There's a lot going on that will affect the size and shape of state government. Here are some highlights.
Effective yesterday (July 1) there were 150 fewer jobs on the books. The Douglas administration announced last November that it planned to downsize and gave managers six months to find 150 slots that would be eliminated. The list was released yesterday. Seems they succeeded, although some managers put of positions that were fairly recently authorized and not yet filled.
Now those same managers -- plus the constitutional officers who were spared job cuts in the first round -- have new targets. They must find another 250 jobs that can be wiped off the books by the end of December. Deputy Secretary of Administration Linda McIntire
said some managers were "shocked" when they saw their targets, but since the state currently has 441 vacant positions, she said there was clearly opportunities.
All these cuts are to be made without layoffs. They are to some when folks retire, are promoted or transferred or leave state government.
It's that process that has legislators worried, since it doesn't lend itself to strategic (an overused word if there ever was one) downsizing, but rather haphazard downsizing. The Legislature told the administration that its off-season oversight committee -- Joint Fiscal -- would have to take a look at the cuts in the fall before they became final.
So that's the 400 job cuts without layoffs.
There have been layoffs. Corrections cut nine jobs, which results in some layoffs, because the budget it was given by the administration wasn't going to cover everybody. The Legislature didn't change the situation and the jobs are cut.
The Legislature added a $500,000 cut to the Commerce Department budget at the last minute and now Secretary Kevin Dorn
has laid off four workers (all involved in information technology) and is looking elsewhere for more savings. Sen. Susan Bartlett, D-Lamoille
, said she was surprised about these layoffs as Dorn
never mentioned that would be a consequence of the budget cut. Commerce, by the way, only had to eliminate one position in the 150-job-cut exercise.
Back to Corrections -- by January, another 40-45 positions will evaporate with the closing of the Dale Correctional Facility in Waterbury. The restructuring that is getting underway -- moving all women to St. Albans
and transforming Windsor into a work camp -- was designed to save money and cutting jobs does that.
The Legislature also requires a $2.3 million reduction in spending on temporary and contract
workers. And in lawmakers' continuing effort to shrink the pool of public relations staff employed by the administration, there has to be another $250,000 cut from spending for exempt employees.
Then there were the pay freezes. The administration proposed a freeze on the highest paid staff. Lawmakers agreed and expanded it to a few more, including their own staff. The Judiciary went along, too, as did other constitutional officers.
So what does all this add up to? A lot of shifting sand within state government.
More interesting to this blog, is what does it add up to politically?
-- Nancy Remsen