Tag Archives: California

CA State Workers Hoarding Vacation Days, Create Additional $3.5-billion Debt Spike And Counting For Taxpayer

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Last year, the state paid its employees nearly $300 million for time off that wasn’t used, according to a Times analysis of payroll data from the state controller’s office. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

(LA Times) After 36 years as a California government transportation engineer, Bijan Sartipi retired with much more than a goodbye party: He was paid $405,000 for time off he never used — one of more than 450 state workers who took home six-figure checks when they left their jobs last year.

And Sartipi didn’t top the list — a prison surgeon in Riverside pocketed $456,002.

In a trend that stems from lax enforcement of the state’s cap on vacation accrual, more and more state workers are able to retire with massive payouts for unused vacation and other leave. That could become a budget breaker for California as an aging workforce heads into retirement. During the next recession, California will be obligated to continue the payouts, forcing lawmakers to cut programs to balance the state budget.

Last year, the state paid its employees nearly $300 million for banked time off, according to a Times analysis of payroll data from the state controller’s office. The data include most agencies and departments, but not legislative employees or other taxpayer-funded institutions such as the public university systems. That means the actual cost to taxpayers for unused vacation is much higher.

The total unfunded liability also does not account for employees who used stockpiled days off at the end of their careers to remain employed while not actually working, boosting the value of their pensions.

All told, state workers had $3.5 billion in unused leave as of 2017, the most recent estimate available. The blame, said Stanford public policy professor Joe Nation, rests entirely on government mismanagement.

“It’s like having a speed limit but not enforcing it,” he said. “This is not a good way to run any organization.”

California mandates that vacation balances for most employees be capped at 640 hours. Sporadic enforcement of the rule, coupled with an increasing number of state workers retiring, has led to a 60% rise in the number of six-figure payouts since 2012, when 280 employees each cashed in unused paid leave totaling $100,000 or more, The Times’ analysis found.

Even so, said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom, “the state has made significant strides in recent years in reducing unused leave balances.”

Some departments have offered workers a chance to cash out up to 80 hours accrued time off each year in hopes of reducing the liability of larger payout when workers retire at a higher salary. According to the Department of Finance, the state wrote checks totaling $111 million over a three-year period ending in 2017 to help reduce vacation balances — an effort started under former Gov. Jerry Brown.

Most private-sector employers cap vacation between 40 hours and 400 hours and do not allow time to be earned beyond those limits.

In California, public-sector union contracts are negotiated at the direction of the governor and must be approved by the Legislature. Any changes to how much vacation employees could store would have to be negotiated and such concessions would not come easily. The state’s powerful and deep-pocketed public-sector unions showered Newsom with contributions, and labor is also among the biggest donors to Democratic lawmakers, who have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature.

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) said revising the vacation policy would help California contain its liabilities, but did not believe that was politically feasible.

“I doubt Gavin Newsom will go to the bargaining table to see if he can fix it,” Moorlach said. “Our governors are very reliant on public employee union contributions, so this is just not going to happen.”

State workers also enjoy another vacation perk most public sector workers have not heard of. When employees cash out their banked leave, the state government pays them not just for the hours they have on the books, but also projects how much additional time they would have earned if they had taken the days off. That means a person with 640 hours of vacation would also be paid for all of the vacation and holidays they would have earned had they taken those 80 days off.

For some, vacation payouts can surpass annual salaries. And since state labor code requires employers to compensate workers for unused days off based on final pay rate — not what they were earning when the time was accrued — the actual cost of each vacation hour increases over time.

The top 20 employees with the largest payouts in 2018 took home a combined $5.9 million, with all but three receiving raises in the year before they left state service. The raises increased the employees’ leave payouts by an average of $7,500 apiece, The Times’ analysis found.

“That’s in line with pension spiking,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. — likening it to boosting retirement pay with last-minute salary increases, a practice banned in many cases under a 2012 reform law. “It’s an abuse and it should be corrected with legislation,” Coupal said.

Sartipi took home an additional $15,000 for unused time off thanks to a 4% raise in his final year of work.

The onetime district director for the California Department of Transportation in Alameda County received $405,119 for banked time off — the equivalent of more than 4,400 hours of vacation, or two years of stored leave, according to The Times’ analysis. His annual salary when he retired was $191,208.

