It is hard to believe in a state that houses Silicon Valley, and some of the most advanced technology in the world, that the State of California is using computers from the dark ages. It is even more absurd that the state controller had to admit that the system is so old, that it is based on Vietnam area code, that is not even taught any longer. So when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to cut pay to 200,000 state workers in less than a month, he was told no-no Arnie. It will take at least 6 months to implement.

The Republican governor signed an executive order last week recommending the cut to minimum wage for most permanent state workers and terminating 10,133 temporary and part-time employees. He believes the state must take drastic steps to preserve cash over the next two months as the state continues to operate without a budget 36 days into the new fiscal year.

Chiang reiterated Monday that he will ignore the order and issue full paychecks to state workers. He disputes Schwarzenegger’s legal interpretation of a 2003 California Supreme Court decision, which the governor said mandates that the state pay only minimum wage to employees until a budget is passed.

But even if the governor’s legal reasoning proves to be sound, Chiang said, the state cannot logistically retool its payroll system in a matter of weeks as the governor has asked. And if the change eventually were made, Chiang said it would take an additional nine to 10 months to issue back pay to employees when the budget is approved.

The state legislature has refused to invest the $177 million it would take to update the state computer system. Oh well. There is always the option to go back to paper and pencil. 🙂

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