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May Revision of the 2019 – 2020 State Budget

Posted: 5/13/2019 Tags: budget legislation legislature policy Tags Views: 1161

Governor Newsom released his May Revise of the state budget on May 9, 2019. While forecasting a budget surplus of $21.5 billion for the budget year beginning July 1, the May Revise predicts slower economic growth in the years to come and warns of the possibly detrimental economic impact of even a mild recession.

The Governor’s proposed budget would increase the state’s rainy day fund to $16.5 billion to build resiliency in the event of an unpredicted recession. It also provides for some one-time funding to assist with cost-of living assistance for the middle class, the housing crisis, K-12 schools, and homelessness. The proposal kicks off legislative deliberation over the budget plan with a June 15 deadline for the legislature to send a budget to the governor.

A few highlights of importance to ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation
The January budget proposal included $1.2 billion for increased employee compensation (including proposed salary increases for most supervisors and managers), higher health care costs for active employees, and the state’s contribution to prefund retiree health care costs for active employees. This amount is updated slightly to reflect health benefit enrollments and costs. ACSS will continue to meet with CalHR, advocating for increases in excluded employee salaries for 2019 – 2020.

Pension Contributions
The budget includes $6.8 billion for the state employer’s contribution to CalPERS and a supplemental payment of $3 billion to CalPERS. The supplemental payment is expected to save $7.2 billion in state employer pension costs over 30 years.

Paid Family Leave
The Governor plans to bolster California’s Paid Family Leave program over the next few years and makes budgetary adjustments to plan for the expansion of the program. ACSS’ legislative advocates are busy supporting legislation which would for the first time make Paid Family Leave available to excluded employees, a long-standing goal of ACSS.

Governmental Reorganization
The proposed budget reflects the Administration’s intent to reorganize elements of state government, notably the Division of Juvenile Justice. With a proposed effective date of July 1, 2020, ACSS will work to protect the interests of members moved from CDCR to a new department under the California Health and Human Services Agency.

The Governor’s complete budget summary and draft can be found here:

http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/


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OPEB Increases for Some Excluded Employees Effective July 1, 2019

Posted: 4/26/2019 Tags: policy Tags Views: 2875

CalHR announced changes to the Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) program for excluded employees not related to a bargaining unit. All state employees have begun prefunding retiree healthcare. The contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The goal is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree healthcare and ensure your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

For excluded and exempt employees not directly associated with a bargaining unit (e.g. E48, E97, E98 and E99), prefunding of retiree healthcare will change from 0.8% to 1.6% of salary effective July 1, 2019 with a matching employer contribution. Click here for more information about this announcement on CalHR’s web page.

As the state budget progresses, CalHR is expected to make other announcements increasing excluded employee salaries effective July 1, 2019 and increasing the contributions required to prefund retiree healthcare.

Contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative if you have further questions.


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Lobby Day 2019 Was a Huge Success!

Posted: 3/15/2019 Tags: legislation Lobby Day meeting Tags Views: 911


On March 6th, 2019, ACSS members marched into the Capitol and met with legislators to discuss important issues affecting managers, supervisors and confidential state employees. Lobby Day was a resounding success with 44 members in attendance. Thanks to the dedicated members who attended, our presence at the Capitol was visible and our voices were clearly heard! For 19 consecutive years, ACSS members have participated in Lobby Day to deliver the ACSS message in person to Assemblymembers and Senators.

This year, we continued to lobby for the resolution of salary compaction. Salary compaction continues to harm California state government operations and ACSS is committed to fixing unaddressed compaction problems by encouraging legislative support for this issue. Also, we asked for support of Assembly Bill 271 (Pay Equity for All State Employees, written by Jim Cooper, AD 09). AB 271 will ensure that California state employees are paid equally and appropriately for performing substantially similar work functions. And lastly, ACSS continues to protect pensions for excluded employees. We are dedicated to the sustainability of CalPERS, but we urged lawmakers to oppose legislative efforts that encourage the state to abandon pension promises or replace defined benefits with alternative savings plans that do not provide retirement security to public servants. Lawmakers listened to our message and acknowledged our concerns.

ACSS thanks the attendees who helped make ACSS Lobby Day 2019 a huge success. Over the years, ACSS has worked hard and progressed to make our presence known, and is now a well-recognized association that lawmakers pay attention to, thanks in part to the efforts of members who attend Lobby Day.

Click here to view all Lobby Day 2019 photos.


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New Director Appointed at CalHR

Posted: 3/8/2019 Tags: Tags Views: 1614

On March 5, 2019, Gavin Newsom appointed Eraina Ortega as the new Director of the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Ortega replaces the acting CalHR Director Adria Jenkins-Jones. ACSS has a long history of working closely with CalHR on ensuring that the rights and pay of all excluded employees are fair and protected. We are eager to build a strong relationship with Ortega in ongoing meetings to discuss matters that affect ACSS Members.

