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Court prolongs Schwarzenegger's furlough order

March 30, 2010 7:39:42 PM PDT
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won a round on Tuesday in the fight over furlough Fridays. An appellate judge sided with the Schwarzenegger administration in its legal battle to keep the furloughs in place to save the state money.

Last week, a Superior Court judge ruled against the governor, but Tuesday, an appellate court judge said, "Not so fast" and once again furloughed workers will be off this Friday.

Think state workers are tired of the furlough fight? Trying asking them about it. ABC7 got no response from many workers.

It is not hard to understand their reluctance; state workers have been whipsawed over furloughs and pay cuts. First the governor decides to lay them off two days a month, then it becomes three days without pay, then lawsuits are filed, and protests are held. Last week, an Oakland judge ruled the governor had no authority for the furloughs and ordered them back to work. Then on Tuesday, a district appellate court in San Francisco stayed that order, reinstituting the furloughs.

"That's what the judge ruled, so that's what we got to do," said state employee Galina Osachiy.

At the Department of Motor Vehicles, state workers do not have time to talk. The backlog of customers is crushing.

When asked how long he had been waiting at the DMV, Norman Tanner of San Francisco said, "For three hours just to get a duplicate ID card and that's ridiculous."

The furlough program has doubled average wait times at California DMV offices.

"We have things to do besides waiting here all day," said John Connolly from San Francisco.

The average wait among those ABC7 talked to was an hour and a half.

Some agreed the DMV might be busier because the workers are furloughed three Friday's a month.

What Catalina Perez says she does not get is why the state cannot afford to keep the offices open.

"There's plenty of money in this state, where is it going?" said Perez.

That feeling was echoed from other people waiting at the DMV. Still, the fact is the state is $20 billion in the hole and the legislature has not been able to agree on a long-term solution, such as raising taxes or cutting the spending.


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