The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 20, 2009
State payroll fell in February despite rise in number of workers

vault.jpgThe state spent less on employee wages in February and March than in December and January. Payroll expenses also fell compared with the same two-month stretch in 2008, according to numbers The State Worker has received from the state controller's office.

Payroll for February, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's two-days-per-month furlough order went into effect, fell to roughly $1.46 billion, down from $1.60 billion in January. Last year, the state cut February payroll checks totaling $1.52 billion.

Meanwhile, the number of state workers grew slightly, according to the controller's data. Checks went out to 239,791 employees in February, compared to 238,970 in January. The state employed 240,346 workers in February 2008.

Full-time employees accounted for most of the growth, their numbers going from 211,639 in January of this year to 212,616 the following month. There were 206,865 full-timers in February 2008.

March 2009 payroll grew to $1.48 billion, and the total number of employees grew to 213,001.

You can see more of the data by clicking here to view the Excel spreadsheets.

So state payroll costs fell even though the number of government jobs grew. But we asked for the payroll data (including specifics on overtime) to see whether we could determine how much, if anything, the state is saving because of furloughs.

It's hard to tell from these numbers (the only ones that the controller's office could provide), and here's why, according to spokesman Jacob Roper:

1 - The numbers include all pay except a few kinds of leave (so overtime is still there).

2 - Other savings, like employer contributions to federal programs, will not be reflected.

3 - Other costs, including the administration of furloughs, programming changes to payroll, etc., will not be reflected.

4 - Employees that used to participate in the voluntary leave program can now use furloughs.

5 - Employees can use furloughs in place of vacation days or planned medical leave, which means those days continue to accrue.

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