State worker pay cut now a standoff
July 2, 2010
The courts ruled once again Friday in favor of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s right to pay state workers a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour until there is a new state budget agreement.
However, state Controller and Democrat John Chiang, who has repeatedly battled the governor on the issue, announced late Friday that he is in no hurry to implement the desired cuts. [LA Times]
Chiang, who controls the state’s payroll, said that such a widespread cut in salaries, even temporary, will not be easy because of the outdated state computer system and the technical issues involved.
“This is not a simple software problem,” Chiang said. “Reducing pay and then restoring it in a timely manner once a budget is enacted cannot be done without gross violations of law unless and until the state completes its overhaul of the state payroll system and payroll laws are changed. I will move quickly to ask the courts to definitively resolve the issue of whether our current payroll system is capable of complying with the minimum wage order.”
Chiang believes that if the pay cuts are not implemented properly, taxpayers could be exposed to “billions of dollars in fines and penalties” resulting from violations of state and federal labor laws.
The governor’s office dismissed the claim as “absurd.”