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Gov's order hard on local DMV workers

July 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The state's budget crisis is now a personal crisis for potentially tens of thousands of California workers. The governor's executive order eliminates thousands of part-time and temporary jobs. And it orders that some 200,000 workers receive the federal minimum wage: that's $6.55 per hour. All this while state lawmakers haggle over how to close a $15-billion deficit. It's a political standoff that's had California operating for a full month with no budget.If we're looking for the human element to the governor's executive order and the current budget battle, it can be found at the DMV.

Read the complete text of the executive order

Part-time workers here are among the hardest hit when it comes to the new budget cuts. And Thursday, tempers were tested at the Van Nuys location and others across the Southland.

Some long faces were part of a long line that wrapped around the DMV in Van Nuys.

"I think it's insane and foolish to make everybody pay for their inability to balance our budget," said Katy O'Brien, a frustrated DMV customer.

In Pasadena, more of the same. Long waits and closed doors fed into the frustration.

"Everybody waiting in line here, I'm trying to figure out what the heck's going on here," said a Pasadena DMV customer.

Across California, DMV offices were forced to close two hours early. This after Governor Schwarzenegger signed an executive order that triggered layoffs for thousands of part-time and seasonal state employees.

"Not enough employees to satisfy the customers that we have in here," said DMV employee Yolanda Rosser.

Yolanda Rosser was not laid off, but she's one of the thousands of other state employees who had her pay slashed to the federal minimum wage as a result of Schwarzenegger's plan.

"I have bills to maintain, just like everybody else," said Rosser. "I have children, I have a mortgage that has to be paid."

But the legality of Schwarzenegger's plan was quickly called into question.

"I will not comply with the governor's executive order," said California State Controller John Chiang to a cheering crowd.

State Controller John Chiang said the governor's plan would spark costly lawsuits.

The Republican governor Thursday apologized to state employees, but said he is trying to avoid a cash crisis. Although that does little for state employees facing an uncertain future.

"How am I supposed to get to work on $6.55 an hour?" asked a state employee.

The executive order was signed Thursday. It's not clear when or if it will go into effect. The State Assembly Speaker, Karen Bass, said that she's confident that a compromise on the budget will be reached before the end of August, which is when state employees would feel the pinch.

There is also word that some state employees with the DMV are set to stage protests Friday.

 

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