When asked for comment, Sartipi declined.

The state controller’s office would not provide the number of vacation days for individual employees, saying the information was confidential, but did provide how many hours agencies had on the books as of 2017. But of the 20,400 workers who cashed out their time off last year, nearly 6,200 received at least $10,000. The majority of vacation payouts were less than $5,000, the analysis showed.

Many who received large payouts worked in prisons or public safety positions, where staffing shortages and emergencies can make it difficult to schedule vacations.

“I would have rather had been taking time off than taking a payout,” said Kim Zagaris, the former fire and rescue chief for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Zagaris, whose state career spanned three decades, received $218,000 from unused vacation when he retired last year. He said the tax bite out of that lump-sum payment was around 40%.

The number of vacation hours banked by state workers jumped in the years after 2009, when California furloughed workers during the recession. The forced unpaid time off meant many did not need to use vacation or could not afford to.

In 2016, the Department of Human Resources began tracking the amount of unused leave accumulated and working with managers to have those over the cap create plans to use the time up. A spokesman said the department plans to post the state’s total number of unused vacation hours and the cash value of that liability online later this year.

As of 2017, state workers had accrued 75 million hours of paid leave, according to the controller’s office.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections accounted for a third of those hours, which carried a $1-billion price tag. The California Highway Patrol had $396 million in unused leave on the books, the data show; Caltrans was on the hook for $366 million.

When J.J. Jelincic was ready to retire from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in January 2018, he opted to take his vacation time instead of a lump-sum payment. Jelincic, who has been on vacation for more than a year, said that was the smarter investment.

Because while on vacation, he has received a 4% raise that went to everyone in his job classification. And since he is still an employee, he is increasing his total state service. The net impact will mean an increase of his pension. Jelincic is also accruing more vacation time while on vacation — and receiving holiday pay.

The state requires employees to get a manager’s approval to burn down their vacation before retiring instead of receiving a lump-sum payment.

Mike Genest, who served as budget director for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said there are times when large payouts to hardworking state employees are warranted.

“But, I would say most of the time it is abused,” Genest said.

He received $37,000 in unused time off when he left the Department of Finance in 2009.

“I have no guilt for the taxpayer that I was milking the system,” Genest said. “People knew I worked ungodly hours most of the time.… It could be looked at as abuse, but I tell you I deserved it and I have no qualms saying that as a fiscal conservative.”

Source: by Melody Guiterrez | Los Angeles Times

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[Gay] California Democrat Party Chair Takes Leave Of Absence Amid Sexual Misconduct Investigation

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Eric Bauman, the CA Democrat party’s first openly gay chairman.

California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman, who is facing an internal investigation after multiple party staffers accused him of sexual assault or harassment, is taking a leave of absence until the probe is finished, the party announced Monday.

No police reports, just a secret Catholic Church style internal investigation

Party spokesperson Mike Roth said Bauman had decided to take a leave of absence “[a]fter taking the holiday weekend to consider the most constructive path forward for the work of the California Democratic Party”.

“Chair Bauman believes this decision is the best way to ensure the independence and integrity of the process,” Roth added. “The Party is confident that the procedures in place will allow for all parties to come forward freely and provide for a thorough and complete review.”

The internal investigation was launched after party Vice-Chair Daraka Larimore-Hall called for Bauman’s removal over what Larimore-Hall described as “credible, corroborated and utterly heart-breaking allegations” by “a number of party staff” who claimed Bauman harassed or assaulted them at party functions. Others including California U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna and the Orange County Young Democrats called for Bauman to step aside.

Larimore-Hall’s email did not include details about either the alleged incidents or the affected staffers. The Sacramento Bee reported that Larimore-Hall spoke to two accusers and a witness before sending his email.

“I take seriously any allegation brought forward by anyone who believes they have been caused pain,” Bauman said in a statement announcing the investigation Saturday. “I look forward to putting these allegations behind us and moving forward as unified Democrats.”

The party’s executive board could vote to remove Bauman from office. However, Larimore-Hall’s call for Bauman’s removal is still several steps from such a vote.

Bauman’s leave comes just weeks after California Democrats made major gains in the midterm elections, winning key congressional seats in territory long held by Republicans.

