February 23, 2024

The California Transportation Foundation (CTF) is accepting nominations for its 35th Annual Transportation Awards.  The nomination deadline is Friday, March 1, at 11:59 p.m.

PECG urges our Caltrans members to submit entries to recognize your outstanding work and the good work of the department – particularly in the Project/Program categories.

CTF guidelines can be found by clicking here.  The application forms are available on their website here.  Award winners will be revealed at the CTF Transportation Awards Gala held on June 13.  

Of course, if you are aware of a nominating process for awards that acknowledge the good work of other Unit 9 employees, we will be happy to share the information with PECG members.

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In case you missed it, PECG President Brad Shelton’s op-ed opposing CalEPA’s return to office orders can be accessed on the PECG website here.  The password is PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive).   It appeared on Thursday, February 15 in The Sacramento Bee and multiple other publications.  


February 20, 2024

With the California primary election just weeks away, many PECG members have reached out seeking PECG’s recommendations for candidates on the Tuesday, March 5, 2024 ballot.

If you are interested in PECG’s primary election candidate recommendations, please click here.  The password is currently PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive).  PECG’s candidate recommendations are based solely on each candidate’s experience, record in public office, and stated positions on issues affecting PECG members.  If there is no recommendation listed for your Assembly or Senate district, it means PECG did not make an endorsement in that race.

PECG, of course, urges members to get out and vote on Election Day or make certain that you get your ballot in the mail or into a drop box by March 5.


February 16, 2024

As it has done many times over the years, the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG) is currently assessing the need for the Legislature to create a mandatory continuing education requirement for the licensees it regulates.  In fact, BPELSG recently emailed licensees a message and a survey to help them assess the need for a continuing education program.   

That message can be viewed here, and the survey can be accessed here.  As you will see, the message and the survey strongly suggest that continuing education is necessary for the health and welfare of the public. 

PECG’s position on continuing education is outlined in PECG’s Policy File and was established decades ago.  While supporting continuing education, PECG opposes a legislatively mandated, board-imposed program that comes with additional fees and time requirements.  State engineers, land surveyors, geologists, and related professionals currently benefit from on-the-job continuing education every day in their work.  They must also meet a number of profession and State-required certifications, trainings, and other mandates as part of their employment. 

Here is PECG’s full position on continuing education:

PECG Policy File

4.10 Professionalism
4.10.1 Professional Development and Continuing Education
4.10.1.2 PECG Supports the following policy regarding continuing education:
4.10.1.3 Requirements for professional development should be met primarily through working in the appropriate professional field.
4.10.1.4 Continuing education should not be legislative-mandated requirement for maintenance of professional licensing.
4.10.1.5 Continuing education opportunities should be provided through the various professional societies in cooperation with institutions of higher learning.
4.10.1.6 Self-certification and policing is encouraged.

PECG encourages you to take the time to share your perspective with BPELSG on mandated continuing education in your field.  The survey is short, can be completed in less than five minutes, and closes on March 1, 2024. 

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Engineers Week kicks off on Sunday!  To celebrate, PECG is sponsoring Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 127which recognizes February 18 to February 24, 2024, as Engineers Week, and ACR 130 that declares February 22, 2024, as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.  ACR 127 is authored by Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin (Thousand Oaks), who worked previously as an engineer at Teledyne Systems and at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab.  Assembly Member Luz Rivas (San Fernando Valley), the author of ACR 130, is an MIT-educated electrical engineer.  You can read each measure by clicking on the links above.

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PECG offices will be closed Monday, February 19, in observance of Presidents’ Day.  Please enjoy your three-day weekend. 


February 9, 2024

One of the benefits of being part of PECG – and covered by the Unit 9 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – is that you have access to paid bereavement leave when faced with the loss of a loved one.  California law does not require employers to provide paid bereavement leave benefits. 

Fortunately, PECG MOU Article 5.2 (Bereavement Leave) does provide for up to three days of paid bereavement leave after the death of a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, sibling, or any person residing in your immediate household at the time of death.  If the death requires you to travel more than 400 miles one way from your home, you may be granted an additional 2 days of leave.  Other leave credits, including sick leave if used in accordance with the MOU, are also available to cover additional time that you may need.  Read the complete Article 5.2 here.  The password is PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive).  If you need help accessing this or any other benefit, please contact your nearest PECG office. 