Ortega has served as inspector general in the Office of Audits and Investigations at the California Department of Transportation since 2018. She was chief deputy director of policy at the California Department of Finance from 2013 to 2017. Ortega was a senior legislative representative at the California State Association of Counties from 2008 to 2013. She served as legislative advocate and manager at the Judicial Council from 2001 to 2008 and as a policy analyst at the California Legislative Analyst’s Office from 1999 to 2001. Ortega earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. Click here to read more about Ortega’s biography and qualifications.


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Supreme Court Pension Ruling Eliminates Ability to Purchase "Air Time" Service Credit – No Impact on California Rule

Posted: 3/4/2019 Tags: legislation policy Tags Views: 1519

The California Supreme Court published a March 4, 2019 opinion in Cal FIRE Local 2881 v. CalPERS. The lawsuit challenged the portion of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) which eliminated the ability of state employees to purchase up to five years of additional CalPERS service credit, known as “air time.”

Although the Court’s decision upholds the portion of PEPRA which took away the opportunity to purchase air time service credit, the ruling is narrow in scope. The Court held the ability to purchase air time was not a constitutionally vested pension benefit protected by the contract clause. It is important to note this decision has no impact on those who purchased additional service credit prior to 2013.

Because the Court concluded the opportunity to purchase additional retirement service credit was not protected from impairment by the contract clause, its elimination does not implicate the State Constitution or the “California Rule.” Since 1955, the courts have held under the California Rule that once pension benefits are granted to a public employee, they are vested and cannot be modified for the duration of an employee’s career.

While this decision has no impact on the California Rule, two significant pension cases which may impact the California Rule remain pending before the State Supreme Court. ACSS previously filed a request that these cases be reviewed because of the lower court departure from precedent concerning vested pension rights. We are also working closely with the law firm handling these cases to ensure your vested pension interests and the California Rule are protected.

ACSS’ legislative efforts to preserve and protect members earned and promised pension benefits continue. ACSS is also part of Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of more than 1.6 million public employees and retirees that seeks to educate the public, lawmakers, and the media regarding public employee pensions.

ACSS will continue to keep you apprised of important pension issues and inform you of actions taken to protect the interests of excluded state employees.


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ACSS Board of Directors Elects New Statewide Officers

Posted: 1/24/2019 Tags: Board Meeting events meeting Tags Views: 974

On January 19, ACSS held its first Board of Directors meeting for 2019 in San Jose. The first order of business was to fill vacancies on the ACSS Board of Directors and the Statewide Officers. Tina Allen was appointed for the position of Chapter 505 Board Member. Tina and Chapter 508 Secretary/Treasurer LaChelle Adams (elected during Delegate Assembly in July 2018) were sworn into office by reciting the Oath.

ACSS President Frank Ruffino and ACSS Executive Vice President Elnora Fretwell resigned from their Statewide Officer positions, which left two out of five vacancies for Statewide Officers. Frank Ruffino accepted a political position with State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Elnora Fretwell recently retired. At the January 19th Board of Directors meeting, VP of Governmental Affairs Todd D’Braunstein became the new ACSS President via no contest. Chapter 503 Board Member Suzanna Nye was elected as Executive Vice President. And Chapter 507 Board Member Reynold Roth was elected as VP of Governmental Affairs.

>> Read More...


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2019-20 State Budget: Responsible, with Lots of Bold One-Time Investments

Posted: 1/15/2019 Tags: budget legislation policy Tags Views: 2163

On January 10th, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2019-20 State Budget that would fund state government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2019.

State spending next year would total just over $209 billion, with $144.2 billion in general fund and $59.5 billion special funds spending.  Another $5.4 billion in state bond spending makes up the difference.  This is about a 4% increase over current fiscal year spending.  State general fund revenue is booming.  According to the governor, there is $21 billion in surplus revenue.  In November, the LAO had predicted a $15 billion surplus.  This is in addition to the $16 billion held in the state’s rainy day fund and other reserve accounts.  The Newsom proposed budget will sock an additional $1.8 billion into the rainy day fund alone.

The governor preached responsible budgeting while also touting his many well-publicized new budget initiatives.  

On the fiscal responsibility front he sounded much like Jerry Brown in recent years.  He said his Administration is preparing for the inevitable next recession, plans to build the largest state budget reserve in history, and noted that his new budget initiatives are largely one-time funding proposals.  

The governor spent the rest of his time outlining what he called bold investments in California’s future, including plans to increase access to affordable health care and prescription drugs, address the housing and homelessness crisis, and provide universal preschool for four-year-olds, among other expansions in education funding.  

