State may sue CCPOA over owed funds

Jan. 26, 2010

By STEVEN GREENHUT

The Schwarzenegger administration has threatened legal action against the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association — the prison guards’ union — if its officials continue to refuse to pay the millions of dollars the union owes the state to reimburse taxpayers for the time its leaders spend on union business.

According to the administration, CCPOA is supposed to pay the state for the salaries and benefits for its top leaders, who spend their careers doing union business yet remain on the state payroll and receive government pensions. Yet since 2006, the union has not paid what amounts to approximately $4 million, according to a spokeswoman for the state Department of Personnel Administration.

The union, which did not return my call, has agreed to repay the state several times, but it has never coughed up the funds. The union, administration officials say, has disputed the amount of the payment, at one point insisting that it owes the state 10 percent less than the amount it has been billed. Yet it has not paid anything, not even the lower amount.

“It is unacceptable CCPOA refuses to pay the state what it is owed for time their members take off to run their union and perform union activities,” Rachel Arrezola, a spokeswoman for the governor, told me. “The state has tried to work with the union and has exhausted every avenue — short of going to court — to recoup money owed.  CCPOA’s delay in reimbursing the state is only costing California taxpayers precious dollars and if they continue to refuse, we are prepared to move forward with litigation.”

The administration and the guards’ union have been locked in another legal dispute over the administration’s furlough program — something the guards say illegally forces some guards to work with reduced pay. The administration won the latest court ruling. The union has long been one of the most powerful political forces in Sacramento, and Controller John Chiang, who is taking the union’s side in the pay issue, has received donations from the guards.

The administration might begin legal proceedings this week on the union leave issue.

3 comments

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  1. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 29 January, 2010, 10:04

    Just wanted to thank you for checking me out on my Twitter account. Appreciate your taking interest in your new e-pen pal.

    You won’t find anything particularly subversive about me. I’m not funded by a left-wing think tank, or by anyone for that matter. I’m just an average joe who thinks there are too many right-wing blogs running around doing damage. The right-wing has succeeded in wiping the dismal record of President Bush off the map and putting the blame for our problems on President Obama. I’m damned if I want to see them do the same thing here in California.

    I do not believe that government is the cause of all our problems. I do not believe that the Republican campaign to starve state government so they can “drown it in the bathtub” is the right way to go. I do believe that we need members of both parties to work TOGETHER (what a concept!) to help solve our state’s problems, not hunker down in their ideological bunkers and hurl abuse at the other side.

    So when I think you’ve gone over the top in criticizing pensions, or state government, or Democrats, I’ll do my best to respond. Obviously, one guy doing this in my spare time cannot compete with three people doing this full-time for pay (by the way, you don’t indicate your funding source on your blog). But I’ll give it my best shot.

    Have a nice weekend.

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  2. Sammy Jo
    Sammy Jo 29 January, 2010, 10:56

    Why doesn’t the State just send those persons, “Off Work” back to their home institutions?

    What’s the matter with Arnold? Why has he, (and the State for that matter) waited so long for this “Debt” to accumulate?

    …….and you wonder why the Great State of California is in debt!

    Reply this comment
  3. Jim
    Jim 11 March, 2010, 13:32

    Well said Sammy. If a business ran the same way, it would be bankrupt.

    What we have now is essentially a state government paying workers to work against the best interest of the state. Bottom Line: I am PAYING for correctional officers to lobby the state for MORE of my money instead of tending to the prisoners they were hired to watch.

    Reply this comment

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