The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 27, 2013
Read the CCPOA tentative contract and summary

PRISON-officer-0275.JPGThe Department of Human Resources has released a summary of its tentative contract with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the agreement in full.

You can read our weekend report on the dealhere. We've embedded the documents below.

The state's accounting of the two-year agreement doesn't include the contract's estimated costs. which includes significant changes to the way overtime is calculated and shortens correctional officers' academy training.

Look for the Legislative Analyst's Office to do that within the next week or so. The LAO has 10 days from when it receives official documentation of the agreement to turn around a cost estimate for the Legislature.

June 27, 2013
What California state workers earn: Prison and parole officers

DS_PRISON_OFFICER.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Perhaps no union worked harder to curry Gov. Jerry Brown's favor in 2010 than the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

The union put in $1.8 million into an independent campaign to return Brown to office, invited him to CCPOA's annual convention in Las Vegas (the Democratic governor accepted) and didn't declare war on Brown's plan to shrink the state prison system and shift parole duties to local governments.

CCPOA reached agreement on a contract with Brown in 2010 after years of working under terms imposed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That pact, like most of the others covering state employees, expires at the beginning of July.

A look at what CCPOA members earned in calendar 2011 and 2012:

April 19, 2013
Court order signals final chapter in $5 million CCPOA case

JV_LAWRENCE_KARLTON.JPGAfter fighting and twice losing in court, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is poised to pay off a $5 million federal defamation judgment.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton has ordered that $3 million the union had paid into a court-controlled escrow account be released to Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP, the law firm representing Brian Dawe. Once the court clerk releases the money, CCPOA has three days to pay the balance.

A federal jury said in 2010 that that CCPOA officials defamed Dawe and ruined his livelihood. It awarded him $12 million in damages, but Karlton found the sum excessive and reduced it to $4.96 million.

CCPOA appealed, but the union didn't have the money on hand to secure the award while that process played out. So Karlton required the union to make regular payments into the escrow account and put up union-owned property as collateral. With court costs, the union will pay a bit more than $5 million.

Union spokesman JeVaughn Baker said today that CCPOA is waiting for the clerk to release the escrow funds.

"We don't have a specific release date," Baker said in an email, "but once that happens, we will pay the entire balance of the award."

PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton. José Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee file, 1999


March 1, 2013
CCPOA says it will pay multimillion-dollar defamation award

MONEY_FACTORY.jpgAfter years of court fighting and a failed appeal, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is negotiating details to pay nearly $5 million to a former business associate defamed, a federal jury said, by union officials.

"The association is going to pay the award," union spokesman JeVaughn Baker said in a telephone interview this afternoon.

A federal jury said in 2010 that that CCPOA officials had ruined Brian Dawe's name and his livelihood over a business dispute and awarded him a total $12 million in damages. Presiding Judge Lawrence Karlton found the sum excessive and reduced it to $4.96 million.

February 4, 2013
Correctional officers lose bid to flip $5 million defamation case

100609 gavel.jpgA federal appellate court has ruled that a $5 million judgement against California's prison officers' union will stand, brushing aside the group's arguments that the sum is excessive and that a federal jury's verdict in the case was wrong.

"We're disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful, but we'll comply with the court and move forward," California Correctional Peace Officers Association spokesman JeVaughn Baker said this morning.

Does that mean the union will continue the court fight?

"We'll confer with our attorneys to determine the viability of our remaining options," Baker said.

Still, the decision issued Friday could have been worse for CCPOA. Plaintiff Brian Dawe had contended that he should receive more than twice as much money, but the appellate court disagreed.

November 29, 2012
CCPOA's spending focus: Beat Prop. 32, support Prop. 30

Political spending by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association reflects how public employee unions faced a divided political battle on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The 30,000-member prison and parole officer union's Truth in American Government Fund split $700,000 of the $1 million it spent between two efforts: $350,000 went to Gov. Jerry Brown's Yes on Proposition 30 campaign and another $350,000 to Joe Slade White & Co.

The union independently tapped the New York-based communications firm to to work up an ad campaign against Proposition 32, the money-in-politics measure that voters rejected on Nov. 6.

