It depends. Part of what makes our job attractive is that the day-to-day work varies significantly depending on where we are in the budget cycle and if the Legislature is in session or not.
Often we are working on multiple projects simultaneously. Sometimes the day is spent primarily doing analytical work at your desk, other days there are many meetings out of the office, some days the bulk of time is spent meeting with legislative staff or testifying at budget hearings, and often in the fall you are working on an independent research project.
Follow the link to an analyst’s summary of several different days in her life in the office.
The following shows the salary ranges for the Fiscal and Policy Analyst (FPA)
position. (Salary data current as of July 1, 2009.)
Fiscal and Policy Analyst
(eight step range)
$52,128 - $73,332 per year
Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst
(five step range)
$77,004 - $93,600 per year
Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst
(four step range)
$98,280 - $113,784 per year
Note: The Senior and Principal FPA
positions at the LAO are promotional, meaning that only analysts who can perform
all analytical functions, at a very high performance level and with a minimum
amount of supervision, will be promoted into these ranges.
Generally, analysts have a minimum of a Master's degree in public policy or
administration; business administration; economics; or political science; or a
similar degree that has a curriculum that includes both (1) quantitative
analytical courses, such as economics and statistics, and (2) qualitative
analytical courses, such a public policy analysis. Ideal candidates must have
the ability to:
Most overtime will be worked in the months of January, February, May, and June because these months coincide with the release of the Governor’s January 10 budget proposal and the Governor’s release of the revised budget in May. On average, the amount of overtime analysts worked in the months of January and February 2009 combined was approximately 60 hours. In May and June 2009, the average combined over-time worked by analysts was 16 hours. Note, however, that the hours of overtime worked can vary widely in either direction, depending on budget workload (for example, a number of new proposals in the Governor’s proposed budget) and/or nonbudget workload (for example, a number of ballot measures requiring analysis). Analysts may need to occasionally work overtime during other times of the year, but generally below the levels indicated above.
After a certain amount of overtime has been worked, the office will grant compensatory time off, or paid leave, that the employee can use under specified circumstances.
Full-time staff work an eight-hour day plus overtime as needed, in addition to a one-half- or one-hour lunch break.
The core hours at the LAO—when all full-time staff are expected to be in the office—are from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. The office does, however allow flexibility with respect to starting and ending times. Specifically, full-time staff may begin work up to one hour before 9:00 A.M., in which case their normal day would end 8.5 or 9 hours after their starting time depending on the length of their lunch break. For example, an individual starting work at 8:00 A.M. would complete his/her normal day by 5:00 P.M. Alternatively, an individual might begin work at 8:30 A.M., in which case his/her normal day would be over by 5:00 P.M. or 5:30 P.M., while those who start at 9:00 A.M. must work until 5:30 P.M. or 6:00 P.M.
In addition, the LAO provides staff with greater flexibility during the months of September through December. During these months, with the approval of a manager, staff can work a modified schedule such as four ten-hour work days each week to get to the required 40-hour work week for full-time staff.
Most of the travel that you do will be associated with learning your program area.
For example, you may travel to San Luis Obispo for two-day meeting of the
California Transportation Commission meeting where transportation policy and the
implementation of bond funding will be discussed. Typically, site visits are in-state and last a day or two. The duration and frequency of site visits is up to you and your manager and what you determine is necessary to fully understanding your program area. You may also travel to attend conferences related to your subject area. The length of travel associated with conferences will depend on the length of the conference you attend.
During your first year at the LAO you will receive a significant amount of classroom and on-the-job training specific to your assignment area to further develop your skills.
Training is provided in the following areas:
In addition, analysts in various sections throughout the office will present information about the projects they are working on or provide informational sessions in their policy areas throughout the year. Topics for these sessions have included how K-12 education is funded in California, tax subsidies for the film industry, and a discussion about state and local mandates.
Analysts also attend a wide variety of statewide and national conferences, educational seminars, and conduct site visits in support of their continuing professional development.
The “Buddy” System. The LAO uses a buddy system to provide new analysts an additional support network, beyond other new analysts, the manager, and members of the section during their first year in the office. The buddy system pairs a new analyst with two more experienced analysts, who informally help the new analyst learn about the LAO and smooth their adjustment to the office.
The buddy system includes regular coffee breaks or lunches to help ensure that informal relationships are being developed. The buddies provide opportunities for the new analyst to shadow more experienced analysts. Also, the more experienced analysts will review with the new analysts sessions of the buddies testifying during recent budget hearings to help new analysts develop their testifying skills.