February 2, 2024

If you are hoping to promote or just looking to move to a new state position, PECG wants to remind you about Article 15.1 (Personnel Files) of the PECG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  

Article 15.1 provides all Unit 9 members with access to the materials in their official personnel file.  Perhaps more importantly, the MOU specifies that negative material shall be purged after three years. Please take the opportunity provided to you by the MOU to remove negative or unflattering materials from your file to ensure it is ready for reviewby a potential employer.  

All it takes is a quick email to your supervisor or personnel analyst to set up a time to review your file.  Identify items that are old or outdated and ask your supervisor or analyst to assist in their removal.  Before pursuing new opportunities, be sure to check back and confirm that outdated files have been removed, and your file is in order.  Please read Article 15.1 for the complete details.  The password is PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive).

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Each month, PECG publishes a newsletter – the Informer – to keep members up-to-date on the latest developments of interest to state engineers and related professionals.  The Informer is printed and sent every month to thousands of PECG members via U.S. Mail.

As we prepare the February edition, we just wanted to remind you that there is another option.  Like nearly 1,700 of your colleagues, you could choose to receive an email every month that directs you to the latest Informer posted on the PECG website along with the password to access it.  To give the online viewing experience a try, please view the latest Informer, and dozens of archived Informershere.  The password is PECGdelivers!(case-sensitive). 

If you find that you enjoy the online viewing experience, and want to reduce your waste stream, please reply to this email and let us know that you would like to “opt out” of the mailed, paper Informer.

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PECG continues to advocate in all venues that Unit 9 employees should be allowed to telework to the fullest extent possible, per the Department of General Service’s Statewide Telework Policy.   As a reminder of PECG’s position, please see the Weekly Update from January 23 here and this News of Note item from last week.


January 26, 2024

CalPERS is hosting in-person Benefits Education Events (CBEE) in Riverside next month to educate members in the area about retirement programs and benefits available to them.

There’s no cost to attend these events, which will take place on February 2 and 3 at the Riverside Convention Center (3637 5th Street, Riverside, CA 92501).  Attendees can choose either date.  The same schedule runs from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and classes are repeated throughout both days.

Some classes at the CBEE are designed for early through mid-careermembers and others target members nearing retirement.  Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, and deferred compensation.  The deferred compensation class is sponsored by the California Department of Human Resources’ Savings Plus Program.  

In addition, sessions on my|CalPERS & Your Retirement Options, and Social Security will apply to everyone, regardless of their time in state service.

To view the schedule for the Riverside events, click here.  Members are encouraged to register online for their preferred date and to speed up event check-in, but registration isn’t required.  Walk-ins are welcome.  Please check the CalPERS webpage for future education events or to view the video series on planning your financial future. 

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Speaking of retirement plans, leaving state service does not mean your relationship with PECG must end.  Fortunately, PECG provides a low-cost retired membership that delivers the same excellent service and many of the benefits of regular membership.  

For just $8 per month, PECG retired members under age 70 are automatically enrolled in a $1,500 Basic Life Insurance plan and also receive $1,500 of accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.  At age 70, your dues will drop to $4 per month because the basic life and AD&D insurance coverage is no longer provided by PECG’s insurer.

But retired members, regardless of age, continue to receive PECG Weekly Updates and the Informer newsletter to keep you up-to-date on important news, including PECG’s work to protect your pension, health care, and other retiree benefits.  And, as a retired member, if you have any trouble with your retirement benefits, a PECG staff member is just an email or phone call away.

You will also continue to receive PECG’s wall and pocket calendars and enjoy PECG’s low-cost group auto, homeowner, and supplemental insurance options, as well as substantial savings on consumer goods and vacation discounts.

Signing up is easy and can be done in a matter of minutes with the online application on the PECG webpage here.  The password is PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive). 

