The State Worker

Jerry Brown vetoes state pay and seniority shift-preference bills

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two state employee bills on Monday, including one that would have set a standard that managers and supervisors earn at least 10 percent more than the employees they manage. The other bill would have required that supervisors bid for shifts on the basis of seniority.

The pay measure, Senate Bill 216 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, would have required the state to “address salary compaction and parity concerns” by establishing a goal to pay management at least 10 percent more than their highest-paid subordinate employees. If the Department of Human Resources determined that the state’s finances didn’t allow that differential, it would have had to report its salary data to the Legislature.

In a letter explaining his veto, Brown said, “My administration has made progress on this issue within the past 12 months and will continue to meet with representatives of excluded employees to discuss compaction issues as appropriate.”

An example: The administration in August increased pay between 8 percent and 42 percent for state managers in the scientific and civil engineering corps.

The Association of State Supervisors sponsored the measure and lobbied lawmakers for two years, said Rocco Paternoster, the group’s executive director. When the Legislature sent the bill to Brown without a single dissenting vote, the supervisors hoped the governor would be convinced to sign it.

“At the end of the day, it’s the governor’s opinion that salary-setting is an administrative function, not a legislative function,” Paternoster said.

Since the state bargains pay raises for unionized workers but can impose wages on excluded employees, he said, “all the resources go to the rank and file” while salaries for management often don’t increase as much.

“That’s why we thought a legislative solution was necessary,” Paternoster said. “We’re always caught in between.”

Brown also rejected another Beall measure, Senate Bill 1071, which would have given seniority preference to supervisors bidding on shift work. Highway Patrol and Corrections and Rehabilitation officers were excluded from the proposed law.

The governor said in his veto message that the measure was “unnecessary” and would circumvent departments’ discretion to staff operations as they see fit.

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