Opposition to State Worker Furlough Plan

January 13, 2009 9:47:09 PM PST
The governor used some Hollywood flair to illustrate how deeply California's budget must be cut to reach a compromise. However, he's already running into resistance from other elected officials to his latest plan to furlough state workers.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reached back into his movie star past to make a point about cutting the state budget. He pulled out his old "Conan the Barbarian" sword and placed it on the table in front of legislative leaders.

"We'll make a few cuts," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

But the cuts aren't so funny to state workers who have to stay home two days a month without pay.

Six of seven constitutional officers, all Democrats, are refusing to follow the governor's mandatory furlough order aimed at saving the state some money. They are elected independently and therefore don't have to listen to him.

"He doesn't run my department. It's not a matter of respect. I am making reductions. The others are making reductions. We just choose to do them in a different way," said Democratic Lt. Governor John Garamendi.

That means about 9,000 state employees, most of them from the attorney general's office, will keep their full pay, putting to question whether California can realize the full $1.3 billion in savings.

"The constitutional officers are not under his direct authority. They're well within their rights to comply or not comply. We've requested that they do," said Aaron McLear, the governor's press secretary.

Some state workers say it's unfair they will still be furloughed simply because their bosses legally can't stand up to the governor.

"That shouldn't be. If it applies to some of them, it should apply to all of them," said state worker Charlene Tallman.

This is not the first time a state officer has defied Schwarzenegger. State Controller John Chiang last year refused to pay state workers minimum wage when ordered to That just shows how much power a governor really has, even the famous ones.


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