Did Gov. Brown really cut staff costs?

by CalWatchdog Staff | March 30, 2013 7:26 pm

Brown, Face the Nation, April 29, 2012[1]March 31, 2013

By Wayne Lusvardi 

Gov. Jerry Brown has received a lot of media attention lately with his news release that he cut his personal staff budget by about 50 percent compared to his predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

In an attempt to fact check Brown’s claim, this writer sent the following email to Brown’s public relations staff as well as a request made by telephone: 

Email sent March 27, 2013 at 10:16 a.m.: 

“1. Where did the staff that was cut back from 185 under Gov. Schwarzenegger to 81 under Gov. Brown go? Were they laid off?  Transferred to other different jobs?  Or were they just placed on budgets of other departments but still working in same capacity for governor?  

“2. How much in Special Funds and General Funds were used to fund Gov. Brown’s staff in 2013?   

“3. What are the revenue sources used for the Central Service Cost Recovery Fund: bonds, water bond revenues, special fund borrowings, etc?   

“4.  How much did Gov. Brown rely on General Funds and Central Service Cost Recovery Funds to pay his staffing costs in 2013?  How much did Gov. Schwarzenegger depend on General Funds and Central Service Cost Recovery Funds or Special Funds to fund his staff in 2009-10?” 

As of the publication of this article, Brown’s staff failed to respond to the above questions. The requested deadline for receiving the information was 5 p.m. March 27.  At issue are the 111 staff reductions that Brown claims he made since 2010: 

Governor’s Office Staff Reductions — 2010, 2012, 2014




No. of Positions

No. Positions Claimed to be Reduced

Amount Funding (in millions dollars)

Sources of Funding
















+ 7



What happened to the 111 staff reductions Brown claims remains unverified.  Were they laid off or merely transferred to other state departments?  How many employees retired?   How many open positions where no one was hired yet were reduced? 

We don’t know the answers to these questions because Brown’s staff has failed to disclose what really happened. 

Money transfering? 

The official budget documents for 2010, 2012, and 2014 found online indicate that Brown shifted about 20 percent of his staff costs from the state General Fund to the Central Service Agency Fund[5]. Assembly Bill 1389[6] (Senate Budget Committee) created the Central Service Agency Fund in 2008. The Central Service Agency Fund is essentially a device to transfer bond funds, special fund revenues and/or borrowings from special funds for transfers into the General Fund. 

Reported Sources of Staff Funding — California Governor’s Office


General Funds

Central Service Cost Recovery Fund[7]




Millions Dollars


Millions Dollars





















As shown in the table above, the Central Service Agency Fund only accounts for about 17 to 21 percent of the governor’s staff costs.  How Brown cut about 50 percent of his staff costs remains an unanswered question. 

As reported back on Aug. 1, 2012 on Calwatchdog.com, from 2008 to 2011 the State borrowed $34.16 billion[8] from Special Funds to transfer to the General Fund.  Additionally, a portion of the overhead costs of the governor’s Strategic Growth Council[9] — composed of high cabinet level department heads — is apparently partly funded from Proposition 84 water bonds.  The veil or curtain being used to transfer these revenues into the General Fund is the Central Service Agency Fund. 

Silence often speaks louder than words.  Did Brown actually cut his personal staff costs by half?  Thus far, the answer apparently can only be found in the silence.

  1. [Image]: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/04/30/gov-brown-punts-on-jobs-creation/brown-face-the-nation-april-29-2012/
  2. 2009-10: http://2010-11.archives.ebudget.ca.gov/Enacted/StateAgencyBudgets/0010/0500/department.html
  3. 2011-12: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/StateAgencyBudgets/0010/0500/department.html
  4. 2013-14: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/StateAgencyBudgets/0010/0500/department.html
  5. Central Service Agency Fund: http://www.oclaw.org/research/code/ca/GOV/11270.1./content.html
  6. Assembly Bill 1389: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1351-1400/ab_1389_bill_20080930_chaptered.html
  7. Central Service Cost Recovery Fund: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/GovernorsBudget/0010/0500.pdf
  8. $34.16 billion: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/08/01/fund-transfers-are-purging-earmarks-from-state-budget/
  9. Strategic Growth Council: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/05/18/will-cap-and-trade-cure-californias-deficit/

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2013/03/30/did-gov-brown-really-cut-staff-costs/