.

And finally, Schwarzenegger's supplemental letter brief and motion for judicial notice in CASE v. Schwarzenegger.

March 31, 2010
From the notebook: Local 1000 addresses Tuesday furlough stay

Thumbnail image for notebook.jpgFrom the notebook posts give State Worker blog users insights, notes and quotes that went into news stories that we write.

Our story in today's Bee looks at the temporary stay issued on Tuesday by the 1st District Court of Appeal in response to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's writ of supercedeas.

We had asked SEIU Local 1000 for comment, but we filed our story before receiving this e-mailed response to our request from union spokesman Jim Zamora:

The state Court of Appeal has temporarily blocked an Alameda Superior Court judge's order sending non-General Fund state employees back to work. That means that Local 1000-represented employees should observe Friday, April 2 as a furlough day.

SEIU Local 1000 Attorney Felix De La Torre pointed out that the court's decision to re-impose the stay is not based on the merits of either side's arguments.

"The stay was granted strictly to preserve the status quo until the court can decide whether to lift the furloughs while the appeal is being decided," De La Torre said. "It says nothing about the merits of the appeal. It is a precautionary action to give the justices time to make a decision."

SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said the Tuesday's court action was just another step in a long battle.

"We will continue to aggressively fight these furloughs - which have already been found illegal by a trial court - until our workers are back at their jobs and receiving full pay."


March 30, 2010
Appeal court issues temporary stay in SEIU case

The 1st District Court of Appeal has issued a temporary stay in the SEIU case, the last of the three petition for writ of supercedeas cases that we've been following throughout the day. The language of the order isn't yet posted to the court's Web site, but we have the document image.

Click here to view it. The two-page PDF includes the court's earlier UAPD order.

March 30, 2010
11 a.m. update: Court issues stay; state workers to remain on furlough schedule

We've just received word from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office that the 1st District Court of Appeal has issued a temporary stay in one of the three furlough cases that the governor appealed on Monday.

Bottom line for state workers: This Friday will be another furlough day for anyone who had the last "Furlough Friday" off without pay.

The stay comes one day after the governor's petition for a writ of supercedeas in
California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment v. Schwarzenegger . The writ seeks to block Judge Frank Roesch's order to return state workers in "special fund" departments named in that lawsuit to a regular schedule while Schwarzenegger appeals the ruling.

Today's action temporarily puts Roesch's order on hold to give the court more time to hear detailed arguments on both sides about whether Roesch's order should be executed during the appeals process.

We expect the court will soon issue similar decisions in similar writs involving Roesch's decisions regarding lawsuits brought by Union of American Physicians & Dentists and SEIU Local 1000 that the governor has also appealed.

Here's the text of this morning's court's order, which includes a Friday deadline for the governor to file more documents supporting his argument and a April 7 deadline for CASE to respond:

Pending consideration of the petition for writ of supersedeas on file herein, and subject to further order of this Court, the "Order Granting in Part Motion for Relief From Automatic Stay," filed March 23, 2010 in Alameda County Superior Court Number RG- 09-453982 is temporarily stayed. On or before 12:00 noon, Friday, April 2, 2010, appellants shall serve and file exhibits in compliance with rule 8.112 of the California Rules of Court. On or before 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 7, 2010, respondents shall serve and file opposition, if any, to the petition for writ of supersedeas. The Clerk of the Court shall provide telephone notice of this order to all parties in addition to service by mail.

Click here to link to the court's Web site.

March 29, 2010
Constitutionals nix Schwarzenegger's furlough lawsuit proposal

Attorney General Jerry Brown last week filed a court brief arguing that the California Supreme Court should not take up Schwarzenegger v. Chiang, one of seven furlough cases that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes the high court will consolidate and consider.

(For a review of the furlough fight between the Republican governor and the six Democrats elected to office by statewide vote and the Board of Equalization, click here. A seventh official, Insurance Commissioner and GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner isn't part of Brown's filing to the high court.)

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Brown, who as attorney general is a constitutional officer, submitted a 23-page answer to Schwarzenegger's proposal that makes these arguments:

  • A transfer would actually slow the appeals process instead of expediting it.
  • The governor failed to meet the legal standard of seeking the high court's relief "promptly."
  • The danger of conflicting rulings by the lower courts can be resolved without leapfrogging to the state Supreme Court.
  • The constitutional officers' appeal involves unique legal questions that set it apart from the other six cases.

