A state government office wrote a Dec. 1 letter announcing its plan to close a small rental car office. A union leader fired back in a letter that the state was showing Grinch-like timing with an announcement that scared workers. Craig Ruttle AP
A state government office wrote a Dec. 1 letter announcing its plan to close a small rental car office. A union leader fired back in a letter that the state was showing Grinch-like timing with an announcement that scared workers. Craig Ruttle AP

The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

The State Worker

Christmas Grinch avoided: State finding jobs for workers who feared layoffs

By Adam Ashton

aashton@sacbee.com

December 05, 2017 02:14 PM

State government won’t be the Grinch to a small group of workers it scared last week with notices that had some of them fearing for their jobs.

The Department of General Services on Dec. 1 published a letter announcing its intent to close an office that let state workers use state-owned cars during the workday.

The program has grown less popular, and was not used often enough for the state to continue running it, according to the notice.

Eight motor pool workers would be “impacted” when the offices closes on Jan. 31, according to a letter the department sent to their union.

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Steve Crouch, director of public employees for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39, said the letter worried workers who feared they’d lose their jobs soon after the holidays.

“I can’t imagine a worse time to notice employees that their future with your department is uncertain and soon they may be unemployed. I have to say, this tops the cake for callousness. It appears that this year's ‘Employer Grinch Award’ should go to the Department of General Services,” Crouch wrote in a letter last week.

State officials have since clarified that the workers will be moved to different assignments.

“They’re not going to be laid off. Everyone is going to find jobs,” Government Operations Agency spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said. “There will be training. There will be placement in other areas.”

The program catered to state workers who bicycle or take public transportation to their jobs. It allowed them to check out a car for out-of-town assignments. Their departments then would be billed for the use of the vehicles.

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton. Sign up for state worker news alerts at sacbee.com/newsletters.