In a written statement, the agency says it hired some managers to do double duty when it was implementing a new computer system and needed people to test it, as well as to catch up on a backlog of other tasks:
After first exhausting a number of resource options including voluntary overtime, mandatory overtime, seasonal clerks, students, retired annuitants, arduous pay and other compensation options, CalPERS then appointed some skilled and experienced staff - at the manager and rank and file levels - to Additional Appointments to accomplish additional work.
But experts interviewed by the Bee are questioning the practice because, unlike rank-and-file workers, salaried employees don't normally get paid overtime. Instead they are expected to work more than 40 hours a week when necessary, then take compensation time off when their schedules are less busy.
Experts interviewed by the Bee say hiring the managers for extra jobs seems to deviate from this standard:
...state personnel experts contacted by The Bee say they've never heard of managers taking hourly positions in their own department. The practice, they said, may violate federal labor law.
At the very least, said former state personnel director Dave Gilb, it circumvents the state's intent to set fixed wages for salaried management jobs.
"It's giving more money to people who are not eligible for overtime," Gilb said. "It's not right."
CalPERS says the practice was allowed by a specific regulation:
An Additional Appointment is when a state civil service employee is appointed to a second position in state service to perform additional duties. This is a permissible practice in State government dating back decades and outlined in California's Personnel Management Policy and Procedures Manual (Section 350) and a practice that has been used by other agencies.
How much money was involved? The Bee reported the following information, which it attributed to CalPERS:
CalPERS paid $45,000 in November to a total 50 managers, an average $900 each. It paid the wages at the rank-and-file job overtime rate, time and a half. The money doesn't count toward pension calculations, the fund said.
Now a spokesperson for the State Controller's Office tells us it is looking to see how much CalPERS and other agencies have used additional appointments. We'll let you know when he gets back to us.