California Agencies Continue Hiring, Despite Budget Deficit
Despite a nearly $15.2 billion budget shortfall, the California government is still hiring more employees, including within the departments of Health Care Services, Public Health and Mental Health, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of payroll databases.
Many of the new hires are intended either to save money or bring in more revenue, and officials said they do not have to freeze hiring to comply with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) order to save $100 million by the end of this fiscal year.
For instance, DHCS is employing more IT workers rather than offering new contracts to private companies. The department also is hiring more tax auditors, a move that the department projects brings in between $4 and $5 for every dollar spent.
The Department of Public Health continues to hire inspectors of nursing homes and hospitals because they are supported by the fees that they collect from the facilities rather than money from the general fund.
In addition, the Department of Mental Health is under a federal agreement to meet standards for 24-hour care at its hospitals, so it must maintain a certain level of employment. The department recently had to hire 120 staff members for Coalinga State Hospital for violent sexual predators (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 6/13).