California restricts hiring after dual-paycheck revelations
Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has restricted state departments' hiring authority following revelations that hundreds of public employees were receiving pay for second state jobs in addition to their normal salaries.
Workers receiving more than one state paycheck, known in official parlance as "additional appointments," were found in a variety of departments and agencies, including the California Public Employees Retirement System and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and in several state hospitals.
The Brown administration did not ban the practice, but any such hire must now be approved by its Office of Human Resources.
"It appears that in some cases people were paid additionally for the job they were hired to do in the first place," said Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), who introduced a bill Wednesday to ban salaried state employees from holding more than one state job. "It's inappropriate at best and potentially abusive," he said.
Gorell said the proliferation of double paychecks highlights the need for more legislative oversight of the executive branch.
"It's clear that the governor and his administration don't fully understand what's happening in these agencies," he said.
Documents provided by the state controller's office show that 571 nonunion employees hold more than one position in various departments. The records do not show what those employees were paid.
The Sacramento Bee reported that dozens of state corrections officers received additional compensation beyond that of their regular jobs — some of which paid up to $20,000 per month. The paper also reported that the chief psychiatrist at Napa State Hospital, who receives an annual salary of more than $275,000, was receiving an additional $125 per hour for work as a staff psychiatrist.
"It's a scam," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy agency. "Many people in all kinds of different jobs work for a set salary understanding that sometimes that means working long hours. Unfortunately, that's not always the culture of government."
A spokesman for the state's largest public employee union said the extra pay was for managers and other nonunion employees who are not eligible for overtime. Most unionized workers receive overtime if they put in extra hours.
A spokesman for CalPERS said it had allowed salaried workers to receive extra pay since June 2011 to help the agency launch and test a new technology project. Brad Pacheco said that using existing workers saved CalPERS an estimated $1.6 million that would have been spent to hire outside consultants and train new staff.
The human resources agency issued a statement saying that officials were "conducting a full review to determine whether there is any justification for continuing this practice."