FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2001
Contact: Sen. Fred Hemmings
SENATE MINORITY FLOOR LEADER TO GOVERNOR: "REDUCE THE STATE WORKFORCE THROUGH ATTRITION AND WORK WITH LABOR LEADERS"
The governor is late in dealing with the state's revenue shortfall, according to Senate Minority Floor Leader Fred Hemmings.
"The revenue shortfall should not have come as a surprise, especially in light of the Sept. 11 economic downfall. The governor already has the power to deal with the problem and should have done something two months ago," Hemmings said.
"I'm hoping the governor will immediately reduce the state workforce through attrition and work with the labor leaders to transfer workers when essential workers retire. This is a wake up call for labor, especially the HGEA and the UPW. Now is the time for us to work together and reduce the workforce in order to avoid layoffs," Hemmings stated.
"It is important to remember that state retirement system has multi-billion dollars in assets, and can easily afford an increase in retirees. Further, the governor may wish to provide incentives for early retirement of non-essential workers. In addition, during the last special session, the legislature gave the governor the ability to privatize. He must expedite that process. The governor can further cut government spending by instituting initiatives to bypass time consuming and money wasting procedures, such as the DAGS procurement system. Once again, the emergency session gave the governor the tools to deal with the problem," Hemmings said.
"During the next session, which is less than two months away, the legislature can fast track legislation to provide for civil service reform and other means to give the executive branch of government the flexibility in how it uses its human resources. It certainly makes sense for everyone to cooperate, especially labor leaders, in order to save jobs and preserve basic essential government services while simultaneously reducing government spending. It can be done," Hemmings concluded.