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



VSEA makes offer to Douglas administration

The Vermont State Employees Association has given the Douglas administration a proposal that union officials say could avert the need for massive layoffs.

The union isn't releasing any details, but Director Jes Kraus suggested more information might be released Monday.

The Douglas administration confirms it received information from the union and will review it.

Gov. Jim Douglas proposed 660 layoffs in his budget. He identified 60 positions. Agency and department managers have submitted plans to achieve the rest of the cuts. Those are still under review. Secretary of Administration Neale Lunderville says he expects to share those cuts with legislators by late next week.

Lawmakers go home next Friday for two weeks, so a lot is likely to get put on the table in a hurry. The question is whether any agreements can be reached quickly.

--Nancy Remsen

Is it better to keep everyyone on at less than full time, or is it better to make the state bureaucracy cuts that are long overdue and let gov't employees go?

I'd say the latter.
It is better that VSEA keep as many people working as possible, that way they can stay fat on the dues the employees are paying in.

After all, why should VSEA suffer when they can make everybody suffer.

With VSEA is isn't the principle it's the money.
Give the state more options and leverage to get rid of dead wood.
So far, all 3 anonymous commenters don't know what they're talking about. 1) If you think cuts are long overdue, provide a detail list of what you'd like to see the State stop doing for you. 2) How many people do you think VSEA has? It's about a dozen and thankfully their employer (State workers) actually values and appreciates the work they do for some 6,000+ union members. 3) What deadwood are you talking about? The guy that plows your road, or the person who sends you your unemployment check? The State already cut 6% of its workforce last year. Try checking out vsea.org and you'll see "management" has increased about 5 times as much as "workers."
Middle management is usually the deadest of the dead wood and the best protected.

Take a good close look at BGS for a prime example.
It is interesting that Gov Douglas says that state government has grown too fast, too big!

Most of it is because of how he manages.

For instance all top managers who are exempt from the union have rec'd salary increases higher than inflation and higher than union workers.

The Governor's amangement has led to a much higher increase in the number of exempt employees.

AND, his own persoanl staff has grown exponentially in both numbers of employees and in salry increases.

Jim Douglas should look in the mirror to find out why salaries and benefits have increased so much!
How about that Deb Markowitz having her own first personal crack at all the Democratic resources! Maybe she really does have Welch and Leahy in her pocket but what an insult to the other candidates.
VSEA is dead.
We can only hope...
Lets just move on from a governors race that is 2 years away! The voters will just get sick of it.
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