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Judge orders the governor to halt employee furloughs

A Superior Court judge today ordered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to halt thrice-monthly furloughs for tens of thousands of state workers, saying the administration overstepped its authority in approving the unpaid days off.

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said the governor would appeal the decision of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch in favor of three state employee unions, including the Service Employees International Union Local 1000. The unions had filed suit after the governor began the furloughs in February in response to a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.

The judge ruled that the governor’s use of the state Emergency Services Act to furlough state workers because the state did not have a budget at the time had limits.

“...The emergency necessitating them was the failure of the Legislature to pass the budgets, though the reach of the orders extended long after those budgets were subsequently passed and signed into law," the judge wrote.

Roesch also ruled that furloughing state employees who are paid from special funds illegally interferes with the operation of specially funded agencies.

He said the governor’s use of furloughs was an “abuse of discretion” and that he “violated a mandatory duty to take into account the agencies varying needs before reducing workplace hours.”

The governor plans to appeal Roesch’s decision and noted that the order blocking the furloughs would be stayed until the appeal is ruled on, said Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger.

“Ultimately this will be decided by the state Supreme Court,” McLear said. “The governor absolutely has the authority to issue furloughs and we feel the state Supreme Court will rule in our favor.”

The lawsuit also was filed by CASE (California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment) and the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.

--Patrick McGreevy

 
Comments () | Archives (20)

How stupid! The same people that are raising hell about absorbing a few furlough days are the ones that will ultimately lose their jobs as a result.

Justice is served.

You really have to wonder when a Judge can reign supreme over the administration of a state. Maybe the ninth circuit. OK, but a single judge can do this? This ruling usurps the ability of a governor to govern. I guess if you are eating out of the government trough you would agree with the judge. However those that work two and three jobs to make ends meet want the governor to impose even more cut backs. Like about a 15% accross the board cut in all salaries. 50 percent in retirement benefits, and cut out the excessive vacation, sick leave, health care, autos, on and on and on.... This judge has not a clue what is happening to this country as a result of the cancer that is destroying it. His ilk is a growing tumor in the body of common sense.

State Workers, HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

All along, we knew that these indefinite furloughs were illegal. Now a final blow to the Governor. This is not the way to maintain good employer-employee relations.

Lunatic activist judges will next order tides to reverse, property values to rise and CA revenues to increase. Socialism and command economies don't work folks. We tried that in the USSR, Mao's China, North Korea and Cambodia with the common result of horrific famine in each case.

No money means just that, which is why the Guv cut those do-nothing jobs, though liberals are struggling to understand the basic accounting.

The only good thing about our State budget is that it is so bad the underlying systemic problems will have to be resolved.

I have always felt a reduction in pay and benefits made more sense than furlough days. Hopefully when these union contracts come up for renewal someone will have the will and the strength to do something about it. Unlike the LA City Council and the DWP.

Time to recall, or at worst, not re-elect this judge when his term comes up.
It's time these arrogant morons realize that we, the people, pay these worthless state employees and we, the people, are tired of paying taxes to keep them working!

So layoffs are now inevitable.

Way to go union!

Is this judge a state worker? Something smells fishy. I am fed up with these moron judges who think they know best. This clown should have to pay them if he wants them working. State workers already make 40% more than the rest of us for the same basic jobs. Time to get rid of all of their perks and make them like the rest of us.

Hey...the governor was just trying to keep your job...
now its time to get you layed off for good...
or fired whatever the case may fit for you to leave...
no more money so you have got to go...
should have at least taken these furlough days...
but now you have got to go.

This State will end up in bankruptcy. How much tax increases will the WORKING CLASS have to endure before we the electorate wises up? A State house cleaning is needed here. The Corrupt Political machine that finances (campaign contributions) these crooks on the Judicial Bench and State Assembly is killing California. Even the appointed Justices.

This may get interesting. Another Judge in another Superior Court had ruled previously that the State Compensation Fund (SCF) employees are exempt from the Furlough order. There are other suits lined up awaiting a trial date now.

