State Workers Angry At Me!

Katy Grimes: A story I wrote last week (State Printer Decides Election Date?) about the Office of State Printing being able to make decisions about future election dates based on printing schedules, created a stir when I suggested that Gov. Jerry Brown should consider cutting the agency as a budget-savings measure.

Within hours, my editor Steven Greenhut received a strange email from someone on a state government Department of General Services email address, that read “Charlie: tell them what you know about Katie Grimes [sic] when you get on your home computer!

I remembered that I worked with person by the same name on the address at my husband’s commercial printing company, which is now closed, although I don’t know if it’s the same person.

Within hours of receiving the email, Eric Lamoreaux, the acting deputy director and spokesman for the Department of General Services, also sent an email to my editor and me, stating that the state printer is not responsible for printing ballots. We included Lamoreaux’s information on the story.

Greenhut asked Lamoreaux about the email and he responded in an email as follows: “I have no idea. Looks like someone’s note to themselves that they accidently copied you on. Thanks for sharing.” He didn’t seem concerned by something like this being sent on an official DGS email account.

And then Monday while I was sitting at a lunch table along with 20 affordable housing activists, in the sixth floor cafeteria at the Capitol, a call came in on my cell phone from a “restricted” number – usually that’s how a call from a state agency appears on the phone screen. The caller did not identify herself as a state employee, but told me that I don’t know what I am writing about and need to stop.

She threatened that state employees were going to be getting even with me soon in an “open forum” confrontation in public. I’m looking forward to any open discussion about this topic.

I asked her if she was calling about my recent story about office of State Printing. She denied it, but in the next breath began to talk excitedly about evil “private printers,” and how great the state printer was. This is fine — we get positive and critical phone calls all the time, although the caller did make reference to my husband’s company.

On the story, the comments left by state printing employees were unusually personal, and referred to my husband’s printing company.

I can appreciate that state employees are fearful that jobs, salaries and/or benefits may be cut given the state’s severe budget troubles, but we watched as our printing business went under during these tough economic times. Government employees who work in print shops don’t have to worry about making payroll or building business in this highly regulated and highly taxed state.

They are angry, but it’s the state’s taxpayers and small-business owners who have the real right to be angry about the current state of affairs.

MARCH 9,  2011

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