The constitutionals also oppose Schwarzenegger's alternative proposal that the Supreme Court consolidate the seven furlough cases in Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal.

Click here to read Brown's brief.

March 29, 2010
Schwarzenegger expected to appeal furlough order today

We're waiting to get official word that attorneys representing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have filed documents in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal to block a lower court order ending furloughs for state workers in specific "special fund" departments. We'll post his "writ of supercedeas" as soon as we receive a copy.

We're also following up on a few questions about the list of those "special fund" departments."

In a different court matter, we'll continue to post briefs filed by the unions and constitutional officers in response to Schwarzenegger's request that the state Supreme Court step in early in the furlough fights. We've already put up arguments filed by CASE (click here), CAPS and PECG (click here).

March 25, 2010
Schwarzenegger on furlough cases and legislation

Our story in today's Bee ("Judge ends furloughs for tens of thousands of California workers; Schwarzenegger to appeal") mentions part of what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said about furlough litigation during a brief Q&A with reporters at the end of a press event Wednesday morning on the Capitol steps.

He had a few other remarks that State Worker blog users will find interesting. Click here to download audio from the event. The governor's furlough remarks, which include his thoughts on Darrell Steinberg's furlough bill, SBX8 29, begin at the 13-minute mark.

March 16, 2010
Budget gimmick looks like an earlier chance to withhold pay

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 7-3 on Monday to approve AB 790, which would establish employee payroll as a continuous appropriation. The measure now goes to floor and could come up for a vote later this week.

We've written about the bill before, but the latest Senate analysis of the measure includes an angle on state worker pay that we've considered for weeks but until now couldn't answer:

Did last year's decision to move the June 2010 payroll costs into the 2010-11 budget year move up how soon Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger could order state worker wages withheld to the federal minimum if there's a budget delay?

Click the following link for more about how last year's budget legislation could impact state worker pay.

February 10, 2010
Schwarzenegger order aims to improve state's IT services

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed Executive Order S-03-10, which establishes a new chief information officer position for all state agencies and departments.

The governor issued the order the same day that Bee reporter Andrew McIntosh reported that EDD is spending tens of millions of dollars on IT projects but still is falling behind on assisting the unemployed.

The order also gives the state chief information officer ...

... authority as provided by law over all information technology (IT) infrastructure and shared services, including, but not limited to, the following: data and telecommunications networks; data center services, including all equipment necessary to operate mission-critical and public-facing applications (e.g., servers, storage, switches, security devices, and mainframes); hosting of mission-critical and public-facing applications; and shared enterprise services (e.g., e-mail and directory).

Click here to read the order and the administration's press release about it.

January 28, 2010
Pay appropriation bill dead; Schwarzenegger on withholding wages

A couple of items we thought State Worker blog users would want to know about:

AB 1125, the bill that would have made funding for state worker payroll a continuous appropriation, has died in committee. It's defeat leaves open the possibility that state workers' wages could be withheld to the federal minimum if lawmakers fail to pass a budget by the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

Click here to read more about the issue. We hear the plan could pop up again soon in another bill.

Click the following link to read what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said when asked about withholding state worker pay to the federal minimum.

December 22, 2009
Is the governor's OK for holiday time off hypocritical?

We've been meaning to note that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved 4 hours of informal time off for state workers, just as he and other governors have done for years during the holiday season. The Department of Personnel Administration issued this PML on Dec. 7. Some departments have just recently sent official word to their employees.

And here's an e-mail sent to The State Worker by SEIU activist Mike Bonner, who works at the Department of Community Services and Development. We publish it here, unedited, with his permission. Bonner is speaking for himself, not for his employer or for the union:

Well this year he didn't make us wait until the last minute. Despite all the protests from the Governor and his spokes-people over the last year, and contrary to his efforts to eliminate 2 state worker holidays (since we already have too much time off!!!), the Governor has once again granted the completely discretionary 4 hours of time off to use either for ½ day on Christmas Eve or ½ day on New Year's eve, and most department directors will grant an additional 4 hours of time off to make it a full day.

If the real reason the Governor wants to take our 2 holidays away from us is that we have too many paid holidays, why does he continually grant us the additional discretionary holiday hours year after year? It's all about control, Jon, when the Governor isn't in control (i.e. when there's an existing contract he didn't negotiate for example) then he's all about taking things away, when it's something in his power, then it's a different story and he doesn't have a problem "giving" us extra time. What a hypocrite! (Not that I don't appreciate the extra time, btw!)

Have a good one!

