An Open Letter to the Editor of the Sacramento Bee:
The Sacramento Bee plans to run a story tomorrow that unfairly sensationalizes an allowable human resource practice that CalPERS used to deliver our state of the art computer project to our members and employer partners in a prudent, cost-effective and responsible way.
CalPERS used the practice of Additional Appointments during the development and launch of our computer project. An Additional Appointment is when a state civil service employee is appointed to a second position in state service to perform additional duties. This is a permissible practice in State government dating back decades and outlined in California's Personnel Management Policy and Procedures Manual (Section 350) and a practice that has been used by other agencies. However, you wouldn't know it based on the Bee's reporting of this practice as some new "revelation."
After first exhausting a number of resource options including voluntary overtime, mandatory overtime, seasonal clerks, students, retired annuitants, arduous pay and other compensation options, CalPERS then appointed some skilled and experienced staff - at the manager and rank and file levels - to Additional Appointments to accomplish additional work. Employees in these Additional Appointments performed additional duties, usually at lower pay, after hours and on weekends -- in addition to their day jobs -- to test the new computer system and to help clear backlog requests related to retirement applications and benefits to families following the death of a loved one.
Approximately 50 employees held Additional Appointments in the recent November pay period, earning on average $900. In a seven month period, from May to November 2012, those who worked in Additional Appointments earned, on average, $1100 per month.
The compensation cannot be used toward employee pension calculations nor do employees earn any additional benefits for the work.
The practice avoided the use of high paid consultants and hiring permanent employees who would have to first be trained in technical and complex areas and then laid off after the project. It saved taxpayers money and helped deliver a critical project that will benefit for decades to come the CalPERS members and employers whom we serve.
We recognize that different individuals may have different interpretations of this practice. We relied, in good faith and with the best of intentions, on the language in the PMPPM which clearly allows "Additional Appointments." Further, CalPERS has also formally reached out to both the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and the State Personnel Board (SPB) for clarification of their interpretation of this human resource practice. Regardless of the clarified approval of Additional Appointments which we eventually expect, CalPERS plans to complete the use of these positions by the end of the fiscal year.
We are proud to have done everything we could, including the use of Additional Appointments, to respect and protect both the taxpayers and the incredible employees of CalPERS. Most importantly, we are proud to serve those who serve millions of Californians every day of their careers.
In spite of CalPERS urging the Sacramento Bee to write a fair and complete story, the Bee rushed to print a sensationalized story rather than to collect a full and complete understanding of this issue.
Now you know the other side of the story.
Katie Hagen, Chief
Human Resources Division
Retired manager Posted On : Friday, Jan 18, 2013 (18 weeks, 6 hours)
Well put Katie. I didn't read the bee's article, nor do I need to. CalPERS made a prudent and well considered decision...BRAVO!