As California Legislative leaders were slashing billions of dollars from the state budget earlier this year, they also embarked on a hiring binge, adding 336 employees to their offices, according to a San Francisco Chronicle special report. The hiring spree provided further proof of just how out-of-touch Sacramento lawmakers really are. Among our favorites: Four employees were hired to staff the Assembly's Select Committee on K-16 Articulation, Access and Affordability. The only problem? The committee has yet to hold a public hearing this year. Or there were the two staffers - with annual salaries of $85,416 and $46,500 and the two $1,500-a-month interns who were hired for the Select Committee on Air Quality. You guessed it. That committee also has not yet held a hearing.
It should be noted, however, that the total number of Legislative employees and the total compensation paid to them is down slightly this year in comparison to last. Still, there's no getting around the fact that the Legislature was feathering its nest at a time when it also was slashing government spending across the board and lecturing other state agencies about the need for belt-tightening. "Everyone has to feel like we're all being treated equitably and this belies that," Barbara O'Connor, director of Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Sacramento State University, said to the paper. "I don't care what reasons they give. It absolutely belies that."