On Dec. 19, 2008, due to the state’s mounting fiscal crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-16-08, which implemented two furlough days per month for all state workers. These two days are effective Feb. 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010. CCPOA challenged the legality of the order as it applied to Bargaining Unit Six staff, arguing that correctional institutions are 24/7 operations, and officers, unlike other state workers, would not have the ability to take unpaid days off. In court, the state testified that although officers could not take the day off in the month earned, furlough hours would be banked as leave credits to be used on later dates. Sacramento Superior Court found that the governor does in fact have the executive power to implement furlough hours and upheld the issuance of furlough leave hours to correctional officers, saying that CCPOA could not demonstrate that staff was harmed by the process.
On Feb. 20, 2009, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the 2009-2010 budget into law. This budget extends to June 30, 2010. Unfortunately, the budget included a $26 billion deficit. As a result, on July 1, 2009, the governor declared a “state of emergency” and issued Executive Order S-13-09, which implemented one additional furlough day (for a grand total of three days) effective July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010. Also included was the order that state employees must use their accrued furlough days “prior to using vacation, annual leave, personal holiday, holiday credit, personal leave plan (PLP) credit, and compensatory time off (CTO).” Because of the deficit in the budget, the state could not pay its bills and started to issue IOUs. Pressure was mounting on the state Legislature to amend the budget and close the gap.
In the meantime, CCPOA filed an appeal of the furlough issue in Alameda Superior Court, citing the inability to burn furlough hours and the suffering of irreparable harm by Bargaining Unit Six staff. We are awaiting a court date on this issue.
On July 28, 2009, the governor signed a budget amendment submitted to him by the Legislature. This budget retains the three furlough days for state workers and, of particular concern to CCPOA, includes an order to cut $1.2 billion from CDCR’s budget.
The administration and the Legislature are in the process of determining where and how CDCR will cut $1.2 billion dollars. The governor has submitted to the Legislature his proposed budget reduction package, which if adopted would save up to $1.2 billion. This package contains a host of elements designed to cut spending, including inmate releases, reduction of some felonies to misdemeanors, changes to paroles, etc. However, both Republican and Democratic leaders have also stated that they are developing packages designed to meet the $1.2 billion reduction to CDCR’s budget. At this point, it is impossible to speculate how the $1.2 billion will be cut from CDCR.