Lockyer to Schwarzenegger: Kiss my grits

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to require state workers to take two mandatory, unpaid furlough days — the first and third Fridays of every month — in order to help defray a tiny fraction of the state’s whopping budget deficit. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is having none of it.

Gubernatorial directives can’t be imposed on constitutional officers such as the Treasurer, or the agencies they head; Lockyer sent a letter Friday to Department of Personnel Administration Director David A. Gilb rejecting the governor’s request.

“(W)e believe that the Governor has not established that he has the legal authority to impose furloughs and the related salary cuts on state employees,” Lockyer wrote in the letter, adding he’s “acutely aware of the serious financial issues” the State confronts and noting his office has “worked successfully with the Department of Finance throughout the year to reduce our costs and increase our revenues.”

He and his staff will keep cutting costs wherever possible, he wrote, but “we will not comply with an Executive Order that we are convinced does not rest on solid legal grounds and which would impose such a hardship on the backs of our employees.”

And what’ll the other constitutional officers — Lieutenant Gov. John Garamendi; Attorney General Jerry Brown; Controller John Chiang; Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell; and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, practically all of whom have gubernatorial aspirations — do about Schwarzenegger’s furlough directive? Stay tuned.

UPDATE @ 1:35 P.M. MONDAY 1/12: This just in from Garamendi: “We have already cut the Lieutenant Governor’s budget by 10 percent this year and we will cut another 10 percent this year. We are public servants for the people of California so we will not be furloughing our staff.”

UPDATE @ 4:57 P.M. MONDAY 1/12: And there you have it: The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert now says none of the Democratic statewide constitutional officers will go along with the furloughs.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Looks like Bill Lockyer does not want to be part of the solution 🙁

  • zippy martinez

    Solution? Slashing stat employees pay and grinding state govt to a halt is not a solution. I can tell you that one of my creditors is not going to get paid if I have to take a pay cut (2 day furlough) This is stupidity at its best. Stop giving money to ilegals. Stop giving money to free loading citizens that are too lazy to go out and get a job. When I hired on with the state I did so for 40 hrs a week 5 days a week. taking money away from state workers is not the answer. That’s a loss of $250-$800 per worker on average. That is money that will not be spent on food entertainment etc. So much for the precious economy.

  • It’s great that Bill has the heart, but he also understands that our State employees impact 23% of the total state budget. Der Arnold should have been looking at such solutions as: two year budgets, look at prison in & out take (sausage solutions), tightened school programs,proper tax ehancements(booze,gas,user fee area.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Gee, why am I not surprised to see a State employee thinking that it is only those in the private sector that should have to take furloughs, layoffs and/or reduced wages.

    Welcome to the “real world” where state, municipal and special district employees have to share in the misery of the people who are payig their wages with less income!

  • Doug

    I don’t understand what the game going on here is. The state is in an abysmal financial predicament and we have department heads splitting hairs about who has authority to suggest ways to cut costs?? The state is bankrupt you bonehead. You should be lining up and volunteering to help Bill, but no…… you’re a state employee and you’re ENTITLED. What point are you trying to win here? Perhaps to be the last one standing with none of our tax money in your pockets AT ALL?

    I’m a born and raised Californian and I say shut it down. It would be painful initially, but our state would be better off forcing this dysfunctional, coddled, overpaid, alleged government to cease to exist. Starve the beast. It’s an embarassment. If you love this state, we have to take it back. Tell your state representative not to back down. Hold firm. Afterwards, we’ll mourn the death of California government as it used to be. For a few seconds. Then we’ll pick up the pieces and try again.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Doug has the right idea! Let the State shut down ike it did a few decades ago.

    Funny thing was, when the State did shut down, working people didn’t even notice it at all 🙂