Let’s take these state job cuts from the top.
In January, the governor announced the state would have to lay off 600 workers unless it could find long-term savings elsewhere.
Legislators said no way would they let that happen, though they conceded that some $13 million in labor savings was needed.
Various departments compiled lists of jobs that would be eliminated to meet their targeted figures. Though cuts are always hard and one can always argue that certain jobs are essential, some of these the cuts just didn't made sense. Some were entirely or heavily federally funded. Others were made with virtually no planning for what the state would do instead.
Negotiations began between the administration and the union on contract concessions that would prevent layoffs.
Some of the union’s bargaining units wanted the concessions, but enough of those who were unaffected by the layoffs didn’t to defeat agreement.
Legislators inserted wording in the budget that would require their approval before layoffs could be made. They also built a budget that relied on the savings. They didn’t, however, make that action effective until July 1. Too late to save the jobs that must be eliminated before the fiscal year starts July 1. A Superior Court judge said so.
A lump of 80 or so workers went out the door Friday.
The wording of the Legislature’s budget language was also likely unconstitutional. The Attorney General’s Office said so.
Legislators passed a revised version of the wording, which went into law yesterday. The governor says it’s still unconstitutional. Legislature disagrees.
The administration’s labor lawyer sent the union a letter saying that the administration’s preference is to avoid additional layoffs through concessions. The union is wary.
It is as though the script writer to this story was determined to make sure things went wrong on every front and that blame would rest in every corner.
- Terri Hallenbeck
Labels: politics, vermont legislature