Another CCPOA PAC gave $110,000 to the California Democratic Party and $15,400 to the Calfornia Republican Party.

As we noted in an earlier report, the union didn't spend anything to defeat two ballot measures that sought to curtail California's "three-strikes" law (it passed) and repeal the death penalty (it lost).

As you look through the tables below, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open worksheets with more detailed information.

Remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations given to political campaigns and causes. Late contributions are money that came in after the regular filing deadline.

Political spending via larger umbrella organizations, such as SEIU California, is not reflected in the data.

November 12, 2012
CCPOA attorney: Multi-million dollar award would cripple union

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgA multi-million judgement against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is excessive, a union attorney said last week as he argued for a federal appeals court to overturn the award.

"The extent of the punitive judgments is staggering ... it seriously is crippling (for CCPOA)," Michael Berger told 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Jay S. Bybee and District Judge Roger T. Benitez. on Thursday.

Listen to the attorneys' arguments before the 9th Circuit Court (requires Windows Media Player).

Berger made his arguments for CCPOA in Dawe, et al. v. Corrections USA, et al. a federal defamation case brought by businessman Brian Dawe and another man, Gary Harkins against the union and an affiliated organization. A federal jury awarded them $12 million after finding union officials had defamed them. Judge Lawrence Karlton, who heard the case in Sacramento, lowered the award to $5 million, then ordered CCPOA to post property and cash as collateral during its appeal.

The union has made five quarterly deposits into a court-controlled account, $2,500,000 total so far.

Attorney Dan Baxter, who represents Dawe and Hawkins and also argued before the court on Thursday, asked the appellate court overturn Karlton's decision to reduce the award.

October 22, 2012
From the notebook poll: CCPOA and other state employee unions

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.

Our story in today's fiber/cyber Sacramento Bee about the shifting strategy of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association came from our observation that as of last week the union hadn't but any money into efforts to defeat Proposition 34, which would repeal California's death penalty, and Proposition 36, which softens the state's three-strikes law.

Subsequent conversations with several sources bolstered our sense that the union has shifted political gears away from influencing public opinion about big issues and expanding spending on prisons. Instead, it's focused on closer-to-ground concerns such as mitigating job losses and preserving members' benefits.

More broadly, when you think about CCPOA and other state public employee unions, how are they faring in these changing fiscal and political times?

May 31, 2012
Final briefs filed in CCPOA lawsuit appeal; court hearing next

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe final briefs have been filed in the Dawe v. Corrections USA case, signaling that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association appeal of a multimillion-dollar court decision against it is moving toward a hearing.

In 2010, CCPOA lost a federal defamation case brought by businessman Brian Dawe. Judge Lawrence Karlton, who heard the case in Sacramento and lowered a jury's $12 million award to $5 million, then ordered CCPOA to post property and cash as collateral during the appeal.

Attorney Dan Baxter, who represents Dawe, has cross-appealed Karlton's decision to reduce the award.

We expect that in the next few weeks the court will set a date for oral arguments to commence, probably in the last quarter of this year.

CCPOA is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the decision because the trial court, the union says, shouldn't have allowed consideration of "assertedly libelous statements that form the core of Plaintiffs' case and the basis for their multi-million dollar judgment."

The union also argues says that Karlton erred by changing a ruling that Dawe was a public figure. Public figures have to prove that a defamatory statement about them is made with "actual malice." In other words, to win a defamation lawsuit, public figures have to prove that whoever made the statement knew it was false or made it with reckless disregard for whether it was true.

And, CCPOA says, that even the reduced award is excessive, since it is more than the union's net worth.

The plaintiffs counter that Dawe was indeed libeled and that the union's net worth isn't a standard for setting awards. Besides, Dawe's filing says, CCPOA's net worth is more than it has claimed, since the association takes in nearly $30 million per year in dues from members and has a history of spending money on entertainment, property and executive travel, among other things.

We've embedded the final briefs filed by both sides, and you can read them by clicking the link below. Or you can download the files by clicking here for CCPOA's brief and here for Dawe's brief.

Note: The filings contain profane language.