Click here to read a quick rundown on a few items that will specifically interest ACSS members...
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ACSS President Frank Ruffino Appointed to Deputy Treasurer for Fiona Ma

Posted: 1/9/2019 Tags: election politics Tags Views: 2095

On January 7, 2019, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma appointed ACSS President Frank Ruffino as Deputy Treasurer of Pension and Benefits for the State Treasurer’s Office. He accepted the position and was sworn in during Fiona Ma’s inauguration ceremony as the 34th Treasurer of the State of California. Ma has been a supporter of ACSS for many years and understands the issues facing California State managers and supervisors and other excluded employees. In return, ACSS has endorsed Ma in her campaigns and we congratulate her in her new position as State Treasurer. Ruffino and Ma have continued to build a strong professional relationship and ACSS views Ruffino’s new position as a positive step.

ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster comments, “Frank’s hard work, service and dedication to ACSS including holding multiple leadership positions, has been invaluable to the members. ACSS members have enjoyed many wins over the years of Frank’s service and wish to congratulate Frank on this amazing honor and achievement he is receiving in this new appointment.”

Ruffino said, “I am humbled, honored, grateful and proud that an ACSS member has been given this special opportunity by the Treasurer to serve the State of California.”

At the next ACSS Board Meeting on January 19th, 2019, an election for the vacancies created by the departure of the Executive Vice President and President will be held among the current Board of Directors members.  


Fiona Ma was guest speaker at an ACSS Board Meeting in January 2016. Pictured here with ACSS President Frank Ruffino.


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Retroactive Salary Increases for Supervisors and Managers related to BU9 and Certain Supervisory and Managerial classes related to BU10

Posted: 12/19/2018 Tags: legislation policy representation Tags Views: 1461

On December 12, 2018, the Department of Human Resources (CalHR) released Pay Letter 18-35 which covers supervisory and managerial engineers, along with certain supervisory and managerial scientist classifications.  While other supervisory and managerial employees received increases on July 1, 2018, these employees did not.

Effective retroactively to July 1, 2018, S09 and M09 Excluded Employees and certain S10 and M10  classifications will receive a General Salary Increase of 4.5 percent. According to the latest information from CalHR, it is expected that this salary adjustment will be reflected in the December pay warrants. The retroactive portion is expected to be processed separately by the State Controller’s Office reflecting five months of the retroactive salary increase.

Pay Letter 18-35 also includes new provisions for longevity pay for certain employees with 20 or more years of service and geographic pay for certain employees working in Bay Area counties. These new pay differentials are provided to supervisory and managerial engineers, but not to other excluded employees. ACSS immediately approached CalHR regarding interest in extending Longevity Pay and Geographic Pay to all excluded employees.


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Membership Drive Winner Donates Prize to Camp Fire Victims, ACSS Matches

Posted: 12/14/2018 Tags: membership Tags Views: 424


Red Cross Gold Country CEO Gary Strong
with ACSS President Frank Ruffino and
ACSS Member Outreach Coordinator Charlotte Hoar.

Every year during the fall, ACSS holds a Membership Drive to encourage excluded state employees to join ACSS with a chance to win a prize. This year, the Membership Drive was held from September 24th through November 2nd and the grand prize of a 65-inch LG Smart TV would be given to one new member.

Monica MacNicholl was selected at random as this year’s winner. Monica works as a Staff Services Manager at the California Department of Rehabilitation in Sacramento and she is now a member of ACSS Chapter 502. However, Monica did not want to keep the TV prize. Instead, she wanted to donate the monetary value of the prize to the Red Cross to go to the victims of the recent Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.

The value of the TV was $1,000. ACSS decided to match the donation to donate a total of $2,000 to the American Red Cross to help Camp Fire victims. ACSS President Frank Ruffino and Member Outreach Coordinator Charlotte Hoar visited the Red Cross office in Sacramento. They met with American Red Cross (Gold Country Region) CEO Gary Strong to deliver the check in person in Sacramento.

Approximately 50,000 people* have been displaced and 14,000 homes** have been destroyed in and around the town of Paradise due to the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history that raged from November 8 through November 25th and scorched 153,000 acres. Several ACSS members were also affected by this devastating incident. ACSS is dedicated to serving members of the community by making this much-needed donation to the American Red Cross.

Frank Ruffino commented, “Monica's decision to donate her prize is a true example of an altruistic act, an unselfish concern for the welfare of others. We appreciate her for reminding all of us the spirit of giving shouldn’t be seasonal, but an everyday choice. As a result, ACSS matched her gift which provides Red Cross critically needed funds to help the victims of Camp Fire. It was a proud moment for all of us!” It is a small way that ACSS can help out the community, especially as we approach the holidays.


ACSS President Frank Ruffino hands a check to
American Red Cross Gold Country CEO Gary Strong.

*According to the LA Times
**According to CNN


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