An interesting chart amid the pile of paperwork handed out at Monday's meeting of the Joint Legislative Government Accountability Committee.
The number of state employees in the executive branch grew by 19. 5 percent from 1999 to 2008, with a brief plateau in 2004-05. The number, of course, dropped in 2009, with vacant jobs eliminated and layoffs.
In 1999, there were 7,015 employees. In 2008, the number had reached 8,383. The chart notes that as of July 31, that number was down to 7,962.
This is interesting because Gov. Jim Douglas has spoken out the last couple years against the unsustainable size of government, blaming a big piece of the heft on his predecessor, but it has certainly grown since he took office in 2003. Of course, it should also be noted this requires the Legislature's consent. New programs=new jobs. The jump from 7,866 employees to 8,069 in 2004 can largely be attributed to the opening of a new prison in Springfield.
During the 10-year time span of the chart, the proportion of employees with "exempt" status also grew steadily. Those are employees were aren't unionized and Douglas is not a big fan of the union. The Legislature's Joint Fiscal Office notes this wasn't all Douglas' doing, who is not a big fan of the union. Between 2003 and 2008, legislation converted 21 classified positions to exempt positions.
But between 1999 and 2008, the number of classified employees grew by 19.2 percent while the number of exempt employees grew by 23.5 percent.
Something to noodle on.
- Terri Hallenbeck
Labels: Gov. Jim Douglas, state budget, vermont politics, Vermont State Employees Association