FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — Andrew Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor running to be Fresno’s next mayor, has issued a cease and desist letter to the county over a proposed rule that would require county employees running for office to take a mandatory unpaid leave.
The idea of unpaid leave worries Janz, especially as he and his wife are expecting a child. However, if the proposed rule were to become reality — it’d be something he’d have to do.
Janz has described the rule as undemocratic, unfair and even illegal.
The rule would require all county employees to take unpaid leave for the two pay periods before election day. If your race turns into a runoff election, then you’ll be required to take a leave for three pay periods before that election day as well.
Employees would be able to use any accrued vacation days to get paid, though.
Janz said this all reads as a punishment for seeking elected office.
“This is not only about me and my personal situation, this is about the other county employees who want to run for elected office,” he said. “There were at least six in the last cycle that ran for elected office. A lot of people from the county want to get involved in their communities and make it a better place.”
Fresno County Board of Supervisors chairman Nathan Magsig said he and supervisor Buddy Mendes created this to have a blanket leave policy for all county department.
“We have to balance the needs of the employees, as well as the taxpayers. We want to make sure our employees — when they’re running for office or not — are always giving the full effort and putting in a full days of work for the pay they’re receiving,” Magsig said.
The cease and desist letter, signed by Janz’s campaign manager Mari Harren, threatened legal action if this rule is passed.
In a two-page response to the letter by Fresno County counsel Daniel Cederborg, it’s mentioned the union representing Janz didn’t object to the rule — though, it had some concerns.
The statement also said the county is currently in another round of meetings to discuss this rule and is conferring with employee representatives.
There are exemptions in this rule. Incumbents, those running to become the head of their department, judicial office candidates, and candidates for the Fresno County Employees Retirement Association Board would not have to take any leave.