Schwarzenegger Sues State Controller|to Enforce Furloughs

     SACRAMENTO (CN) – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sued State Controller John Chiang to force him to comply with the governor’s executive order imposing two-day a month furloughs on state employees beginning this month. Six groups have challenged the plan and lost in a consolidated hearing on Jan. 30, the governor says.




     The governor ordered the furloughs as a way to address the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit.
     “Following the Judge’s ruling, several state constitutional officers indicated that they did not believe the Governor’s Executive Order implementing furloughs applied to their employees. These constitutional officers included the State Controller, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendant of Public Institution, Insurance Commissioner, and Attorney General. Petitioners are informed and believe and thereon allege that members of the State Board of Equalization have taken a similar position.
     “On February 3, 2009, the State Controller’s counsel sent an improper ex parte communication to Judge Marlette [who ruled in the consolidated cases, filed, like this one, in Superior Court] via a letter asking for clarification as to whether his order applied to these constitutional officers. The Controller’s letter attached letters from the other constitutional officers setting forth their position regarding the furloughs. …
     “On February 5, 2009, Judge Marlette issued a minute order expressing no opinion on the Controller’s request for clarification as to whether his order applied to the constitutional officers. …
     “Following Judge Marlette’s February 5, 2009 Minute Order, the State Controller has taken the improper and incorrect position that the Executive Order does not apply to employees of other state constitutional officers or employees of the State Board of Equalization and that the Governor has no authority to furlough those employees. In addition, Petitioners are informed and believe and thereon allege that the Controller takes the position that Judge Marlette’s final amended ruling does not include these same employees of the constitutional officers or State Board of Equalization. Finally, Petitioners are informed and believe and thereon allege that the Controller has refused, and is continuing to refuse, to comply with the Executive Order furloughing state employees by not complying with implementation of the Executive Order for employees of the state constitutional officers and State Board of Equalization.
     “On February 5, 2009, CCPOA’s [the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association] petition in Case No. 34-2009-80000137 was heard by Judge Marlette. On that date, Judge Marlette confirmed his tentative ruling issued the day before. This ruling reaches the same conclusion as the court’s decision in Case Nos. 2008-
80000126, 2009-80000134 and 2009-80000135, and confirmed the Governor’s authority to furlough state employees. This ruling also directs the Controller to comply with the furlough of state employees in the same manner as the previous ruling of the court. …
     “On February 9, 2009, CDFF’s [California Department of Forestry Firefighters] ex parte application for a temporary restraining order enjoining the furlough of employees in bargaining unit 8 was heard by the Honorable Timothy M. Frawley in Department 29 of the Sacramento Superior Court. Following the submission of briefs and oral argument, Judge Frawley denied CDFF’s ex parte petition for a TRO. …
     “There are approximately 15,000 employees employed by the constitutional officers and State Board of Equalization that are included within the Executive Order, some or all of which are also encompassed within Judge Marlette’s January 29, 2009 ruling. In his ruling, Judge Marlette clearly stated that his order applies to all state employees represented by the labor organizations appearing before him covered under the Dills Act. The majority of employees of the constitutional officers and State Board of Equalization are members of the State Bargaining Units that are represented by the labor organizations appearing before Judge Marlette on January 29, 2009 and are covered under the Dills Act.
     Gov. Schwarzenegger seeks a writ of mandate enforcing the furloughs. He is represented by David Tyra with Kronick, Moskovitz & Tiedemann.

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