Case Details


The Court Upheld The Governor's Right To Institute Furloughs In Offices Of Other State Constitutional Officers

Filing State



California Superior Court




Schwarzenegger v. Chiang, No. C061648 (Cal. App. 3d Dist.)


The court held that the constitutional officers were “civil executive officers” under California statute, and their employees were therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the Personnel Board with respect to the non-merit aspects of their employment. Furloughs are considered a non-merit aspect of employment. The court disagreed with the contention of the constitutional officers that this would allow impermissible interference by the governor in the powers and duties of the constitutional officers, because the governor’s ability to order furloughs is limited by California statute to circumstances in which the governor has a “legitimate reason to reduce the hours of state employees in this manner, one that is related to the legitimate needs of state agencies. . . in this case at least, the governor’s action was not arbitrary or capricious, and does not impermissibly interfere with the powers and duties of other elected civil executive officers.”

Case Description

A state budget crisis led the governor to issue an Executive Order directing the state Department of Personnel Administration to implement “a furlough of represented state employees and supervisors for two days per month” from February 2009 to June 2010. The Executive Order also requested “other entities of state government not under my direct executive authority” to implement similar cost-saving measures. State employee unions challenged the order