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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



What workers were told

Here are two of the memos that went out this morning to state workers. One to the Agency of Natural Resources and the second to Commerce and Community Development.

Commere's in particular was not very enlightening.

First, from ANR Secretary Jonathan Wood:

To: All ANR Staff

From: Jonathan L. Wood, ANR

Subject: Rescission Plan

Today information has been announced that outlines progress on the FY09 budget rescission. The Administration and leadership of the Joint Fiscal Committee have been working to find some $37 million in cuts.

You will see that ANR will be affected in this proposal. At this time, the proposal has not been approved by the full Joint Fiscal Committee and no final agreement has been reached on all of the needed rescissions.

The ANR Management Team worked very hard on our budget rescission exercise. Our goal was to minimize the impacts to ANR staff and programs.

The proposed rescission will include the Reduction in Force (RIF) of a limited number of ANR positions. This was unavoidable given the extent of the rescission.

Because of the provisions of the labor agreement, we will not know the actual impact of this on individual employees. Also, this proposal has not been approved.

I am very aware that this process does not allow for a clear understanding of
individual repercussions. We will do our very best to work through the
process as it develops to provide information to everyone at the Agency.
This process is expected to take several weeks or more.

It is especially difficult to work through this rescission process at this time of
year. Our Human Resources staff is preparing to be of service in any way
it can.

This situation is evolving all across state governments across the country. Here in Vermont, we will strive to implement necessary changes as carefully and thoughtfully as possible.


And from Commerce Deputy Secretary Jim Saudade:

You may have heard that negotiations over the weekend have resulted in some
agreement between the Joint Fiscal Committee and the Administration on about
$20M in budget cuts. These cuts as they affect ACCD are not different from what
was explained to you at our last budget meeting; all cuts were from programmatic
changes and through attrition, not through layoffs. This is the case as of
today. Further reductions in revenues may affect this situation adversely in the
future.As always, we will try to keep everyone informed as best we can.Thank you
for your patience and cooperation,


If you have any of the other memos, we'd love to see them.

- Terri Hallenbeck

One would not expect a rational explanation from the Commerce Dept as such would not be in keeping with their mode of operation.
I heard that a deputy commissioner in the health department told her staff if they wanted updates to watch the Free Press! Seems like commerce has at least a pulse compared to VDH!
I am not surprised that ANR Commissioner Wood's memo to his employees was both upfront and compassionate. In all the years I have known him both during his time as a commercial forester and during his service in Vermont government he has always been a straight shooter.
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