Well, this is a smack to the back of the head for Arnold and his short-sighted “furlough them all” policy:
An Alameda County judge has ordered furloughed state employees in nearly 70 departments to return to a regular work schedule next month, but he spared the state from immediately paying hundreds of millions of dollars in back pay while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeals the ruling.
Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the state’s largest civil service union, figures Roesch’s decision affects about 53,000 of its 95,000 members.
Judge Frank Roesch’s decision this morning underscored his Dec. 31 ruling that Schwarzenegger should not have furloughed workers in 69 “special fund” departments. Those departments get a significant portion of their budgets from sources outside the state’s general fund, which is the shrinking pot of money at the center of the government’s serial budget crises. The judge later ordered back pay for the furloughed workers. Schwarzenegger asked Roesch to postpone implementation of the ruling pending his appeal.
Ruling this morning, Roesch said furloughs should end now.(SacBee)
The way the budget generally works is that most of the big ticket items come from the general fund, K12 and higher ed, much of our debt service, most social programs, etc. However, these special funds support a plethora of other programs where either voters (usually) or the Legislature has provided for a specific funding source. Most of these funds are doing ok. So ok that Arnold wants to raid those funds to cover for the general fund. Why not just have 3 headaches when you have one gaping axe wound from the head now, right?
Well, anyway, most of these funds are semi-sacrosanct. So, they aren’t so easily tapped, at least without a vote of the people. And that’s what much of this has to do with legally. At the very least, it’s a slap on the nose.