The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 28, 2008
Public employees, public records and public trust

Are there dots here that we should connect?

Let's start with today's Chu Vu story reported by Bee crime reporters Kim Minugh and Sam Stanton . According to Bee sources, the former Sacramento County deputy allegedly used a department computer to look up personal information on Steve Lo, a state correctional officer who was gunned down at his home earlier this month.

Vu was arrested on an unrelated weapons charge, but Sacramento police consider him a "principal" in the homicide investigation.

Now consider the soon-to-be-closed case of Rachael Rivas Dumbrique. Last week the 33-year-old former Department of Consumer Affairs worker pleaded no contest to a felony count of illegally downloading confidential state information that included the names and Social Security numbers of 5,500 current and former department employees. As Bee reporter Andrew McIntosh reported in this story, Dumbrique is scheduled for sentencing next month.

Now the obvious connection: Both cases involve public employees and their access to private information.

It's bad enough that in the era of electronic finance that we have to worry about criminals stealing our identities or hacking our credit card information. It's worse -- far worse, in our estimation -- when public employees abuse their access to the information assigned to us privately by the government (such as social security numbers) or that we are compelled to give privately (such as our address or income).

It makes us wonder, how often does this happen? How many public employees do this? How many have access? And beyond that, how effective are government attempts to squash abuse of this unique and powerful government authority?

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

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


Now on the State Worker column

    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

State Pay Database

This database allows you to search the salaries of California's 300,000-plus state workers and view up to four years of their pay history.

Latest Capitol Alert headlines

    404 - Not Found - The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California

    404 Not Found

    Our apologies....

    We can't find the page you requested in this location.

    The story may have moved or expired.

    You may wish to:

  • » More on the Capitol Alert blog


May 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Monthly Archives