Home > News > Gov. Brown Proposes Return to Furloughs

Gov. Brown Proposes Return to Furloughs

A Flash Report from the Workers’ Compensation Executive, the sister publication of the late, great Appeals Board Reporter, a personal favorite of your humble blogger and a publication deeply missed by the workers’ compensation community, tells us of Governor Brown’s proposal to reduce the budget deficit by reducing the hours of state employees.

Do you remember the furloughs?  Do you remember having a handful of days during the month when the Boards’ doors were [physically] closed to justice and their lights [literally] turned off to the truth (and everything else)?  Perhaps we can expect those days once more.

The proposal includes longer business hours and fewer business days, which doesn’t really help those of us working conventional hours of 9-5.  Even the attorneys and adjusters that actually work longer hours usually reserve the hours before 9 and after 5 to catch up on solo work – reports, paperwork, research, preparing for hearings, and even checking our favorite daily workers’ compensation defense blogs (hint, hint).

What this proposal would provide is a substantial decrease in services (20%) for a tiny decrease in cost (5%).  In other words, the Governor is proposing increasing costs to employers and insurers by 15%

In all fairness to Governor Brown, he was active in vetoing several anti-employer bills and signing several defense (a.k.a. California) friendly bills in 2011.  However, if we overlook the issue of whether the Governor can close portions of the government not funded out of the general budget to “reduce the budget deficit,” your humble blogger submits that, perhaps, the Governor and his administration is taking the wrong tack.

Instead of hobbling the Board offices with a 20% reduction in productivity (let’s be honest here, how productive will you be working 12-hour days when you used to work 8-hour days, especially in those last four hours?) the Governor should be seeking to increase services in workers’ compensation, in quantity AND quality.

With Christine Baker and Rosa Moran enjoying recent confirmation, the efforts should be to make outcomes at the WCAB consistent, predictable, and in accordance with the law.  The various Board venues should be open to provide speedy justice to employees and employers alike – and justice, mind you my dear readers, is not “fairness” or “generosity” with the employers’ capital and the insurers’ reserves.  It is, instead, the correct application of the law without any hooks or crooks.

Instead, with a reduction in services, applicants’ attorney will now be able to threaten the defense community with overworked government employees, delays in closing files, and an overwhelming flood of cases allowing injustice to regularly slip through the growing cracks.  You need a date for that MSC?  Check back in six months.

Come on, Governor, cut the fat, not the muscle, and tighten the guts, not the belt!

Categories: News
  1. Tom Harbinson
    May 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

    As you know, the employers in the State of California, except government entities, fund the administration of the “workers’ compensation program” and reportedly the Governor has illegally diverted money received from the employers to the general fund to alleviate the budget shortfall. A reduction in service by reducing State employee work hours compounds the problem in having “justice for all”!

  1. May 22, 2012 at 8:09 am

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