When you go off to enjoy your well-deserved retirement, we hope that you will continue to be part of the PECG family.  If you have any questions about your PECG membership or retirement, please email pecg@pecg.org or contact PECG’s headquarters office in Sacramento at 916-446-0400 (or at 1-800-338-1480 if you are outside of California).


January 23, 2024

As many PECG members are aware, the State of California – your employer – has used the start of the new calendar year to backtrack on its commitment to telework. 

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), the Department of Conservation, and the Department of Fish and Wildlifein recent weeks have shared their plans to require all employees to return to the office at least two days a week this spring.  In his January state budget proposal, the governor proposed the elimination of the telework stipends that provide modest monthly stipends for working from home. 

PECG has made its position clear to the Administration at every opportunity over the last three-plus years – Unit 9 employees should be allowed to telework to the fullest extent possible, per the Department of General Service’s Statewide Telework Policy.  And under PECG’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), PECG members are appropriately paid monthly stipends of $50 (Remote Centered) or $25 (Office Centered) to provide a modest offset to the cost of working from home. 

At the end of last week, PECG received official notices of CalEPA and the Department of Conservation’s return to the office orders.  PECG will immediately request Meet and Confer meetings with these agencies to object to this mandate.  PECG will schedule similar meetings with any other departments in response to return to work plans.  PECG will point out (again) that mandating a certain number of days in the office is inconsistent with the Statewide Telework Policy, and is simply unnecessary to deliver for California taxpayers, as has been proven since March 2020.  

Mandates also undermine the well-established benefits of teleworking – reduced carbon emissions and congestion, downsized office space to cut costs, and improved work/life balance for all employees.  We will also remind the state that return to office orders will lead to the departure of large numbers of highly trained, experienced, and often licensed engineers and related professionals to other employers who prioritize getting the work done – not putting butts in seats without any identified operational need.

The results of the Meet and Confer meetings on return to office orders are uncertain.  PECG cannot unilaterally stop return to office orders or alter the telework policies of state agencies as it has long been considered an employer right to establish workplace locations for employees. 

At this time, PECG has yet to be invited to the bargaining table to discuss the proposed elimination of telework stipends.  PECG’s position is that stipends are warranted to offset the cost of doing the State’s business from a personal residence.   

PECG will continue to fight for the right to telework “to the fullest extent possible” and for telework stipends for Unit 9 employees.  Please look for future updates with the latest information in the weeks ahead


January 19, 2024

Welcoming a new child in the New Year?  Don’t forget about NDI-Family Care Leave available to all PECG members (rank and file and supervisors and managers) enrolled in the Annual Leave program.  This important benefit provides up to 6 weeks of 50% wage replacement (which can be supplemented to 75% or 100% with employee annual leave credits) to bond with a newly arrived child (through delivery, adoption, or foster care).  The benefit can be used at any time within the child’s first year of arrival in the home, and doesn’t need to be taken consecutively.  NDI-FCL can also be taken to care for an ailing family member. 

For employees who give birth, NDI-Family Care Leave picks up where Enhanced Non-Industrial Disability Insurance (ENDI) leaves off: ENDI covers pregnancy, delivery, and recovery periods as documented by a medical provider.  NDI-Family Care Leave provides bonding time after recovery. 

Please see CalHR’s website here for additional information about the program.  For more details about this groundbreaking benefit, please see Article 4.14 of PECG’s 2022-25 MOU.  The webpage password is PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive).  Still have questions?  Email pecg@pecg.org or call your local PECG office for assistance.

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The start of the new year is also a good time to remind PECG members about the Dependent Re-verification Program (DRV), under which all state employees and retirees with spouses, domestic partners, children, and other dependents enrolled in a state health care plan must provide documentation that those family members are eligible to continue receiving medical and dental benefits.  

The DRV process runs on a three-year cycle with set deadlines for state employees and retirees to submit eligibility documentation based on your birth month.  According to the State, failure to complete the DRV process will result in the cancellation of health and dental insurance for unverified dependents.  For complete DRV details, including a list of acceptable documents to verify dependency status, please see CalHR’s website by clicking here.  You can also view more information about the program on the CalPERS website here.

