The state employees are marching. The editorial boards are wringing their collective hands. The Controller is standing firm. But guess what — Governor Schwarzenegger’s executive order on state spending issued last Thursday does not cut anybody’s pay.

Typical of the reporting is a story in yesterday’s Sacramento Bee which says, inaccurately, that the Governor instituted “a temporary pay cut.”

If anyone took the time to actually read the executive order, one would discover that it merely orders the Director of the Departments of Finance and Personnel Administration to
“work with the State Controller to develop and implement the necessary mechanisms, including but not limited to pay letters and computer programs, to comply with the California Supreme Court’s White v. Davis opinion to pay federal minimum wage to those nonexempt FLSA employees who did not work any overtime.”

Whether or not to cut state employee pay is exclusively in the Controller’s hands, barring a court order. The Governor’s order amounts to not much more than a serious suggestion. The reporters and pundits should take a deep breath, and take a moment to actually read the printed words.

..In a related matter, Controller John Chiang testified before the Legislature yesterday that "it would take at least six months to reconfigure the stay’s payroll system to issue blanket checks at the federal minimum wage …"


This computer programming challenge may be true, of course. But then why is it not just as daunting to *increase* the salary of state employees? I don’t recall this wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth last time state employees were granted a pay raise.