February 22, 2012
Court sides with CCPOA, rejects Don Novey bankruptcy plan

Thumbnail image for 110623 Novey file photo 2002.JPGA Sacramento bankruptcy court last week rejected Don Novey's second amended bankruptcy plan, saying that the proposal lacks sufficient documentation to allow less-than-full payment to his debtors.

The former president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association last summer offered a bankruptcy plan to pay back a portion of the $600,000 Novey owed against $355,000 in assets. The plan would have let Novey skip most of the $20,000 he owes to CCPOA, money intended to settle a messy dispute over allegations he breached his consulting contract with the union.

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

For an example, you can read Spitzer's Sept. 21 cross examination of Novey in the "Exhibits in Support of Motion to Confirm Debtor's Second Amended Plan" that we've embedded below and linked here. Scroll down to PDF page 70.

(You'll find an interesting bit of the testimony that addresses Novey's split from the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. When Spitzer asked why Novey received severance pay from the union's foundation in June of 2011, Novey said, "Their president thought it would be best that we part ways.")

The State Worker reached Novey by cellphone this morning and asked if he had a comment about the case.

"I didn't open the floodgates," Novey said. When asked if he thought CCPOA had a vendetta against him or was focused on forcing him to give up a Scottsdale, Ariz,, condo to settle his debts, Novey answered, "I don't know" to both questions.

Novey tried and failed to get his declaration sealed. Had the court agreed, much of the information in his bankruptcy would have been out of public view.

Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Holman last week said that Novey failed to appropriately estimate his future earnings, since he may receive money "contingent on the approval of various state agencies" from unspecified sources that would boost his income more than the $16,000 per month estimated in the bankruptcy plan. And even if the court accepted that figure, Holman wrote, Novey's expenses aren't enough to warrant stiffing unsecured creditors.

Holman also rejected Novey's claim of higher-than-normal utility bills and ruled that a Scottsdale condo that Novey and his wife, Carol, own is a luxury property and not an income-producing rental that should be shielded from creditors.

The judge's decision means that Novey will have to submit another bankruptcy plan to the court.

February 9, 2012
Column Extra: See the court documents filed by CCPOA, CSLEA, to drop furlough lawsuits

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.

Today's State Worker column breaks down which unions are in and which are out of the court fight over furloughs. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association are the latest to lay down arms.

CCPOA spokesman JeVaughn Baker said that the weight of several court decisions favoring the state pushed the union to stop its litigation: "We decided it's in the best interest of the association to focus on other issues."

SEIU Local 1000 and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment also recently dropped their furlough litigation.

Meanwhile, the state's engineers and scientists are Alameda Superior Court No. RG10630312
Original petition: CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger (requires Java)

CSLEA's request for dismissal, Alameda Superior Court No. RG10507081
Original petition: CSLEA v. Schwarzenegger

CCPOA's request for dismissal: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Original Complaint: Newton v. Schwarzenegger

January 31, 2012
Poll: What do you think of the CCPOA union paid leave deal?

As we reported last week, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association has reached a deal with the state to settle its union paid leave bill for $3.5 million by making payments over the next nine years sans interest.

The figure represents $1 million less than the state said the union owes on the tab that runs back to 2005, but it's $500,000 more than CCPOA said it owes the state.

Click here to read the language of the settlement, which we wrote about in last week's State Worker column.

So what do you think about the agreement?

January 26, 2012
Column Extra: CCPOA's statement about its paid leave debt agreement

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.

Before we filed today's column, we asked JeVaughn Baker, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, to comment on the union's paid leave agreement with the state. We asked if the agreement was fair to members and whether the deal was prompted by CCPOA's pending Dawe litigation.

We received Baker's emailed reply shortly after we filed the column on Wednesday, but we still want to give voice to the union's perspective.

Here's Baker's email:

Hi Jon,

We reached what we believe is an equitable settlement that avoids the cost of further litigation and is fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of the state. ... As for your second question, the settlement is a stand alone case and there is no correlation between it and the Dawe matter. Chuck Alexander and our legal staff have been working on UPL for some time now and we are pleased that the agreement has been made and both parties can move forward. Thanks Jon.


