Today's breathless press release states that California Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered a massive state hiring freeze. Will that be anything like Gov. Gray Davis' utterly fake freeze, during which tens of thousands of state employees were hired? Or Gov. Arnold Schwarenegger's false freeze, during which he allowed a pile-on of tens of thousands more government workers?
For the truth, Californians must ask Ken Mandler, the sole guy in Sacramento who religiously follows the actual hirings -- by position. What Mandler always finds: a Sacramento "hiring freeze" is as real as wood nymphs and cold fusion.
If Brown really manages to stop hiring in Sacramento, it will be a miracle. Neither of the other guys had the cojones to do it, following their identical announcements.
Brown's press release today states:
"We have a $25 billion deficit, and we must do everything possible to save money and make government leaner and more efficient," Brown said.
The hiring freeze is comprehensive, applying to vacant, seasonal and full and part-time positions. It prohibits hiring outside contractors to compensate for the hiring freeze, converting part-time positions into full-time positions and transferring employees between agencies and departments.
This action is part of Brown's efforts to save money this fiscal year and to cut $363 million in operational costs next fiscal year.
"The hiring freeze will be in effect until agencies and departments prove that they can achieve these savings," Brown said.
Poor guy -- Jerry Brown's going to get those sneaky, bloated department heads and managers at like Health and Human Services, and the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Education, to prove they can achieve savings?
Good luck with that.
But if he doesn't pull it off -- if he doesn't become the first governor in memory to actually, truly, freeze the hiring in Sacramento, then the frighteningly unaffordable California state pension blob is going to keep growing -- with every single new state government hire Jerry Brown allows.
Longtime Republican consultant Jonathan Wilcox predicted, shortly before Brown was elected, that Brown would force his huge, rich, labor-union backers to join him in publicly questioning the unsupportable pensions owed to state workers.
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California state workers pay only a tiny fraction into their retirement accounts but are then guaranteed the equivalent of $1 million for a low-skilled state clerk (and much greater riches for all those earning more than $100,000.),
And, moreover, California state workers can retire in their 50s, at the height of their productivity and ability.
Which is insane, nuts and whack.
So, is Jerry telling the truth? Or pulling an Arnold?