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



VSEA releases its cost-saving offer

The Vermont State Employees Association offered to freeze worker pay, forgo reimbursment for meals and tuition and take four days off without pay -- to save $8.5 million in General Fund dollars.

The union said it hoped these savings, plus a reduction in the use of private contracts for services, could avert the need for any layoffs.

The Douglas administration proposed 600 layoffs to save $17 million in General Fund dollars. The administration is looking not just for short-term savings to address revenue shortfalls, but long-term savings.

The union proposed most of its concessions last only a year. However, the VSEA offered to forgo the cost of living pay increase for two years -- because it's willing to put off contract negotiations for a year.

The union said the way to achieve longer-term savings would be to offer early retirement, with incentives. There are a lot of folks who are or soon will be eligible to retire and some of their positions could be eliminated, union leaders said.

What's missing here is more detail about which private contracts the union would propose eliminating.

If that were on the table, it would be easier to make comparisons about impacts once the administration releases its list of 600 job cuts.

-- Nancy Remsen

Jim Douglas says he wants $17 million in GF savings from those 660 jobs BUT he also admits that those 660 will also cost the state more because of unemployment, medical, worker retraining - supposedly about $3 million.

So in reality he needs $14 million.

However the $3M in costs don't add up for 660.

In reality, Jim Douglas wants a body count - he has proposed in teh past that jobs that are 100% paid by federal dollars also be cut - that would e no real savings.
its true he is looking for a body count . if he wants to commit political suicide let him . he has already lost my vote , and yes i am a state employee who has had it up to my ears with the b.s . from both sides and yessssssss unemployment pays more hummmm i might qualify for food stamps , and heating assistance gee. lets see.
VSEA - look for an exit strategy.
Please do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The union has got to go - I hope that us as employees have figured that out.
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