A series of sexual misconduct allegations against lawmakers, lobbyists and others in politics rocked California’s political world late last year, at the height of the #MeToo movement. Three Democratic men resigned as state lawmakers after investigators hired by the state legislature found they likely engaged in inappropriate behavior.

Again, no police reports, no arrests, no convictions… ever.

Bauman narrowly won the party chairmanship last year against Kimberly Ellis after a contentious battle between establishment Democrats and progressive activists. During that fight, Bauman said he was falsely targeted by rumors he engaged in inappropriate behavior with teenage boys. Bauman is the party’s first openly gay chairman.

Bauman called the rumors “despicable lies,” and Ellis denounced them.

First Vice Chair Alex Rooker is set to take over Bauman’s duties while the investigation proceeds.

Source: by Samuel Chamberlain | Fox News

 

Convincing Feeble Minded To Keep Voting The Rest Of Us Into Slavery Has Never Been Easier

In an interview that aired Monday, Jerry Brown called the president a “saboteur” in the fight to combat climate change, and in a thinly veiled threat said that “something’s got to happen to this guy.” Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell at an environmental summit in San Francisco last week, Brown tore into Trump for the president’s tweets about the death toll in Puerto Rico from last year’s Hurricane Maria and urged voters to vote for Democrats in November’s midterm elections in an effort to thwart Trump’s agenda, according to Fox News.

CA Democrats Pushing to Give Illegal Adults Full Healthcare Benefits

California Democrats are reportedly pushing to give full healthcare benefits to illegal immigrant adults, which would mean that the Golden State not only may have to raise taxes but will also be a magnet for even more illegal immigrants.

According to a Monday Politico report, state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is leading the charge by reportedly arguing that “California needs to be a laboratory for social change by taking the lead on progressive causes.”

“We are trying to address the fact that, whether you like it or not, our undocumented community needs the care, and we are paying for it anyway,” he reportedly said.

Politico points out that California Democrats are trying to extend the state’s Medi-Cal program this legislative session to nearly 1.2 million illegal immigrant adults who would qualify for it, and “companion bills in the state Assembly and Senate” have already “passed their respective health committees with party-line votes.”

The cost to expand Medicaid coverage to adult illegal immigrants in California is reportedly projected to cost $3 billion annually.

California Governor Jerry Brown, who extended Medi-Cal coverage to illegal immigrant children in 2015, has not commented on the pending measures but “is required by law to sign or veto bills passed this session by Sept. 30, just five weeks before the midterm elections.”

Political and health analysts are reportedly astounded that Democrats are trying to extend healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants before this year’s important midterm elections, reportedly saying that the measure would give Republicans in California relevance “they would never have before” in an election cycle in which House races in California could decide which party controls Congress.

Paul Ginsburg, director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, told Politico that the proposal would be “fiscally very dangerous” and Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford physician and health economist, suggested to the outlet that such a plan would have to be paid for with tax increases.

Bhattacharya also pointed out the obvious—giving full healthcare coverage to illegal immigrant adults will make California, which is already an official “sanctuary” state, even a greater magnet for illegal immigrants.

The illegal immigrant who murdered Kate Steinle, for instance, told authorities that he came to San Francisco after being previously deported five times because he knew San Francisco was proudly a “sanctuary city.”

“If you make a program like this available, undocumented workers in other states might be attracted to California because of this,” Bhattacharya, the Stanford physician, reportedly said.


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Source: by Tony Lee | Breitbart

State Of Emergency Declared As California’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Accelerates

A month after San Diego began street-bleaching in an effort to control its spread, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as California’s Hepatitis A outbreak has “gone statewide,” with dozens dead and hundreds hospitalized.

In order to combat the disease, the southern California city of San Diego has literally begun spraying the streets with bleach.

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An article by NPR said that the Hepatitis A was first identified in the area in early March, according to the county, and declared a public health emergency earlier this month. Nearly 400 people have been infected with the disease.

The majority of those sickened by this viral infection outbreak have been homeless people. A letter from San Diego County health officials stated that hepatitis A is being spread through contact with a “fecally contaminated environment” as well as person-to-person transmission. A big part of the problem is an apparent lack of public restrooms in areas where the homeless population congregates.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection, which can prove fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the virus attacks the liver. Adequate personal hygiene and sanitation can help prevent the spread of the virus.