Mike Bonner, Steward
SEIU Local 1000, DLC 784

October 15, 2009
One 'Furlough Friday' saves almost as much as three; governor pushes back

The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education today released, "The High Cost of Furloughs," a study that concludes that one furlough day per month would yield almost as much savings to the state as the current three "Furlough Fridays."

Here's a chart that lays out the argument:

091015 furloughs.JPG

Click the link below to get the entire report and the response from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office.

September 17, 2009
Private brokers to advise DGS staff in state building sale-leaseback

DGS logo.jpgThe Department of General Services has its own highly capable staff of professional real estate leasing and space rental staff to assist public agencies here and statewide.

Yet even that in-house group needs help, it seems, when it comes to the Governor's plan to sell 17 buildings located on 11 government properties in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Rosa.

The plan is for the eventual buyers to lease the buildings back to the state long-term in a slew of deals designed to raise cash to help reduce the budget gap.

This week, DGS issued a call for proposals. It wants to hire a commercial real estate broker or advisory firm to help with that what will be the largest state property deals in decades.

"Though we have a lot of experienced people working for us, the sale leaseback is new territory for us. We need a broker on board with experience and expertise to help us get the most value for the state," said DGS spokesman Eric Lamoureux.

To see the request for proposals for the brokers, click here. The deadline is Oct. 30. Lamoureux said the state is hoping to have the broker on the job by January.

To see what buildings are on the block, click here for a google map and details.

September 11, 2009
Bill Watch: What happens if AB 88 passes?

AB 88, which details the terms for Service Employees International Union Local 1000's contract, has reached the Senate floor for a vote.

Let's say the Legislature ratifies the deal and that Schwarzenegger signs it. What then?

We ask the question because the bill includes a one-day-per-month furlough for covered employees retroactive to February through June 30, 2010. You can read the analysis by clicking here.

That means the contract allows for 17 furlough days, total. But today is the 18th furlough day for state workers since the policy kicked in last February.

In other words, it looks to us like if AB 88 goes through as written, covered workers wouldn't only be off furlough for the rest of the 2009-10 fiscal year -- they'd be owed a day's pay.

Democrats, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass have said they want the legislation to pass but the odds of that happening seem extremely long. If AB 88 clears the Senate, it will still need Assembly approval. Republicans in the lower chamber defeated an identical bill earlier this year.

And while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't said he will veto the bill, officials speaking on his behalf have consistently said that he won't support anything that curbs his three-day furlough order.

Side note: SB 519, the addendum to the California Association of Highway Patrolmen contract, is in the Senate.

August 24, 2009
Corrections to issue 1,300 new layoff notices in wake of budget cuts

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.
August 21, 2009
Local 1000 launches 'broken promises' campaign

SEIU Local 1000 is going after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with a radio campaign that says his legacy will be that he "broke his word" with the union.

The spot blasts the governor for Assembly Republicans' defeat of the contract negotiated by administration and the union earlier this year. The deal included a mix of protections and concessions, including a single furlough day per month for covered employees.

Listen to the spot by clicking here. And this link will download the script.

Worth mentioning: We've heard nothing from the local on what it plans to do, if anything, with the strike authorization that voting members gave union leadership nearly four weeks ago.

August 20, 2009
Column extra: The state layoff spreadsheet

Editor's Note: At the request of the governor's office, The State Worker has substituted a different version of the spreadsheet available via the link in this post. Modified Aug. 21, 2009.

Our Thursday State Worker column is limited by space, but visitors to this blog get extra info, Web links, notes and quotes that don't see print but still inform what we write.

Click here to download the Excel spreadshieet we reference in today's TSW fiber and cyber column.

The numbers, administration spokesman Aaron McLear told us, are "fluid" (the update is from July 7). Still, we think they give a sense of what the administration is thinking about present and future position cuts.

August 12, 2009
UC furloughs differ from Schwarzenegger's furloughs

The University of California set up a Q & A furlough Web page last week that details the policy for its employees. As you'll recall, the UC Board of Regents last month approved furloughs for the 10-campus system starting Sept. 1 and ending Aug. 31, 2010.

The UC furloughs differ from those imposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, starting with the size of the respective budget holes:  The governor's furlough policy aims to close a small part of what was a $26 billion budget gap before the most recent budget fix. The UC is facing an $813 million deficit in state support.

