The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 26, 2009
Blog back: Furloughs, a flub and the "Foil Hat Club"

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

Jan. 21 Controller Chiang says no to furlough order

Looks like another one of those boxes he's always talking about just blew up in the GOV's face.
Speaking of John Chiang standing up to the Governor....does anyone know the status of the lawsuit challenging the Governor's attempt to pay State employees federal minimum wage in the absence of a budget? I understood that the lawsuit was going forward in hopes of preventing him from doing this next summer (and beyond), but I've never heard an update/outcome.

The state court hearing on Gilb v. Chiang is Feb. 27. At issue is whether the Controller violated California's Constitution and the State Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in White v. Davis when he issued full paychecks to state employees without budget authorization last summer.

why is it that no one seems to remember that Schwarzenegger wants to impose furloughs AND lay off 20% of the state employees?

We mentioned in our latest Thursday State Worker column that both furloughs and layoffs are possible.

However, it's not accurate to say that Schwarzenegger wants to lay off 20 percent of state employees. Executive Order S-16-08 instructs DPA to "work with all State agencies and departments to initiate layoffs and other position reduction and program efficiency measures to achieve a reduction in General Fund payroll of up to ten percent."

Another part of the order requires that DPA "place the least senior twenty percent of state employees funded in any amount by General Fund resources on the State Restriction of Appointment (SROA) list."

SROA employees may apply for other jobs in state government. DPA's Web site explains the process.

Jan. 22 The State Worker: Furlough order's uncertainties cause anxiety

The calls for across the board 10% cuts is akin to an old time ship's captain calling to lighten the load by removing 10% of the ship's wood. No matter if the planks are his cabin walls or the ship's hull, 10% has to go. Sure, it's math simple enough for knee-jerk conservatives to understand but look at the ramifications. We need leaders who can find the right cuts to make and make them no matter who's comfortable bunk is lowered.

A thoughtful comment that makes a point using an apt analogy.

Jan. 23 From the notebook: Scenes from a rally

walkers and wheelchairs belong inside??? You come off like a jerk with a commment (sic) like that.

We included the note in the post to show that folks who appeared to be in ill health were braving cold weather to attend the rally. We took their presence as a measure of their devotion to the cause. On reflection, we can see how the note could be viewed as demeaning, although our intended message was the opposite.

Jan. 22 Pension contract initiative gets OK for petition circulation
Jan. 23 Pension reform crusader e-mails The State Worker

User reaction ranged from dismissal to distress over these two blog items about SoCal CPA Paul McCauley's efforts to change California's state employee pension system. A few supported his idea, if not his methods.

Your time for participating in sharing the economic pain is coming. ....spiking pensions is so naughty.....this guy may be a loon or Paul Revere....we will soon find out....he could end up being Tom Paine...motivate the producers to revolt against taxation, regulation, conflaguration (sic)....
This guy is a quack. So all we really need to get a ballot initiative is 700,000 signatures? Time to recall the governator
The proponent's proposition on pension reform and his other initiative on buying out oil companies are socialistic. It appears the proponent, a CPA, is touting his name for business using the guise of the initiative process for press coverage. I doubt it would pass and if it did would be unconstitutional. Just my opinion.
Jesus, what next? Where is our Union? Hello?
McCauley is a quack. His measure, even if enacted would be overturned by the court as unconstitutional.
Foil Hat Club. Keith Richman's proposal is the one to keep an eye on.

The URL in that last comment goes to The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, which backed the California Public Employee Benefits Initiative in 2007. The ballot measure sought to cap benefits for newly hired public employees at every state and local government level in California. The organization was unable to rise the money for a petition drive, which killed the initiative.

We contacted Marcia Fritz, the foundation's treasurer and vice president about whether the organization might revive it. "Nothing solid has happened yet, but we are still pursuing this," Fritz told us.

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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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