Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brown Defends Prison Guard Contract

Jerry Brown's traditional alliance with CCPOA, the prison guard union, has resumed, much to the chagrin of Republican lawmakers. The Chron reports:

Overall, the six contracts would, among other things, do away with imposed furloughs, increase state employees' pension contributions and temporarily cut pay for a year before giving top earners a raise in 2013. Schwarzenegger negotiated the same terms with other public worker unions last fall, and lawmakers approved those contracts.

But opposition to the new agreements was fueled this week when the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office concluded the six contracts would result in only about $179 million in savings next fiscal year for the deficit-plagued general fund, not the $308 million assumed in the 2011-12 budget approved by lawmakers last month. Those savings will disappear by 2012-13, the analyst said, when costs will begin to climb once again.

Republican lawmakers said the discrepancy is a major problem, because the state is facing a $26.6 billion deficit.

Brown's election must have seemed a blessing to the CCPOA, who have had long and prosperous relationships with California governors and with Brown in particular (see Joshua Page's informative post on that). Their abysmal relationship with Schwarzenegger, that culminated in a 2008 effort to recall him, is now behind them. Guard salaries were somewhat cut (to $92,000, which was subsequently balanced by allowing overtime); here are more details on the pay scale and contracts. We can expect the "toughest beat" rhetoric to resume its influence in California politics.

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