January 17, 2012
CCPOA deposits reach $1 million in Dawe defamation case

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe California Correctional Peace Officers Association last month made a second court-ordered $500,000 security deposit while it appeals its loss in the Dawe v. Corrections USA case.

A the embedded document below shows, CCPOA made the payment on Dec. 20.

Federal Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered the payments last September as part of a cash-and-property collateral securing the $5 million awarded to businessman Brian Dawe after a jury found that CCPOA defamed him. Two other men also received smaller awards in the case.

While the union presses its appeal, it must make quarterly half-million-dollar payments into a court-controlled account until the amassed money equals 125 percent of the judgement.

A federal jury originally awarded a total of $12 million to Dawe, but Karlton lowered that to $5 million. While the union is trying to get the decision overturned, Dawe is appealing to get the original award restored. Here's an earlier post with more background and court documents.

Thanks to Blog User T for asking whether the second payment had been made.

CCPOA's Notice of Second Deposit


January 4, 2012
CCPOA settles former employee's discrimination lawsuit

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe California Correctional Peace Officers Association has settled a discrimination and unfair treatment lawsuit brought by a former longtime employee whose husband had been a 2008 candidate for the union's presidency.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

CCPOA spokesman JeVaughn Baker said that the union "rejects all of the allegations," but made a "pragmatic business decision" to settle.

"At some point you have to count the beans," Baker said this morning. "This is a low-level employment issue, an internal issue."

A call to former employee Sharon Rafferty's attorney, James E. McGlamery, wasn't immediately returned.

October 3, 2011
Guards' union makes first $500,000 deposit while appealing lawsuit

Last month, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association made its first court-ordered $500,000 deposit while it appeals a multimillion-dollar defamation case that it lost last year.

The payment is part of the cash-and-property collateral ordered last month by federal Judge Lawrence Karlton while the union appeals Dawe v. CUSA. While the union presses its case, it must make quarterly half-million-dollar payments into a court-controlled account. The money and four union-owned properties, including CCPOA's West Sacramento headquarters, are collateral securing the $5 million it currently owes businessman Brian Dawe and two other men after a federal jury decided the union had defamed them.

September 2, 2011
CCPOA ordered to post property, deposit cash during appeal

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgA Sacramento federal judge has ruled that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association can put up four properties it owns, including its West Sacramento headquarters, as collateral for several million dollars it owes from a defamation lawsuit loss while it appeals the decision.

But Judge Lawrence Karlton said in his order Thursday that the union also must pay $500,000 every three months into a court-controlled account while the appeal plays out.

The decision is the latest twist in Dawe v. Corrections USA, in which a federal jury decided the union had defamed businessman Brian Dawe and two other individuals. The jury awarded a total $12 million to the plaintiffs, but Karlton reduced that to $5 million. Dawe is appealing the reduction. (Click here for more about the case.)

August 29, 2011
Judge weighing $500,000 quarterly CCPOA payment plan

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe California Correctional Peace Officers Association may have to start making $500,000 payments every three months and put up its West Sacramento headquarters and other property as it appeals its loss in a federal defamation case.

After hearing arguments this morning, Judge Lawrence Karlton is still deciding what to do about CCPOA's inability to buy a bond to cover a judgment rendered last October in his Sacramento courtroom -- eventually reduced from a total $12 million to $5 million by the court -- while the union appeals to San Francisco's 9th Circuit Court.

Plaintiff Brian Dawe is appealing to the same court to restore the full award.

CCPOA said last month that it didn't have enough liquid assets to buy a bond to cover an amount equal to 125 percent of the $5 million award Dawe is due pending appeal and asked to use its properties as collateral instead. Dawe attorney Daniel Baxter objected for several reasons, including the expense of taking over the properties.

August 25, 2011
Court filings reveal more CCPOA financial details

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith the next round of debate looming in the a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit it lost, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association's latest federal court filings offer up more information about the union's finances.

The documents filed Monday in federal court in Sacramento indicate that the union is scaling back spending as it braces for the possibility it might lose its appeal of the nearly $5 million judgment leveled against it in Dawe v. Corrections USA, CCPOA, et al.

August 19, 2011
Justices hear CCPOA 'self-directed' furlough case

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe arguments are in. Now a panel of appellate justices must decide whether the state illegally furloughed some 32,000 correctional officers by cutting their pay by up to 15 percent per month but deferring the commensurate time off.

