CDCR “overstated” overtime needs
Jon Ortiz | Sacramento Bee
Authorities running California’s prison system have overstated how much money they need next year to cover staff overtime, according to a new report by the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst.
Using estimates by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 budget includes $207.2 million to pay correctional officers’ OT. But the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests that figure is double what it should be and that lawmakers should cut it by $104 million. Prison officials have other ways to fill vacancies…such as using less-expensive permanent intermittent correctional officers.
Also, the analyst said that the department has enough money to cover the difference if it uses money earmarked to fill vacant positions…(Full text at Sacramento Bee)
An overstatement is a misrepresentation, exaggeration; a lie. And, Corrections has been playing the vacancy-overtime shell game with the state legislature for decades–Small wonder the LAO decided to say something about it this time around.
We may infer from Governor Brown’s business-as-usual budget, CPO’s should reasonably expect business as usual: New hires will be predominately P.I.E.’s, ‘overtime-avoidance’ protocols will reappear and the game of vacant post musical chairs will continue and, indeed, flourish. Proving, once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
But what of budget reform? Is it really wise to employ a system wherein agencies routinely submit inflated “over-stated” budget needs to an agency which exists largely to catch the lies and offer realistic numbers?
Would it not be wise to establish penalties to discourage budget offices from presenting fluff budgets? After all, the intention of fudging the numbers is to have funds available for unauthorized expenditures. And, again, over-stated budgets are nothing more than DOCUMENTED LIES perpetrated to skirt Constitutional checks and balances! There ought to be a law.
If the government code required a penalty of, say, 10% of the “overstated” sum and deducted it from the agency’s final budget, I daresay Governors, Agency Secretaries and Directors will take steps to ensure future budget proposals are accurate and truthful.
But this is the way California does business–The consistent and utter lack of legislative outrage over faux finances ensures the game will continue. –