Colorado planning for furloughs
The Denver Post
State employees are likely to start feeling some of the pain their counterparts in the private sector and in other governments have experienced over the past year.
Officials are working through plans to furlough thousands of state workers for at least four days during the budget year that begins July 1, the result of budget cuts lawmakers approved during the legislative session.
Though details won’t be finalized for a few weeks, the initial plan is to schedule the furlough days around holidays.
The furloughs are the result of lawmakers approving a 1.82 percent cut to department payrolls during the legislative session that ended in May, a cut meant to save $16 million. Lawmakers did not expressly mandate furloughs – though they knew they were likely – leaving it to Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter’s administration to work out the particulars of the payroll cuts.
Jim Carpenter, Ritter’s chief of staff, sent an e-mail to thousands of executive-branch employees recently giving them a heads-up about the furloughs.
“The economic challenges faced by state government are every bit as difficult for our fellow public sector employees, and even more difficult for many in the private sector,” Carpenter wrote.
Though the plan is for four days of furloughs, Carpenter indicated more are possible, both to cover the cuts already set forth by the legislature and cuts that will still be needed if revenue keeps falling.
State employees avoided furloughs, pay cuts or, with a few exceptions, layoffs during this budget year. But state workers are getting no pay raises next year, and there has been a hiring freeze, with some exceptions, since last year.
“I think we recognize that these are difficult financial times and that sacrifices need to be made,” said John Hummel, an employment discrimination investigator for the Department of Regulatory Affairs. “We need to do our part, and if that includes furloughs because they’re necessary, we’re willing to do that.”
Tim Hoover: 303-954-1626 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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