California's government is in a state of civil war. The battlegrounds: courtrooms from San Francisco to Sacramento. The fight: furloughs.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration spent $228,000 on furlough litigation as part of an eight-month contract that ended in June with Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard, a Sacramento-based law firm.
"These legal costs wouldn't be so high if people weren't fighting the furloughs," said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger's Department of Personnel Administration.
"That's ludicrous," said Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents about 95,000 state workers. "What audacity, to blame the very people they're hurting with these furloughs."
Local 1000 has been a party in several furlough lawsuits. Its in-house lawyers have handled the litigation, so the union doesn't have a breakdown of its furlough lawsuit costs.
SEIU and several other state worker unions together and separately have launched at least a dozen furlough lawsuits in San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento courts. All contend that Schwarzenegger's furloughs are either illegal pay cuts or are misapplied.
The current three-day furloughs reduce the pay of about 215,000 state workers by about 14 percent, so the lawsuits have millions of dollars at stake.
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