PUBLIC INFORMATION -- "For state workers who’ve ever dreamed of taking revenge on a bad boss — or wished to do something nice for a particularly
good one — there’s a new web site that will give you the opportunity
to do just that. Well, not you: State workers in California will have to wait," reports Malcolm Maclachlan for Capitol Weekly.


Aizonu.com is set to launch within the next three weeks.
It will let state workers in at least six states log
in to rate current or former bosses. The site is designed
to make most of its revenue from a combination of advertising
and small fees charged to anyone who wants to buy a
full report on a particular boss — for instance, someone deciding on whether or not to
take a job under that manager. 

While the site is based out of the Sacramento area
and was inspired by the founder’s experience working for the state of California, it
won’t include reviews on bosses in the Golden State. There
is a huge amount of state worker data available via
public records; such data is the backbone of the Capitol salary database
offered by the Capitol Weekly and the state worker
salary database operated by the Sacramento Bee.


But Aizonu.com seeks to verify that anybody who signs
up to write evaluations actually worked for who they
say they work for. This is intended to keep people
honest — for instance, preventing someone from trashing an
ex-lover or difficult neighbor who they never actually
worked for.


California lacks that kind of data for its huge state
workforce. While public employee data is readily available
across several state agencies, the ability to link
individual employees with particular bosses is lacking.


“We could tell you that employee John Doe works at the
Department of Social Services, makes X amount a year,
was paid this amount on overtime, has a job classification
of staff services manager,” said Garin Casaleggio, a spokesman Controller John
Chiang’s office. “We wouldn’t be able to tell you who their boss would be. We could
tell you all the managers in that department. But you
wouldn’t ever be able to draw a line and say ‘who does this employee manage?’”


“It seems almost like you’d have to verify with each department,” said
Steve Caldwell, director of legislative and public
affairs with the California State Personnel Board (SPB). He added, “I
could work at 10 different departments over the years. You’d have to
verify who worked there at each time. That
sounds difficult.”

So far, six states have been able to provide the necessary
data, according to Aizonu.com’s founder: Colorado, Florida, Kansas,
Minnesota, Montana, and
West Virginia. They have at least some data from several
other states, which they hope to add soon after launch: Alabama,
Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, and Illinois.
Some of these are obviously large states, but none
has a workforce as big as the 238,000 employed by California. In some
cases, this data cost
up to $1,600 per state, though in most cases it costs under $1,000.
Aizonu.com’s founder is currently trying to get the data for California
and the 37 other states.


The lack of the Golden State in Aizonu.com’s launch is ironic, given that the site was inspired
by an experience in the California state workforce.
Aizonu.com’s founder, who wishes to remain anonymous for the time
being, said she worked in a state agency where her
manager fired several people without cause in just
a few months. The founder said she asked the boss about
the firings, and was essentially told that no one could
do anything about it.


Given how unpleasant it is to work for a really bad
boss, she said many people would find it worthwhile
to log onto the site and pay a small fee to find out
other employees’ opinions of a potential boss—even for positions paying only $30,000 a year.


There is a potential upside for the state, according
to the mission statement currently posted at the site: by exposing bad managers, the state could save over
the long term.

“The number of recorded appeals from public workers
is astronomical; the amount of taxpayer’s dollars spent in legal fees
is troublesome… AIZONU allows job seekers, other state employees,
state departments, high level management and the public,
to set eyes on a department, its management and practices
thus providing an opportunity to evaluate working stats,
make pellucid employment decisions, significantly increase
work satisfaction and consequently save tax dollars.”


The founder has been trying to get the necessary information
from a variety of California state agencies via public records
act requests since at least April. In addition to the
Controller’s office and SPD, they have contacted the Department
of Personnel Administration office seeking information
including:


--Number of lawsuits against the state of California
by state employees in the past 4 years.


--Number of transfers within departments in the last
3 years


--Number of layoffs while on probation in the last 3 years


--Number of discrimination complaints filed within the
last 3 years


--All current and former (5 yrs) state employees names and their appropriate email.


On this last request, the general counsel with the
SPB replied Sept. 10 and 14 “SPB has no public records within the scope of your
request.”