The following chart illustrates the three-year schedule:


January 12, 2024

This week, Governor Newsom released his proposed 2024-25 State Budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2024. 

As expected, the Administration and state lawmakers will be dealing with a budget deficit of $38 billion this spring.  While significant, the Administration’s deficit estimate is lower than the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) $68 billion deficit forecast made in December.  To close the deficit, the governor proposes to tap the rainy day and other reserves($13 billion), make budget cuts ($8.5 billion), borrow from and shift spending to other funds ($9 billion), and delay and defer previously planned spending ($7 billion).

The result is a spending plan that totals $291.5 billion ($208.7 billion general fund) next fiscal year.  This represents about an 8% reduction in spending from the current year.  The governor’s proposed budget maintains $18 billion in budgetary reserves to help address future budget deficits, which the LAO has predicted.

Importantly, the proposed budget provides funding for the Unit 9 general salary increase on July 1, 2024 – per PECG’s 2022-25 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The Unit 9 pay raise is part of the $1.3 billion in new funding the budget proposes for increased employee compensation, health care costs for active state employees, and retiree health care prefunding for active employees in 2024-25. 

The budget does not propose furloughs, personal leave days, or any other similar reductions in state employee salaries.  To cut costs, the budget does propose the elimination of telework stipends through collective bargaining, reductions in state employee vacant positions, and deferring state employee payroll costs from June 2025 to the 2025-26 fiscal year.  This accounting trick has been used during previous deficits to reduce costs and does not impact the timing of payroll payments to state employees.

In response to a question during his budget press conference, the governor rejected the notion that the state was in a budget “crisis.”  He said the State was “prepared and will manage” the deficit while continuing to provide essential services to Californians. 

The governor’s proposal is just the start of the process.  Every part of the budget will now be reviewed and ultimately approved by the State Legislature over the next six months.  PECG will be there every step of the way to protect the interests of Unit 9 employees and will keep members up to date on the important developments throughout the process.  To read the summary and the details of the Administration’s 2024-2025 budget proposal, please click here.

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There is some better news.  PECG is happy to report that effective January 1, 2024, the Mass Transit and Vanpool Commute program subsidy will increase to $315 (from $300) per month for all Unit 9 employees.  As you may remember, the transit and vanpool subsidies were nearly tripled in October 2022 thanks to PECG’s 2022-25 MOU.   

The MOU also tied future Unit 9 transit and vanpool reimbursement levels to the maximum allowable federal subsidy set each year by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  This year, the IRS has increased the subsidy by $15 to $315 a month. 

The monthly subsidy can be used for public transit passes sold by state agencies or purchased directly by Unit 9 employees.  The monthly reimbursement is also available to vanpool drivers and riders.  Unit 9 employees may also split the $315 reimbursement between transit and vanpool costs.  To learn more, please access the MOU’s commute program article here.  The website password is PECGdelivers! (case-sensitive).

State agencies and departments have been notified about the increase, but it may take a few weeks for some of your workplaces to catch up with, and implement, the increased reimbursement. If you have trouble receiving the increase for the month of January, please email pecg@pecg.org

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In recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, PECG offices will be closed on Monday.  Please enjoy the three-day weekend.


January 5, 2024

Happy New Year!  We are happy to announce that at its December meeting, the PECG Board of Directors voted unanimously to increase significantly the complimentary Basic Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) benefit provided to all active PECG members as part of your membership. 

Simply, effective January 1, 2024, PECG members are automatically provided $10,000 in life insurance (increased from $5,000) and $5,000 in AD&D coverage (up from $1,500).  There is nothing you need to do – the coverage is included at no cost as part of your PECG membership!  PECG’s leadership hopes the increased coverage will provide additional peace of mind to members and their families.  

PECG members also have the option to purchase up to an additional $521,000 in life insurance and up to $255,000 in dependent coverage.  The low monthly premiums (taken through payroll deduction) offer members an opportunity to provide financial security for their family members easily and affordably.

PECG members may also apply for Supplemental Life, Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity insurance at group rates generally lower than individual policies.  Please email insurance@pecg.org for more information.