Its a darn shame that the courts have to force our elected officials hands for them to make decisions: The bottom line is, our elected officials are going to start working for Californian citizens, and raise them up, or keep trying to fit all of California's residents into a sinking boat on troubled waters, and let it sink.

If your listening legislators: There is a difference between doing a job, and gaining a career. when you do your job, everyone benefits, when you focus on career, you benefit on the backs of the rest.

California can't keep spending money it does not have, it cant keep taking care of people with no revenue coming in. How many hospitals have to close? How many schools have to suffer overcrowding and under staffing? How many beds in jail can you afford? how much infrastructure will crumble because of over use? how much supply and demand will drive up cost before inflation kicks out millions of more families into the streets?

The day is coming when your going to have to make a judgment call to represent Americans, if you cant see yourself doing it, maybe resignation is in order.

These unions are bankrupting the state.
How do we get rid of them?
Maybe vote their allies, the Democrats, out.
Is that the solution?

FYI

The Judge was right. Schwarzenegger is not king and is not above the law. We have a constitution. Just as Schwarzenegger can't decide to save money by killing people he doesn't like, he can't use balancing the budget as an excuse to break contracts or to endanger public services. The Judge, who has access to a great deal more information about this case than any of us, saw the evidence and knows the law.
Too many people read one article, fill in any missing data with whatever fits their argument and then go on a tirade.
As set forth in our constitution, the judgment has been passed. Now the Governor seeks to go on using our money to try to bully his way out of the law. What we need is a way to prevent politicians from using state resources to illegally promote personal agendas.
I hope the people who read this post will take the time to research and understand what exactly Schwarzenegger did, why it is illegal, and why it must be stopped.

Can't help but laugh when reading these comments, clearly made by brainless Republicans.

First off, the governor imposing furloughs on every sate worker "so that they can feel the same hardship that everyone is facing in CA" is ridiculous. That's COMMUNISM, more precisely.

If you Republicans don't like the fact that state workers get those perks, maybe you ought to get out of the ranch and get an education. We worked for it.

An easy solution to the state budget is to raise taxes big business. I know that makes Republicans cry, but your beloved presidents of the past were taxing the upper most bracket at 50% (Regan), 70% (Nixon), and 90% (Eisenhower) during their time. So cry me a river if CA decides to tax big business a couple more percentage points.

CA has its issues. Unions have their pros and cons. Without unions, business will take advantage of the little guy. That's why they unionize. The problem is, sometimes unions become the bully...they become what they were fighting against.

But don't think that it's fair to furlough state workers across the board. If you lost your job because your company spent too much, too bad. If you bought a house you couldn't really afford, too bad. That's not the state worker's fault.

So suck it up, or better yet, move out of California.

what about equal protection of the law as required by the 14th amendment of the us constitution. Not ALL state employees have been furloughed!

Fundamentally, Arnold has a problem with constitutional democracy--particularly the doctrine of separation of powers and the principle of judicial review. The latter is an essential component of our system of government. Like it or not, this judge did what the courts are supposed to do--namely, determine if the actions of the executive are legal. And for those who believe that this judge must have a pecuniary interest in the cases, the answer to that is "no." He's not subject to the furloughs. Arnold would do better to negotiate with the unions to hold down employee costs, as is being done in other states. Those who post here would do better to read the judge's ruling before condemning him and the third branch of government.

Finally, some sanity hit this comment board on the afternoon of January 1. Thank you, Mina, The Truth, and Indy, for speaking truth to Republicans.

Thank goodness that Judge Roesch is halting the illegal three-mandatory furlough days. If you are not a State, County or City worker you do not know what it is like to constantly struggle to pay the bills. I am a vested city employee with 25 years - I am on two furlough days a month and trying desperately to hold onto my house. It is not our fault that the City, State and Counties can't balance their budget but they are making us the scapegoat.

Thank you Judge Roesch! Can you step in and stop the City of Los Angeles employees from taking two furlough days a month?


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