Portantino's offices to stay open

But Assemblyman's battle with Speaker John Pérez still rages on.

October 05, 2011|By Joe Piasecki,
  • Assemblyman Anthony Portantino spoke during the 9-11 Memorial Service held at Memorial Park in La Canada Flintridge on Saturday, September 11, 2010. St. Bede's Boy Scout Troup 507 placed a wreath at memorial site. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino spoke during the 9-11…

Staffers for Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) gained some job security this week after the battle between their boss and Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) took a new turn.

Pérez on Tuesday lifted orders requiring Portantino staffers to take unpaid furloughs later this month. All employees in Portantino’s Sacramento and Pasadena offices had been told to stay home between Oct. 21 and Nov. 30.

The Assembly Rules Committee initially ordered the furloughs in July, accusing Portantino of overspending his member budget.

Portantino denied overspending. Instead, he said his budget had been reduced as punishment for his June refusal to support the state budget proposed by the Assembly’s Democratic leadership. Portantino said he opposed the budget because it contained cuts to funding for higher education and local redevelopment agencies and because he opposed prison realignment. He has since pushed for public disclosure of all Assembly members’ budgets.

Pérez said in a statement Tuesday that the furloughs were canceled after two Portantino staffers left their jobs and two others asked for leaves of absence — reducing the amount of money Portantino was spending.


Portantino confirmed the furlough orders had been lifted, but there was no sign of peace between the legislators.

“I’m happy for the staff and happy for my district, but I’m disappointed the speaker is holding on to the delusion that this has anything to do with anything other than retaliation for my independent budget vote,” Portantino said.

Through spokeswoman Robin Swanson, Pérez said Portantino is not cooperating with efforts to control his office budget and that future hires “must be accompanied by a spending plan that details how Mr. Portantino will remain within his allocation.”

Earlier Tuesday, Portantino issued a statement asking whether a task force Pérez assembled to address the transparency of Assembly budgets truly had been formed or was meeting in secret.

John Vigna, press secretary for Pérez, said the task force has not yet convened but is expected to file a report as early as January.

In a curious twist, the two people who left Portantino’s office now work for Pérez or the Assembly Rules Committee, which ordered the furloughs.

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