While other state workers wait on pins and needles to see whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger follows through on a threat to cut their pay to $6.55 an hour, the judiciary’s rank-and-file has been quiet. That’s because the proposed wage-cut order (.pdf) would only affect employees of agencies that Schwarzenegger controls directly. And much as the governor might like to manhandle the courts, they remain safely ensconced in an independent — and full-paying — judiciary.
Constitutional officers would also be exempt from Schwarzenegger’s order, so Attorney General Jerry Brown and his Department of Justice appear to be immune from the wage scare. Not that the governor hasn’t asked Brown and others to share the pain. His proposed order “requests” agencies not under his authority to join in the wage-slashing fun by “implement(ing) similar mitigation measures.” Legal Pad hasn’t heard of any department heads moving to meet Schwarzenegger request, especially not Controller John Chiang, who’s already said he’s not cutting anyone’s paycheck.
That’s not to say that state attorneys won’t be affected if the governor does sign the order. Leaders of CASE, the union representing state lawyers, administrative law judges and deputy attorneys general, have already said they’re ready to take “immediate actions in all available forums” should Schwarzenegger try to cut wages.
— Cheryl Miller