The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 1, 2008
Blog back: Legislative pay, the 'backstabbing' DPA, the 'trade' with Seattle

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

Nov. 21 Local radio host Maiman on state workers, furloughs, pensions

There is a difference: We, the voters, can "fire" these State workers the next time they come up for reelection. We cannot do that with other State workers who we feel deserve it.

That said, I do believe the elected State workers should, as a symbol they "get it" turn in their State vehicles, State credit cards, and assume the costs we all must bear in order to maintain our employment.

There are counterpoints to this argument. If we hold down legislative wages and perks, elected state workers might be more vulnerable to influence-peddlers. Holding down pay and per diem might also keep some qualified people from seeking office because they wouldn't be able to support themselves or their families if they ran and won. And it's an important job; shouldn't the pay reflect that?

Nov. 25 SEIU says state 'refuses' to talk with union lawyers in the room, DPA responds

I would love to be elected to a State position for just one term. The first thing I would request would be an impartial audit of DPA. For toooo long the employees of this state have been beaten, backstabbed and broiled by DPA doing the bidding of whomever (sic) happens to be Governor. They have no pride, no morals, no heart, no empathy except for themselves. They believe and act like they are jury, judge and executioner! I for one think its time that the tide is turned on them so that they experience the type of suffering they deliver to State employees. That audit would reveal that they do not have the interest of the State at heart and I firmly believe the audit would call for wide spread reform and the dismissal of everyone in that department!

This seems a bit harsh. DPA folks are state workers, too, and they face many of the same pressures and problems confronting counterparts in other departments. Some have the thankless job of contract negotiations, which earns them the ire of many civil servants.

We have found DPA officials to be courteous, prompt and professional. Of course, we don't have to negotiate with them for our livelihood.

Nov. 25 Is Measure J the Prop 13 of pension reform?

Just because Orange County officials were too generous with themselves and county workers does not mean that the State of California has been wreckless (sic). Some other local agencies have also been too generous, but we need to focus on both sides of the problem. Non-government workers need reliable pensions too and we need to create a "CalPERS"-like organization to invest their and their employers' contributions so they grow and can sustain them with Social Security for as long as they live.

AB 2940 by Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would have allowed private individuals and private sector employers to set aside money in retirement accounts administered by CalPERS. The bill got stuck in committee and died.

Nov. 27 UPDATE: California librarian gets Seattle job

She was traded for a player to be named later and a set of the unabridged Encyclopedia Brittanica.

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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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