With new repairs starting over the weekend at the troubled Board of Equalization building, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a measure aimed at eventually moving state employees out of the downtown Sacramento high rise.

The Bee has launched a new tool that allows users to track political money in state races, including three Sacramento-area districts where Democrats are battling in closely-contested races: Assembly District 7 (Steve Cohn vs. Kevin McCarty), Assembly District 9 (Jim Cooper vs. Darrell Fong) and Senate District 6 (Roger Dickinson vs. Richard Pan). State workers and retirees form a major voting bloc in all three districts.

Come January, either Kevin McCarty or Steve Cohn will represent California’s 7th Assembly District, which includes the state’s defective Board of Equalization headquarters in downtown Sacramento.

This week’s State Worker column looks at Theresa Taylor’s campaign for CalPERS’ Board of Administration and what it means for her union, SEIU Local 1000. Here’s the local’s August independent expenditure committee report, detailing how it has spent funds to get Taylor elected.

CalPERS board candidate Theresa Taylor has 20 years of financial experience at the Franchise Tax Board and a personal commitment to preserving pension benefits, she says, fortified by watching her husband lose most of his retirement savings.

After months of rancorous talks over pay and a threat to strike, California’s state building operators have ratified a contract with Gov. Jerry Brown.

Our most recent State Worker column focused on CalPERS board candidate David Miller’s campaign to represent state workers. Here are some clips of Miller, recorded during a lunch break interview at The Bee’s Capitol Bureau on Sept. 9, 2014.

A San Francisco appellate court has upheld a trial judge’s decision that Gov. Jerry Brown wrongly furloughed thousands of state-government scientists and engineers three years ago.

Health insurance open enrollment for CalPERS members begins today and ends on Oct. 10. During that period, members can sign up for insurance, add eligible family members and make changes to their existing plans for the 2015 calendar year.

The director of California’s Department of Health Care Services will leave his post by year’s end, according to a letter to employees issued by Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley.

After rejecting Gov. Jerry Brown’s first contract offer, California’s state scientists have overwhelmingly approved a second deal with the administration, their union has announced.

Outmanned and outspent so far, an honest assessment of state scientist David Miller’s campaign for a CalPERS administrative board seat would say he’s a long shot.

Our story in today’s Bee highlights State Controller John Chiang’s thumbs-down audit of CalPERS’ efforts to discover and to deter pension spiking. CalPERS strongly disagrees with the assessment.

California’s largest public retirement system lacks a routine method for detecting pension spiking, according to a new report released by state Controller John Chiang, and the pace at which it does check employers’ payroll is glacially slow.

A new website went live Monday that culls more than decade of California city and county financial information into a searchable database compiled by the State Controller’s Office.

Amid CalPERS board candidate David Miller’s suggestions that “dirty tricks” are behind the theft of his campaign’s signs, his opponent, Theresa Taylor, said that the signs’ disappearance “is a non-story” and that her campaign’s signs have also been removed from parts of downtown Sacramento.

With ballots hitting mailboxes this week, a candidate for one of two seats on CalPERS Board of Administration says that approximately 200 of his campaign signs in Sacramento have been stolen.

Here’s state employment for you: After working less than a month for the California Department of Aging, executive Monica Rea left her job – and then Aging was required to pay tens of thousands of dollars to cash out her backed-up leave time.

Members of California’s state legal corps has approved a labor contract with Gov. Jerry Brown, their union has told members in an email.

Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Californians have been forced to wait for their unemployment checks because the state wrongly denied claims only to have the decisions reversed on appeal.

Editors note, 3:18 p.m.: This story has been changed to include a quote from Mike Lopez, president of California Department of Forestry Firefighters Local 2881.

Editor’s note, 3:40 p.m.: This post has been updated with a quote from Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome Horton.

After going more than a year without contracts, unions representing state attorneys, scientists and building equipment operators will soon announce how their members voted on new offers from Gov. Jerry Brown. A few observations about the deals:

Our story in today’s Sacramento Bee highlights a new state audit about errors in state leave accounting that credited some employees with more paid time off than they’ve actually earned. This link opens a summary of the report or those who want to dive more deepling into the audit can read it here.

State agencies gave their employees nearly 200,000 hours of unearned leave credits worth almost $6.4 million over five years, and the self-inflicted taxpayer expense will only grow until the government fixes the errors, according to a new state audit.

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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