Judge rules Schwarzenegger has right to furlough workers

Sacramento BeeMarch 12, 2009 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can furlough about 15,000 state workers employed by constitutional officers and the Board of Equalization, according to a tentative ruling issued this morning by a Sacramento Superior Court judge.

The ruling from Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette, if made final, rejects arguments that because constitutional officers are independently elected they should control their own employees

The ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Republican governor against State Controller John Chiang affects employees in Chiang's department and those under Attorney General Jerry Brown, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Lt. Governor John Garamendi and the independent BOE. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, the lone Republican among the constitutionals, has not furloughed employees but did not side with the other constitutional officers in opposing Schwarzenegger's furlough. Like the others, he will have to furlough employees if the ruling stands.

Marlette could issue a final ruling later today after an afternoon hearing on the matter.

The governor and Dave Gilb, Schwarzenegger's director of the state Department of Personnel Administration, filed the lawsuit against Chiang after the controller refused to comply with an executive order that furloughs state employees two days per month.

Chiang, with the support of the other Democratic constitutional officers and the BOE responded that applying the order would violate the divided executive power of their offices and interfere their ability to execute their duties.

Read the full storyat sacbee.com

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