Tuesday marks the start of the Fix 50 freeway project that will affect commutes for tens of thousands of state employees working in downtown Sacramento and along Interstate 50 from Rancho Cordova to West Sacramento and beyond.

California state government’s leave cash-out program is up and running at the Department of Social Services, where employees last week received query forms that asked if they wanted to trade up to 20 hours of leave time for money.

Our State Worker column this week highlights a new report that concludes public employees brought in under last year’s cheaper pension formulas must work up to five years longer or save thousands of dollars each year to have the same retirement income as workers under older, more generous pension plans.

California became a dual-class public employee state last year when a sweeping law lowered pension benefits for state and local government workers hired in 2013 and later.

Since our report on the state’s employee leave cash out program for three bargaining units and all excluded employees (if departments can afford it), we’ve fielded calls and emails from state workers whose responses range from praise to disdain.

Editor's note, 3:50 p.m.: This post has been amended to include information about the law firms spearheading the long-term care lawsuit against CalPERS.

Tens of thousands of state workers stand to get extra money in the next couple months by cashing out some of their unused leave time – assuming the state can find money to cover it.

Thousands of California state civil engineers, investigators and heavy mechanical equipment operators each stand to cash out up to 20 hours of leave time – if their departments can afford it.

The economic ripple of benefits paid to CalPERS’ retirees and their family members generated tens of billions of dollars in economic activity in fiscal 2011-12, the fund reported Tuesday, while CalPERS’ investments poured billions more into the state.

Technically, House Resolution 29 is nothing more than an opinion that Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez wants to put to a vote.

An Assembly resolution against government contracting is drawing fire from local governments and business groups for what they contend is a pledge against giving work to outside interests.

As we reported last week, the number of California state employees who took their pensions fell dramatically in the first quarter of this year. March also marked the 10th consecutive month that fewer workers retired when compared to the year before. What’s going on here?

The number of state workers who filed pension papers dropped sharply during the first quarter of this year compared with 2013, according to new CalPERS data, while March extended a record-setting string of months that retirement rates have declined.

A disgruntled state union is talking strike, but will it happen?

Our story in today’s Bee looks at which California state government departments have increased payroll and which have cut it during Gov. Jerry Brown’s third term. Here’s a complete list of employee counts and wages paid them over the three-year period, according to state controller’s payroll data.

Hollywood produces movies. Silicon Valley makes software. And Sacramento cranks out bills by the thousands.

Assembly hikes pay for many employees, including highest-paid - Sacramento Bee

A Wall Street firm cautioned Thursday that the failure to put a pension measure before California voters has negative implications for local governments facing higher retirement benefit bills.

Our State Worker column this week looks at a tension confronting the state’s stalled payroll overhaul: An audit of the MyCalPays Project (A.K.A. the 21st Century Project) project could yield invaluable lessons that would benefit nearly three dozen state IT projects in the pipeline, but it could also jeopardize its lawsuit against tech vendor SAP. The Legislative Analyst’s report that raised that issue also suggests that the state reassess whether it needs a universal payroll system for California’s vast, diverse bureaucracy. From the report:

Here’s a California state technology twist on a timeless truth: Honesty is the best policy – unless it blows up your $150 million lawsuit.

More than a year after California Controller John Chiang shut down a quarter-billion-dollar state payroll computer project that failed spectacularly, officials still haven’t looked into how the state contributed to the debacle, according to a report released Wednesday morning.

Governor wants NM to stop collecting union dues - sacbee.com

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has officially suspended efforts to place a pension-change measure on the November ballot, but he also plans to come back with another proposal in 2016. Peer into your crystal ball, then take our poll. (Can’t see it? Click here.)

The push for a government pension measure on the November ballot died Friday when its most public backer called it quits.

The push to put a public pension measure on the November ballot is officially dead.

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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The State Worker Archives

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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