States spent nearly $31 billion to provide health coverage to 2.7 million employee households in 2013, a small increase from the previous two years, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis released Tuesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation.

Reader responses are rolling in to this week’s The State Worker column, which looks at how a legal technicality kept long-time state psychiatric technician assistant Melissa Paul from renewing her license. The feedback we’re hearing is summarized in this poll. Vote and see what other readers think.

Nearly two years ago, Melissa Paul suffered unimaginable loss when her 13-year-old daughter committed suicide in their Porterville home.

An exterior scaffolding switch planned for the Board of Equalization’s downtown Sacramento headquarters is on hold until at least the middle of this month.

Pay for California’s psychiatric technicians in 2013 fell slightly even as their numbers grew, indicating a turnover in the ranks created by senior employees at the higher end of the pay scale departed state service while new psych techs earning less entered the state workforce.

A judge Monday issued a tentative ruling that removes a ballot measure to phase out Ventura County’s pension system, dimming prospects for similar efforts elsewhere.

In case you missed it Sunday, The Bee’s Jack Ohman suggests a few “solutions” for the troubled Board of Equalization tower - and tosses some barbs at Caltrans’ Bay Bridge project, too. Click here for a larger image of Jack’s cartoon.

Layoff notices are going out to psychiatric technicians at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo as the state continues to shuffle medical staffing and shift patients into treatment centers such as the year-old facility in Stockton.

Our report in today’s fiber/cyber Bee looks at union allegations that psychiatric technicians at California Health Care Facility in Stockton were ordered to falsify “suicide precaution” forms that record court-ordered checks on inmate welfare. California Association of Psychiatric Technicians says the mental unit is understaffed, so psychiatric technicians are too busy performing other tasks, which fostered an environment that encouraged reporting of patient checks that weren’t done.

The union representing California state psychiatric technicians says that two of its members were forced to fake inmate suicide-monitoring records and were then disciplined when video recordings revealed the false documentation.

A CalPERS board member seeking reelection has lost a fight over whether her challenger made a misleading statement tying board actions to soaring pension contribution rates.

Sacramento’s economy gets a boost on Friday when state paychecks roll out with the first across-the-board raises many employees have received in years.

Despite heavy lobbying from departments and interest groups, California’s personnel panel has stood its ground: If you’re applying for a state job, you have to meet the minimum qualifications – even if you’re a state worker.

The majority of state and local government agencies don’t have the plans, tools or system support needed to exploit mobile technology, according to a new study released Monday by a public-private organization that promotes government teleworking.

Work crews this weekend will replace leased scaffolding outside the defective Board of Equalization headquarters with scaffolding purchased by the state, prompting board Chairman Jerome Horton to blast the Brown administration for failing to find a new facility for the agency.

With work crews pulling a scaffolding switcheroo at the Board of Equalization’s headquarters this weekend, and given the attention the building has drawn from The Bee since Sunday, it seems like an apt time to ask faithful blog readers, when will the agency get out of California’s state money pit?

Our Sunday story about the Board of Equalization headquarter’s sorry, soggy history inspired this visual commentary by Bee cartoonist Jack Ohman. The Bee’s editorial board also weighed in with its opinion, “State’s tower of horror in downtown Sacramento is nice for bats, not humans.” Read it here.

This column starts where last week’s left off, with a simple question, the government’s nonresponsive response and what it all says about public transparency.

Crews will start work Friday at the vexed Board of Equalization headquarters, but it won’t be to fix the crumbling waste-water plumbing or to replace faulty exterior glass panels that were among the long list of tower defects chronicled by The Sacramento Bee on Sunday.

Scott Carney, who sometimes endured withering criticism from lawmakers for his department’s perceived inefficiencies, is leaving his administrative post at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to become a deputy city manager for Stockton. He begins his new job on Sept. 2.

Four years after a Sacramento jury found a Board of Chiropractic Examiners supervisor liable in retaliating against an employee and more than a decade after the case first went to court, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday he has signed legislation authorizing payment of a $2.7 million judgment in the matter.

A state system that uses inmate labor to provide goods and services will see its revenues jump 15.6 percent in fiscal 2014-15, according to a plan recently approved by the board of the California Prison Industry Authority.

The State Worker column this week delves into alleged shenanigans at the Department of Fair Employment and Housing detailed in a new investigative report by the State Personnel Board.

The State Personnel Board’s more aggressive pursuit of hiring shenanigans and promotion miscues in state government may be bearing fruit.

An Emmy Award-winning documentary airing in Sacramento this weekend features California state employees and their work on alternative energy.

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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.


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