Capitol Alert

125 state job classifications on the line in annual culling of unfilled positions

Daniel Lubin, left, an environmental scientist for the State Parks, and Scott Tidball, a seasonal biologist, look at the soil near a Lake Tahoe golf course in 2011. The majority of the job classifications the State Personnel Board will consider abolishing are scientific positions.
Daniel Lubin, left, an environmental scientist for the State Parks, and Scott Tidball, a seasonal biologist, look at the soil near a Lake Tahoe golf course in 2011. The majority of the job classifications the State Personnel Board will consider abolishing are scientific positions. The Sacramento Bee file

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Does California need a Prison Industries Superintendent II (Coffee Roasting and Grinding)?

That’s one of 125 state job classifications that caught the attention of the state Department of Human Resources during its annual culling of positions that have been vacant for at least two years. They are now on the chopping block before the State Personnel Board, which meets at 10:30 a.m. at 801 Capitol Mall to determine whether or not to give them the heave-ho.

California has already pruned more than 700 obsolete state job titles from its roll of thousands since 2015, part of a broader effort to reorganize and modernize the civil service.

But not everyone is so eager to see the classifications go. Many were bargained by unions or governors as pay raises by another name, while others have been added by departments to control their own hiring. Dozens of letters were submitted to the personnel board by state agencies and unions arguing that their empty positions are still necessary.

The Prison Industries Superintendent II (Coffee Roasting and Grinding), for example, oversees the industrial supervisor in the Prison Industry Authority’s program at Mule Creek State Prison, where inmates package instant coffee for sale to state and local agencies. In its letter, the authority said it is currently hiring to fill the vacancy and has made three formal offers to candidates in the past year, all of whom turned it down.

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Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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