Governor Brown Proposes Merger of State Agencies To Save Millions of Taxpayer Dollars


SACRAMENTO – Taking action to trim government bureaucracy and save California taxpayers millions of dollars, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. today announced a long overdue plan to merge the state’s two personnel agencies – the State Personnel Board (SPB) and the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) – into a single California Department of Human Resources (CalHR).

“Study after study has called for consolidating the state’s redundant and disjointed personnel systems. It’s time to make those recommendations a reality,” Brown said. “As a unified, streamlined department, CalHR will save taxpayers millions of dollars and make government more efficient.”

Since 1995, more than half a dozen reports and studies have been issued by the Little Hoover Commission, Legislative Analyst’s Office, California Performance Review and California Research Bureau, calling for a comprehensive reorganization of the state’s personnel management system. The state’s increasingly complex and outmoded structure and processes have made it difficult to effectively recruit, hire, promote, classify and discipline state employees.

A department planning a reorganization of internal programs, for example, must consult with both DPA and SPB on classification, status and layoff issues; with DPA on pay, labor relations and all terms and conditions of employment; and with SPB on selection, promotional relationships and transfer determinations.

By unifying the SPB and DPA into CalHR, Brown’s plan will reduce positions by 15 to 20 percent, saving up to $5.8 million. Further savings will be achieved as CalHR streamlines operations and replaces outmoded personnel practices. The reorganization, which would take effect July 1, 2012, also calls for a new director to head CalHR and office space to be consolidated.

“The Administration’s goal is to provide top-notch personnel services to departments and employees more efficiently and effectively. This plan will accomplish that goal,” said Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Marty Morgenstern, who is also a former DPA director.

“Unifying our two personnel organizations will improve access to services for personnel staff, state employees and future job-seekers. We’re committed to making this work,” said current DPA Director Ronald Yank.

“Joining forces strengthens our leadership role and allows us to focus on high-level issues such as workforce planning and developing the next generation of state employees,” said SPB executive officer Suzanne Ambrose.

Brown’s plan was submitted today, along with letters, to the Little Hoover Commission (click here) and the Office of the Legislative Counsel (click here), as required by law. The Little Hoover Commission’s role is to review the plan and report its recommendations to the Governor and Legislature and the Office of the Legislative Counsel works to draft bill language.

After the plan is submitted to the Legislature, lawmakers have 60 days to consider the plan. The plan goes into effect unless rejected by a majority vote of either house during the 60-day period.

As required by Article VII of the State Constitution, the five-member State Personnel Board will continue to serve as an independent appellate body overseeing the merit principle.

Since taking office, Governor Brown has slashed spending in own office by more than 25 percent and ordered state agencies and departments to:

• Halt all non-essential state employee travel;
• Recover millions of dollars in uncollected salary and travel advances;
• Stop spending taxpayer dollars on free giveaway and gift items;
• Cut state cell phones and the passenger vehicle fleet in half; and
• Freeze hiring across state government.

This plan is part of the Governor’s efforts to cut millions in operational costs in state government.

A copy of the Governor’s plan can be found here.