In documents filed in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal and during courtroom debate on Thursday, lawyers for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association said the so-called "self-directed" furloughs were an illegal pay cut.

Attorneys for the Department of Personnel Administration, which handles furlough litigation for the state, argued that a 2010 furlough ruling by the California Supreme Court invalidated CCPOA's claim.

Click here for more about the legal history of the case. The appellate court has 60 days to issue a decision.

August 18, 2011
Mike Jimenez wins re-election to CCPOA presidency

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

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

August 10, 2011
Marques Jones explains why he wants to lead CCPOA

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

Incumbent Mike Jimenez has declined to participate.

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

August 9, 2011
John Lanthripp explains why he wants to lead CCPOA

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

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

August 8, 2011
C.J. Mohammed explains why he wants to lead CCPOA

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

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

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

August 4, 2011
CCPOA paid leave lawsuit appeal brief due next month

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

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

August 3, 2011
CCPOA delegates heading to Las Vegas on state's dime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 1, 2011
CCPOA defamation lawsuit hearing postponed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

110731 Dawe Notice


July 26, 2011
Oral argument scheduled in CCPOA furlough case

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

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

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

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

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

July 20, 2011
The latest on CCPOA's furlough case in S.F. appellate court

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

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

July 19, 2011
Ex-CCPOA head Don Novey submits revised bankruptcy plan

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

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

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

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

July 18, 2011
Judge issues tentative ruling in Don Novey bankruptcy

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

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

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

July 8, 2011
CCPOA appeals judgment, asks to use property as collateral

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 1, 2011
Video spoof warns of raising law enforcement's retirement age

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

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

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

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

June 30, 2011
Read the CDCR memo on professional development days

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

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

June 30, 2011
Column Extra: Union says Don Novey playing bankruptcy games

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

Our column in today's Bee notes that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is both a debtor and a creditor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 29, 2011
What's next for Don Novey's bankruptcy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 27, 2011
Blog Back: Journalism or just jumping on a good man?

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

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

June 22, 2011
Former CCPOA president Don Novey files bankruptcy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download the 50-page bankruptcy filing.

June 1, 2011
From the notebook: Mike Jimenez talks contract, cussing and continuing as CCPOA's president

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

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

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

Some highlights from the interview:

May 20, 2011
Mike Jimenez to run for re-election to CCPOA's top job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 21, 2011
Column Extra: CCPOA fitness incentive pay through the years

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

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

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

Click the images to enlarge them:

April 19, 2011
Corrections secretary responds to Bee editorial

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

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

Click here to read it.

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

PHOTO: CDCR Secretary Matt Cate /

March 29, 2011
Read CCPOA's tentative labor agreement

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

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

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

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

March 24, 2011
Read the court order reducing punitive damages in CCPOA case

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

Here's Karlton's order:
Judge's ruling on damages awarded in Dawe v. CUSA, CCPOA

March 23, 2011
$12 million award against CCPOA reduced; plaintiffs may appeal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 22, 2011
CCPOA board sends tentative contract to members for vote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 15, 2011
Correctional officers' union reaches contract agreement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 10, 2011
More about $395 million budget 'augmentation' for Corrections

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

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

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:

December 29, 2010
Court denies CCPOA bid to take paid leave dispute to arbitration

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

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

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

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

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

December 21, 2010
The latest on CCPOA's $4.4 million union paid leave dispute

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

December 7, 2010
Correctional officers re-elect Alexander to CCPOA's No. 2 post

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 6, 2010
Jerry Brown to address correctional officers' convention

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

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

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

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

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

December 6, 2010
Jimenez recall fizzles at CCPOA convention

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 30, 2010
Schwarzenegger aide's gag gift didn't have ominous message

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

Now the truth can be told.

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

"It was a gift," Jimenez said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 12, 2010
CCPOA protesters to break camp today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 10, 2010
Correctional officers stage protest at CCPOA headquarters

Thumbnail image for 101110 CCPOA protesters and SUV.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 3, 2010
Read correctional union official's testimony about spending, revenue

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

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

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

Before you start reading, here's the cast:

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

101101 Jeff Nicolaysen Testimony

October 29, 2010
Breaking news: CCPOA loses overtime lawsuit appeal

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

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

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

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

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


October 29, 2010
So where are CCPOA's financial records?

