State employees upset over governor's cuts

December 19, 2008 11:49:59 PM PST
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (D) of California announced a series of dramatic and, what are sure to be, painful cuts on Friday.

In an executive order, the governor called for state agencies to cut payrolls by 10 percent which is a move that could lead to massive layoffs. In addition, the governor ordered a hiring freeze, union workers will be required to take two days off unpaid per month, and the governor is ordering lawmakers back into session. He's calling them back for a third time to deal with the fiscal emergency.

The Alma Avenue branch of the DMV is one of the busiest in San Jose. As the line wraps through the entire lobby, a new sign goes up giving customers last minute notice that the branch will be closed tomorrow because of budget related staffing shortages. That on top of the governor's cost saving order is making Louie Salinas, a DMV worker, frustrated.

"We have a lot of really hard working state employees that are trying to make ends meet and now with this furlough stuff, that doesn't make much sense," said Salinas.

DMV employees found out about the governor's decision late this afternoon when their managers handed them this letter, outlining the furlough as well as expected layoffs. Most of the changes kick in, February first.

"He'll wind up in court certainly, a number of folks would have a problem with what he's issued," said Bruce Blanning, from Professional Engineers In California Government.

The union representing 95,000 state workers plans to sue the administration for unfair labor practice.

"They should be upset, I think if I got this right before Christmas, I'd be upset too," said Assembly member Jim Beall (D) of San Jose.

Assemblyman Jim Beall puts the blame squarely on the governor's shoulders. Though Schwarzenegger claims legislators' failure to fix the budget deficit, left him with no other choice.

"As we free fall into fiscal Armageddon, the legislators still can't cross the special interests and do what is right for the state of California," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

"We're going to continue to try to work with him. I'll work with him on Christmas Day if he wants to meet with me," said Beall.

Still, legislators are not expected to return for a special session until after the holidays. For Louie Salinas, the delay makes this already bitter pill even tougher to swallow.

"I wish I could go on holiday too, but I'm stuck working here with 10 percent cut off now," said Salinas.


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