But, as we pointed out earlier this week, the hepatitis A outbreak that started in San Diego is now on the verge of reaching statewide epidemic status, as cases have spread through homeless tent cities all the way north to Sacramento.

At least 569 people have been infected and 17 have died of the virus since November in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties, where local outbreaks have been declared.

Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California’s outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts.

“It’s not unusual for them to last quite some time — usually over a year, one to two years,” Foster said.

California’s outbreak of hepatitis A could continue for many months, even years, health officials said Thursday.

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As ABC7.com reports, California is experiencing the largest hepatitis A outbreak in the United States transmitted from person to person – instead of by contaminated food – since the vaccine became available in 1996.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declared a local outbreak of hepatitis A in September.

San Diego and Santa Cruz have also declared local outbreaks.

According to the CDPH, there have been a total of 18 deaths so far – all in the San Diego area, which has reported 490 cases of hepatitis A and 342 hospitalizations.

The CDPH said the Santa Cruz area has 71 reported cases and 33 hospitalizations; Los Angeles has 8 reported cases and 6 hospitalizations; and other regions in California have 7 reported cases and 5 hospitalizations.

This brings the total number of cases in the state to 576 with 386 hospitalizations.

 

This has prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency

The emergency proclamation, which was issued by Brown on Friday, allows the state to increase its supply of hepatitis A vaccines in order to control the current outbreak.

Immunizations from the federal vaccine program have been distributed to at-risk populations in affected areas, but additional supplies are needed, according to a statement released by Brown’s office.

The emergency proclamation gives the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) authority to immediately purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them to impacted communities.

Hepatitis A is commonly transmitted through contaminated food. The only outbreak in the last 20 years bigger than California’s occurred in Pennsylvania in 2003, when more than 900 people were infected after eating contaminated green onions at a restaurant.

California’s outbreak, however, is spreading from person to person, mostly among the homeless community

Liberals see absolutely no problem with letting the homeless camp and defecate wherever they want

“There’s syringes, there’s human feces, there are dead animals, rats alive, and dead rats … pee bottles, five-gallon buckets used as toilets,”

As Breitbart points out, California’s tent cities are the direct result of “proactive” legislation that forbids police from dispersing homeless people living in tent cities between the hours of 9pm and 5:30am.

California homeless advocates have been successful across the state in forcing cities to accept the homeless living in large tent communities on public property. The advocates refer to anti-homeless ordinances as the modern-day equivalent to post-slavery Jim Crow and Depression era anti-Okie laws that allowed police to disperse people deemed “undesirable” after dark.

The City of San Diego was forced to sign the Spencer Settlement in 2006, which forbids its Police Department from enforcing the city’s “Illegal Lodging Enforcement Guidelines” between the hours of 9 pm to 5:30 am.

California, with 115,738 homeless, now accounts for about 21 percent of America’s total homeless population. Due to legal settlements against vagrancy laws, about 72.3 percent of California’s homeless are unsheltered, usually living in tent cities.

If you like your socialist utopia, you can keep your socialist utopia in California.

Source: ZeroHedge

Only In California: Sacramento To Pay Gang Bangers A Cash Stipend If They Stop Killing People

You’re probably thinking this is a satirical report from The Onion.

We thought so, too.

But be assured it’s very real, as reported by Fox 40 Sacramento:

After a violent weekend of suspected gang-related shootings, Tuesday the Sacramento City Council took action to reduce the bloodshed.

It approved a controversial program called Advance Peace, which offers cash stipends to gang members who remain peaceful.

“Let’s get going on doing everything we can to save innocent lives,” Steinberg said.

The program targets key gang agitators, offering them cash stipends to graduate school and remain peaceful. It already claims success in dropping crime rates in Richmond. But the city would still have to pay half the cost of the program, $1.5 million out of the city’s general fund.

In the end, the council agreed to the program, voting 9-0 in favor.

Because policies of appeasement have worked so very well throughout history, why not give it another try?

Take money from peaceful tax paying citizens and redistribute that money to the gang bangers who are killing them.