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

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

October 28, 2010
View the $10 million punitive damages verdict against CCPOA

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

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

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

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

October 27, 2010
CCPOA independent spending targets Meg Whitman

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

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

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

October 22, 2010
CCPOA must pay $10 million in punitive damages

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

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

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

August 6, 2010
DPA: Accrued furlough hours no longer have expiration date

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

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

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

June 25, 2010
Corrections suspends prison visits for this weekend

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

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

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

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

April 30, 2010
Officer stabbed at Centinela State Prison

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

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

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

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

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

April 30, 2010
Court Files: Prison officers' union sues state over records request

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

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

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

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

We contacted CDCR and asked a few questions:

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

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


April 15, 2010
Column extra: More about the CCPOA paid leave dispute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2, 2010
Governor files opening brief in CCPOA furlough appeal

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

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

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

Schwarzenegger filed this opening brief on Monday.

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

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

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


March 1, 2010
Appellate court rules against CCPOA

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

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

Click here to read the court's Friday decision.

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

February 17, 2010
View CCPOA's November union paid leave totals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


February 12, 2010
Read Schwarzengger's latest CCPOA furlough appeal brief

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

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

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

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

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

February 11, 2010
Column extra: View the CCPOA Union Paid Leave documents

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

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

Check out these links for more details about the dispute:

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

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

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

February 5, 2010
Anthony Kennedy hits union, 'three strikes'; Harman fires back

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

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

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

The closing graph of the release:

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

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

January 27, 2010
CCPOA sues former employee over alleged document theft

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

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

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

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

January 26, 2010
Prison doctor fights dismissal

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

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

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

From the court file:

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

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

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

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

January 19, 2010
CCPOA calls administration's Corrections furlough 'hypocrisy'

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 14, 2010
Read Schwarzenegger's court filing in the CCPOA pay case

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

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

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

January 13, 2010
View court document, e-mails behind CCPOA furlough flap

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

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

January 12, 2010
Chiang vows to restore full pay for correctional officers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 24, 2009
CCPOA, Novey and CO furloughs

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

So we'll tackle those two topics here.

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

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

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

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

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

December 19, 2009
Read the Don Novey e-mails to Mike Jimenez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 14, 2009
NPR looks at state prisons; Hollingsworth puts out prison numbers

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2009
CCPOA reportedly moving toward strike vote

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

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

The popular Paco Villa Corrections blog says this:

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

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

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

To Our Members,

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

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

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

United We Stand.

Pat Campbell, CMC CCPOA President

May 21, 2009
CCPOA offers up savings in CDCR budget -- without layoffs

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

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

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

To read the CCPOA plan, click the link below.

May 19, 2009
CCPOA president talks about state layoffs

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

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

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

Read our Q&A with Alexander after the jump.

January 15, 2009
Corrections officer union joins furlough legal battle
The powerful union representing 30,000 correctional peace officers statewide has joined the  battle to torpedo Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough and 10 percent pay cut plan.

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

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

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

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

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

Read the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association legal complaint here.
December 22, 2008
Perata transfers another $400K in campaign money to his legal defense fund

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

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

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

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

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

December 18, 2008
Column extra: Recently retired CO on Perata, CCPOA and fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Freeman

October 30, 2008
Prop 5 ad goes after correctional officers

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

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

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

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

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

October 15, 2008
Correction officer killed at home

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

October 13, 2008
One correctional officer's take on the CCPOA pay story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care
Ian Pickett

October 10, 2008
Covering CCPOA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 9, 2008
Arnold "The Enemy" Schwarzenegger

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

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

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

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

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

October 8, 2008
California's correctional officer pay best in the nation, state

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 18, 2008
CCPOA, Schwarzenegger and recall politics

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

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

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

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

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

September 18, 2008
CCPOA kicks media out of union debate

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

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

September 12, 2008
Could you pass the written test to work in a California prison?


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

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

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

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

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


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