The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 2, 2009
State engineers vow legal challenge to block third furlough day
The Professional Engineers in California Government say they're preparing a legal challenge to stop the Schwarzenegger administration from imposing a third furlough day a month on its members during the budget crisis.

PECG spokeswoman Lisa-Marie Burcar said union officials aren't yet sure what form the legal challenge will take - lawsuit, grievance or some kind of arbitration.

But the union representing engineers said a third furlough day will stall government  infrastructure projects needed to create jobs and bolster California's economy.

"Telling people to stay home a third day a month slows economic recovery," PECG president Mark Sheahan said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Sheahan expressed concern that with state engineers furloughed three days a month, work may have to be outsourced to private companies "at more than twice the cost."

 "This executive order mandates the waste that the governor says he wants to eliminate,"  Sheahan added.

Sheahan noted that 95 percent of PECG's members are paid through special funds, such as the gas tax, federal funds, and other sources - not the general fund.

"Cutting our pay won't help the general fund, but it will cost the taxpayers more than twice as much (if the state has to outsource)," Sheahan added.

PECG's prior lawsuit and grievance to stop the Schwarzenegger administration's initial two-day furloughs are working their way through the courts and administrative process.

Prior posts about the ongoing legal dispute can be read by clicking here  and  here.

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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