After then-California Gov. Gray Davis cut the state personnel budget by $1.1 billion last year, the corrections department kept spending, enough to pay the salaries of more than 500 correctional officers whose positions were no longer funded in the budget. The Sacramento Bee reports that the state’s prison system still has not made most of the job cuts it was ordered to make last year. Officials simply moved the costs into a category they called the “unfunded pay blanket.” Most of the costs were for overtime and part-time help.
The prison system has come under fire in recent legislative hearings for consistently ignoring its spending authority, running $500 million over budget this year, and adding 1,000 jobs to the payroll without legislative authorization.
“(Corrections) has been making unilateral decisions about who to hire, and the hiring decisions have no relationship to the amount of money budgeted, and that needs to end,” said Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who chairs the Assembly budget committee.