California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Schwarzenegger Administration Details Exemptions to Pay Cuts

In a letter to Controller John Chiang (D), Department of Personnel Administration Director Dave Gilb spelled out which state employees should be exempted from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) directive to cut state workers' pay to the federal minimum wage, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper/Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times, 8/6).

Schwarzenegger administration officials say the move is intended to preserve the state's cash reserves to ensure that the state will be able to cover its expenses in September if lawmakers remain deadlocked over a state budget (California Healthline, 8/1).

According to the letter, the administration seeks to exempt workers in the Department of Mental Health, the Office of Emergency Services, as well as other state departments and workers performing health, safety and environmental functions (Wildermuth/Sondag, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/6) (News low in story).

All workers will receive full back pay when a state budget is approved (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 8/6).

Pay Freeze for Doctors, Other Professionals

In addition to the pay cuts, Gilb's letter directs Chiang to stop paying doctors, lawyers and engineers.

DPA spokesperson Lynelle Jolley said, "There's no federal labor provisions that requires they receive any minimum payment."

Last week, a union representing lawyers and other professionals filed a complaint with the state's Public Employment Relations Board (Los Angeles Times, 8/6).

Corrections Department

Gilb's letter called for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to seek exemptions for units and employees on a case-by-case basis, according to Dan Dunmoyer, the governor's Cabinet secretary.

According to the Bee, the move could spark a challenge from prison medical receiver J. Clark Kelso, who last week said he would seek exemptions for about 60,000 of the corrections department's 66,000 workers under his authority as court-appointed receiver.

Face Off With Chiang

Chiang has spoken out against Schwarzenegger's order to cut workers' wages and has said he will continue to pay state employees their full salary (Sacramento Bee, 8/6).

On Tuesday, administration officials said they expect to file a lawsuit to compel Chiang to make the pay cuts (Los Angeles Times, 8/6).

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