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Paul Gann's Pay Initiative

September 03, 1986

Why do backers of initiatives fail to address the complete issue? They gloss over appendages to initiatives? Paul Gann recently stated on radio that his initiative applies to only about 7,000 public employees in the state. Either he was not being truthful or he was attempting to cover up the full impact of his initiative.

Maybe he is guilty of a little bit of both, especially in light of statements he has made more recently. He claims he did not intend for his initiative to include firemen and policemen. The fact is his initiative includes three separate groups of employees: (1) elected officials, (2) all public employees and (3) private contractors.

Gann claims the initiative is directed only at the exorbitant salaries and pensions of elected public officials. Elected public officials are not in the Civil Service system. They are not even in the same pension plan as Civil Service employees. Demagogues like Gann always try to incorporate all Civil Service employees in the same boat as the politicians and their lucrative pay and benefits.

Every Civil Service employee will be affected by this initiative. It will prohibit the carry-over of sick leave or vacation time from one year to the next. It does not take a cerebral giant to figure out all this is going to do is promote increased absenteeism. Sick leave and vacation benefits are negotiated and included in wage agreements. This initiative will penalize the conscientious employee for saving sick leave in the event of a severe illness.

The third phase of the initiative places limits on the pay of employees of private contractors who have contracts with public agencies. Will this limitation on private contractors and their employees mean companies like Kaiser Permanente or Cigna, which contract with public agencies for health care for their employees, be unable to because they no doubt have doctors who make over the salary limit?

What this initiative really does is deny all employees in the public sector the right to bargain for wages or benefits. It also affects some employees in the private sector. Do the backers of this initiative really want to deny anyone, whether in the public or private sector, the right to bargain for wages? Do they want a vote on all wages for everyone? What ever happened to the constitutional requirement that initiatives could only address one subject?

People better start reading about these issues for themselves rather than taking another person's word.

CHARLES C. GOODWIN

San Dimas

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