Sounds like a brilliant idea that could only manifest itself on the progressively tolerant left coast.

Maybe we should kick this up to the Federal level and see if we can get taxpayer funds to send to the Islamic State and North Korea… that should work like a charm.

Source: Prison Planet

California ☭ Exposed For Having 11 Counties With More Registered Voters Than Voting-Age Citizens

The Election Integrity Project California provides a list of 11 California counties that have more registered voters than voting-age citizens.

In addition, Los Angeles County officials informed the project that “the number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144% of the total number of resident citizens of voting age.”

The Election Integrity Project California, Inc. has joined Judicial Watch, Inc., a non-partisan organization in Washington, D.C., in sending a National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) Section 8 notice of violation letter to California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

NVRA Complaint Excerpts

Dear Secretary Padilla:

From public records obtained on the Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) 2016 Election Administration Voting Survey (“EAVS”), and through verbal accounts from various county agencies, eleven (11) counties in California have more total registered voters than citizen voting age population (CVAP) calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey. This is strong circumstantial evidence that California municipalities are not conducting reasonable voter registration list maintenance as mandated under the NVRA.

This letter serves as statutory notice that Election Integrity Project California, Inc., a registered non-profit corporation in California, and Judicial Watch, Inc., will bring a lawsuit against you and, if appropriate, against the counties named in this letter, if you do not take specific actions to correct these violations of Section 8 within 90 days.

The following information explains how we determined that your state and the counties named are in violation of NVRA Section 8 and the remedial steps that must be taken to comply with the law.

1. Eleven California Counties Have More Total Registered Voters Than Citizen Voting Age Population

Based on our review of 2016 EAC EAVS report, the 2011-2015 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and the most recent California total active and total inactive voter registration records, California is failing to comply with the voter registration list maintenance requirements of Section 8 of the NVRA. For example, a comparison of the 2011-2015 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and the most recent California active and inactive voter registration records shows there were more total registered voters than there were adults over the age of 18 living in each of the following eleven (11) counties: Imperial (102%), Lassen (102%), Los Angeles (112%), Monterey (104%), San Diego (138%), San Francisco (114%), San Mateo (111%), Santa Cruz (109%), Solano (111%), Stanislaus (102%), and Yolo (110%). Our own research shows that the situation in these counties is, if anything, worse than the foregoing data suggest. For example, we contacted Los Angeles County directly this past June. At that time, county officials informed us that the total number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144% of the total number of resident citizens of voting age.

2. The NVRA Requires You to Undertake Reasonable Efforts to Maintain Accurate Lists of Eligible Registered Voters

3. Failure to Comply with NVRA Subjects You to Lawsuits and Financial Costs

In passing the NVRA, Congress authorized a private right of action to enforce the provisions of the NVRA, including Section 8. Accordingly, private persons may bring a lawsuit under the NVRA if the violations identified herein are not corrected within 90 days of receipt of this letter.

4. Avoiding Litigation

We hope you will promptly initiate efforts to comply with Section 8 so that no lawsuit will be necessary. We ask you and, to the extent that they wish to respond separately, each county identified in this letter, to please respond to this letter in writing no later than 30 days from today informing us of the compliance steps you are taking. Specifically, we ask you to: (1) conduct or implement a systematic, uniform, nondiscriminatory program to remove from the list of eligible voters the names of persons who have become ineligible to vote by reason of a change in residence; and (2) conduct or implement additional routine measures to remove from the list of eligible voters the names of persons who have become ineligible to vote by reason of death, change in residence, or a disqualifying criminal conviction, and to remove noncitizens who have registered to vote unlawfully.

5. Production of Records

Finally, pursuant to your obligations under the NVRA,15 your office and, to the extent that they keep records separately from your office, each county named in this letter, should make available to us all pertinent records concerning “the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency” of California’s official eligible voter lists during the past 2 years. Please include these records with your response to this letter.

I hope that the concerns identified in this letter can be resolved amicably. However, if we believe you do not intend to correct the above-identified problems, a federal lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against you may be necessary. We look forward to receiving your prompt response.

Sincerely,
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
s/ Robert D. Popper
Robert D. Popper
Attorney, Judicial Watch, Inc.

Here is the full six-page NVRA Letter to California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock