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



The job cut list

At this point, I don't know where folks can find the list of 320 job cuts the Douglas administration released Wednesday.

Reporters were handed paper copies at the briefing. (How old-fashioned!)

I've asked if the list is or could be posted. Stay tuned.

-- Nancy Remsen

You can find it on the VSEA page:

It takes time to make change - this may end up being for the good.

You can't just blame the Governor; the Legislature really sets and approves the budget.
VSEA.ORG...They have a list posted here...

VSEA has posted link to the RIF list.

It's wrong to use an economic crisis to advance a philosophical agenda about the long term cost and function of government.

You simply do not dump hundreds of people into the ranks of the unemployed at the worst possible time for finding a job. It's cruel and thoughtless.

Find a temporary solution for one or two years to get through the worst of this crisis, THEN if he wants to continue the debate , we can have it.
You can find the list on the VSEA web page - VSEA.org
...and newspapers wonder why they're rotting on the vine.

How about three minutes, max, of some real high-tech work, there Nancy? Scan the document on post it as a PDF or JPEG right here on the blog.
Nancy, I believe you can find it on the VSEA website.
Anon 6:40 PM
"You simply do not dump hundreds of people into the ranks of the unemployed at the worst possible time for finding a job. It's cruel and thoughtless."
You are correct that it is painful to lay employees off. Of the 22,500 unemployed Vermonters, how many do you think work for the 2 largest employers in the state? (NEA & VSEA) ZERO
Must the businesses, who close if they can't turn a profit, be the only ones that operate fiscally responsible?

The NEA and the VSEA aren't the state's largest employers.

And the 22,500 unemployed Vermonters don't work for the state's 2 largest employers because ... um ... they are UNEMPLOYED!!!!

By definition UNEMPLOYED people are not employed.

Your point is obscured by some really strange logic.
Of course they don't work for the NEA or the VSEA and they never did. Both of these organizations have over 7000 members and there isn't any private enterprise with more employees than that.
You miss the point- Why must the state employees be exempt from layoff when all other businesses are required to downsize or close?
The state workers will say that there's never a good time to restructure government.

Good times: there's no need to cut government.

Bad times: it's "cruel" to lay people off.

Now's as good a time as any to restructure state government.

For the life of me, I'm not sure I understand why state workers should be in a union anyway.
Hey, don't forget that over the last 2 budgets the legisture gave in to to Gov Douglas insistence that they cut 400 positions in state government.

Now Douglas wants 660 more - not to solve a budget problem but rather to have a body count.

Many of the jobs being cut or proposed to be cut are 100% federal funded.

And, Gov Douglas has not factored in teh costs to the state of these workers being laid off.
The state needs to loose some of these employees.
The state needs to lose Jim DOuglas - and vote for someone who has vision and leadership - not a caretaker who will destroy.
Anonymous said: "Good times: there's no need to cut government.

Bad times: it's 'cruel' to lay people off."

Agreed. But the more problematic part of the equation is the notion that during "good times" we tend to expand services and government, well past the point that they are sustainable if revenues fail to increase.

The Legislature even spends money it isn't sure it will get, by "waterfall" earmarks that ensure any excess revenue over projections gets spent, not put aside in the rainy day fund or given back.

So when revenues don't increase -- or worse still, decrease -- state government is put in the position it's in now: either cut services/employees or raise taxes.

I'm not sure I accept the proposition that government always has to grow, which is what those who advocate for raising taxes are essentially saying.
There are plenty of State Employee's that need to go away that are not going to be layed off. Sadly they are protected no matter how much harm they cause. Others who have provided years of service are kicked out the door.
The state is no different than any business with 7000 +/- employees. You have some good employees and you have under-achievers. The union is not the issue. When business (or economy) softens, it is a no-brainer that 1 out of 20
(5%)employees can be reassigned or simply layed-off. When activity picks up they are on the list of firast refusal.
I feel bad for those RIF's but should we all contribute to a "special" fund just to pay employees you do not need???
NEK, your statement contains an obvious contradiction. You are correct when you say that like any organization, there are underachievers. Then you say, "the union isn't the problem." Wrong. Because the union protects the underachievers and prevents the employer (state) from firing them.
In "good times" State employees haven't ever received a 5% raise. So maybe you should be asking why Jim Douglas thinks they should take a 10-15% cut now?

State employees have actively participated in government restructuring plans. Anyone remember the blue ribbon commission, how about the strategic enterprise initiative? No, because they were dropped by the administration once the objective of laying off more State workers and outsourcing more public services was accomplished.

State employees shouldn't be layed off because DEMAND for State services is at record highs. Also, it's a fallacy that laying off State workers will balance the budget or lower anyone's taxes.

The question is not why State workers are unionized, it's why other employees are not. The REASON is because Vermont is a "hire and fire" state, so unless you have a CONTRACT (e.g. a union) you have no rights as an employee whatsoever.

We should try to bring other people's pay, benefits, and working conditions up, not tear down State employees, just because you are jealous they've worked hard for what they have.
Anonymous replying to NEK. It is you that is wrong.

VSEA simply ensures that State employees' rights per their CONTRACT with the State are upheld. Underachievers can, and do get fired but there is due process unlike non-union employees who can, and do get fired for any, no, or no good reason every day.
"The question is not why State workers are unionized, it's why other employees are not."

What a dumb thing to say.
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