The university system has about 180,000 employees. Of those, roughly 144,000 will be furloughed. About 210,000 to 215,000 state workers are being furloughed under the Schwarzenegger plan after you toss out exempt workers (CHP officers, CPUC, Cal FIRE and the like), hold out constitutional officers' employees (they're not being furloughed while their bosses fight the order in the courts), and then pull in state workers furloughed now but who soon might not be (CalPERS, State Fund).

Schwarzenegger's furloughs are hitting employees across the board with a 14 percent reduction. The UC plan has seven tiers, with the highest-paid employees taking the biggest hit. Sort of:


Furlough Days*  


Equivalent Salary Reduction



0 - 40,000    

4 percent



40,001 - 46,000   

5 percent



46,001 - 60,000    

6 percent



60,001 - 90,000    

7 percent



90,001 - 180,000  

8 percent



180,001 - 240,000 

9 percent



Over $240,000    

10 percent

*Faculty furlough days will vary depending on academic or 12-month year. Note: Senior Management Group members will receive a maximum of 10 furlough days, regardless of pay scale.

And who is the Senior Management Group? You'll find the list by clicking here

The UC system explained the SMG exception in a July press release:

Reduced work days for members of UC's senior management group will be restricted to a maximum of 10 furlough days per year, even though their actual pay cuts will be among the highest. Additionally, senior managers who agreed to a voluntary five percent pay cut in May will have their salaries cut an additional five percent under the furlough program.


Click here to see the UC system's furlough Q&A.




August 7, 2009
Kimmel show spoofs state garage sale

GarageSaleTrans.gifTorey Van Oot over on our cousin blog, Capitol Alert, has posted an amusing "ad" from the Jimmy Kimmel show about the state garage sale. Click here for a few laughs.

Obviously, the state thinks the spoof builds momentum for the sale. The Department of General Services has posted a link on its garage sale Web page.


August 5, 2009
Furloughs, job cuts in Schwarzenegger's office

State workers often ask us two questions: Are staff in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office being furloughed? Has the governor cut staffing?

Those subjects came up this week during interviews and correspondence with the administration as part of a story we're aiming for this weekend.

Here are August staffing numbers for the Governor's Office provided by Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear:

  • August 2007: 178
  • August 2008: 155
  • August 2009: 135

Staff pay also has been cut in keeping with Schwarzenegger's furlough orders, McLear said.

July 30, 2009
Unemployment board gets another nudge to clear backlog

If Wednesday's letter from the governor wasn't enough, the director of the Department of Personnel Administration sent a note Thursday to remind the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board to clear a backlog of more than 80,000 cases.

Read the DPA letter by clicking here.

It details how a self-directed furlough plan should be used.

For some background, read the blog entry or story in the paper. Basically, more than 200 administrative law judges hear and give opinions on about 25 cases a week. As pressure mounts to clear the backlog, judges worry about the compromise between being more efficient and not giving a case the full attention it deserves.

July 29, 2009
Schwarzenegger to unemployment board: Be more efficient

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the Unemployment Insurance Board is dealing with a backlog of more than 82,500 cases of Californians who have appeals pending on their eligibility for checks.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office sent us a letter he sent to the board late last night, urging them to be more efficient:

The Board's current backlog and resulting delay in resolving claims make it abundantly clear that these practices have not functioned in a manner that promotes the public's interests.  Allowing administrative law judges to work from their homes unreasonably restricts the type of work they are able to perform and renders them unavailable to respond to unemployed workers trying to resolve their claims.  Similarly, the artificial limitation on the number of cases which the administrative law judges may be assigned during a week deprives the Board of its ability to hear and resolve appeals or explore alternative scheduling processes that may yield greater efficiencies. 

He's asking them to eliminate the cap on their number of cases per work week and to stop working from home.

Read the press release and the letter by clicking here.

July 27, 2009
No fourth furlough day to make up budget shortfall

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won't use add a furlough day to partly make up for $1.1 billion in revenues rejected last week by the Assembly. Click here for Bee Capitol Bureau colleague Kevin Yamamura's report.

July 23, 2009
State worker writes poem about work stress, Schwarzenegger

A state worker, whose name we'll not reveal at his request, has sent us a PDF of a poem that he says he wrote to represent "the way most of us feel." Here are a few lines from "State Reject," and a link to the entire poem:

This lump in my throat
makes me choke

Violent eruption eminent
from this dull ache in my head
days on end I lay in the bed ...

...He hangs out with stars
smokes his cigars
threatens everyday to take it away

Wish he could walk a mile in my shoes
have to sleep with my din
and the pain of his sin!

Click here to read the entire poem.