Schwarzenegger gets his furloughs back

A San Francisco appellate court applied the brakes Tuesday to a judge's order to end "Furlough Fridays" for tens of thousands of state workers, keeping furloughs in place.

The 1st District Court of Appeal's decision temporarily maintains Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough policy for employees in about 70 state departments who were supposed to resume a regular work schedule this week.

And, with three months left until furloughs are scheduled to end, the appellate court's decision signals that state employees aren't likely to return to full-time work in April — and maybe not until the governor says so.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said that for now the ruling averts other moves the governor has been weighing to cut payroll costs if furloughs aren't an option.

"We budgeted for the furloughs," McLear said. "If the unions are successful in blocking furloughs, it would guarantee pay cuts and layoffs. The governor is not going to shield state workers from economic realities facing other California families and businesses."

The three-day-a-month policy slashes furloughed workers' pay by nearly 15 percent. Many state employees say that furloughs increase their job stress since demand for services is unabated.

Tuesday's action came just one day after attorneys representing the governor asked the appellate court to block Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch's order to end furloughs for state workers in so-called "special-fund" departments.

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Jon Ortiz

The Sacramento Bee