Judge calls Schwarzenegger’s furlough order illegal

By Andrew McIntosh
The Sacramento Bee
December 31, 2009

An Alameda Superior Court judge has ordered the Schwarzenegger administration to stop furloughing thousands of public servants who are members of three major public sector unions, including the Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, offering state workers a huge legal victory as 2010 begins.

In a ruling handed down late Thursday, Judge Frank Roesch said the governor’s reliance on provisions of the state’s Emergency Services Act to order mandatory furloughs was flawed and illegal, saying “the emergency necessitating them was the failure of the Legislature to pass the budgets” yet the administration continued the furloughs even after the budgets were passed.

Roesch also said that the furlough plan has “interfered with the objectives of agencies” whose activities were funded with special funds, not general fund revenues, including the processing of Social Security disability reviews.

Schwarzenegger Press Secretary Aaron McLear said the administration will appeal immediately and that state workers will continue to be furloughed pending ultimate resolution of the cases.

“In these tough economic times, there’s no reason that state workers should be shielded from the same economic realities the rest of the state is facing,” McLear said. “This is three of 24 lawsuits on the furlough issue — we’ve won some, we’ve lost some. Ultimately, it’s going to be decided in the California Supreme Court.”

The article continues at the Bee.

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