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



State jobs resolution?

Three hundred-twenty state jobs hang in the balance as the union and the state negotiate possible cuts. You may have read about it in today's paper.

Among the cuts under consideration: pay freezes, unpaid furlough days, cuts to private contracts, cuts to health benefits.

The clock is ticking. If you're a state worker, do you see a resolution coming? If you're a non-state worker, are these cuts fair, similar to what you're seeing in your workplace, putting state services you depend on at risk?

- Terri Hallenbeck

I think union leaders need to face the reality that everyone else in the state is dealing with. Everyone else if facing layoffs and salary reductions - state workers need to share in the sacrifice.
Um, the governor already targeted and fired 320 employees with mortgages and children to care for. How do you define sacrafice?
Asking state workers to take the equivilant of a 14% salary cut without a sunset provision is unrealistic. VSEA has offered furlough days and salary freezes to weather the current economic storm. If the Administration isn't willing to accept this offer, the Legislature needs to find another way to acheive these savings. With 400 positions having recently being eliminated, the State cannot afford to lose another 600 jobs.
I know a lot of businesses are facing tough times, but it seems to me that State employees are different. EVERYONE uses public services. Why should state employees have to take a huge cut to fund the services that they provide? That's like taking money out of your waitor's tip after he brings you your food, because you think the restaurant's prices are too high.
"Anonymous said...
Um, the governor already targeted and fired 320 employees with mortgages and children to care for. How do you define sacrafice (sic)?"

Um ... I think the administration eliminated about 320 positions by not filling them after they were vacated by retirement or voluntary departure. The actual number of people who were laid off was much lower.
The only way out of this economic crisis is to create and preserve jobs. Now, instead of providing services to the State, we'll have 600 more people on the unemployment line. It's also important to note that many of these positions have a high percentage of federal funding. Is Douglas taking into account how much money we're sending back to DC...or is this really just a body count?
"body count"

Douglas is just using the crisis as a cover for implementing republican policy.

The same thing is happening in the corporate world with companies citing economy as the reason for a layoff when the crisis is really just a cover for massive outsourcing that would normally bring intense public scrutiny.
Are you kidding me?

Someone put Douglas' and Lunderville's hand on the bible - then ask them if any person lost their job in those cuts over the last 18 months.

The answer is YES - despite Lunderville going on "You can quote me" this weekend and saying no!
So Tracey Footer wasn't a state employee when she was let go from the lab over in Waterbury? Lunderville is a carnival barker.
We'll have to cut some workers, but hopefully not as many as Douglas wants.

Still, everyone will have to sacrifice, including those on social programs. Even people on welfare should get less than they would in good times.

Otherwise, we will be in big trouble in FY11 and FY12, after the stimulus money stops and the economy is still sluggish.
"Um" Douglas eliminated 6% of State jobs last year. They were not all vacant. At least 60 were layoffs. Pink slips are being mailed this week to those unlucky 320. None are being mailed to Douglas's political flunkies or media 'spin' machine. There has never been any negotiation. Douglas is immoral. Giving state workers a "choice" of 14% pay cut or watch your friends get axed is blackmail. What has Douglas given up? "Um" - nothing.
I am very happy to see that some Vermonters on this page are open to keeping State Services.

I don't dis-agree that some contracted state positions need to go. There appears to be alot of waste in State Government, from over paid commissioners to their Secretaries who pass the workload down the chain of command to be responded to right to the Govenor himself. BUT I also would like to bring up my viewpoint regarding the Vermont Department of Corrections. The St. Johnsbury Regional Correctional Facility is on the chopping block. 67 State employees who work with some of Vermonts most challenging Vermont residents. (That's right, Residents - they come from Vermont Communities) What would happen if those 67 State employees decided that they were already loosing their jobs so why bother going back to work. Would Vermonters or the Govenor go into that facility to oversee these Offenders? OR would Vermonters rather these Offenders (Violent Non-Violent and Sex Offenders), be unsupervised or be released back into your communities. I'm not sure of the answer to the State's Budget Crisis but I believe there is a much bigger picture and hope that Vermonters see this.
I for one do not wish to see any more Vermont Offenders sent to Out of State Facilities.

This doesn't even cover other State Businesses who are also facing job cuts. I feel for them as well
Please help to keep hard working Vermonters at work.

Thanks for reading
Lot of politics at work. You can hire a systems developer, for example; at $22/hr, or a contractor for the same thing at $150.00/hr. The state is shedding jobs and contracting the same work out at five and six fold cost. I don't care if you're liberal or conservative; if you're running a business and you can hire someone (an American, too! - what a bonus!) at 1/6 the cost of the contractor - ????? Yes, there are quite a few people at the top who; despite the economy (worst since great depression globally - HELLO!!!), still have their own agenda to pursue. Either they go or we go. If they go the state will still function; but if you lose all of your state employees, the governor, the legislature, they're not worth much.
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