Local Politics

Laying off state workers not easy budget fix

Posted December 8, 2010

State budget

Downsizing could likely be part of a strategy that Gov. Beverly Perdue will announce Thursday to help balance the state budget.

Although it’s unclear what Perdue’s plan will call for, the new Republican majority in the General Assembly has said new taxes won’t be part of the solution.

With a $3 billion to $4 billion deficit in the state budget, many observers think job cuts are unavoidable.

“I don't see any way for the governor and legislature to reach that amount without having to lay off people,” Raleigh attorney Jack Nichols said Wednesday. “I just don't see how it's possible.”

Nichols, who specializes in employment law, advises all state workers to know their employment rights. He says most state workers enjoy protections that private-sector employees do not have.

“You have to draw up a defensible (reduction in force) plan so that, when attorneys like me and other ones challenge it, it's defensible,” Nichols said.

The state's guidelines for reductions in force show the type of job plays a role, along with seniority, race and gender under affirmative action.

Lay-offs could help fill state budget gap Layoffs could help fill state budget gap

Employees who are laid off can appeal, and long-serving workers get first crack at new jobs.

“If you've been a state employee for 10 years, then you're entitled to priority re-employment,” Nichols said.

Whatever the financial realities, State Employees Association of North Carolina President Charles Johnson argues that pushing state workers to the unemployment line doesn't make sense.

He believes savings and efficiencies must come before any layoffs.

“You can't just downsize the state and say, ‘OK, this is going to work. Cut 25 to 30 percent of state workers, and this will fix it,’” Johnson said. “That's not going to fix it.”


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  • ratherbnwpb Dec 10, 2010

    Eliminate the layers of redunancy and wasted management. Eliminate the 4 guys who watch the 1 guy doing work on the side of the road.

    And who do those 4 guys work for? Lets test your knowledge skills of state government!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 10, 2010

    Eliminate the layers of redunancy and wasted management. Eliminate the 4 guys who watch the 1 guy doing work on the side of the road. There are so many unneeded positions in state government. Eliminate non-academic positions in our schools and universities.

  • AX Dec 9, 2010

    Double dipping needs to stop, too. If you retire from the state, for example teaching, you need to stay retired. I personally know of teachers that retired, came back full time at the same salary as when they left, plus were drawing retirement. We could have hired 3 new teachers for their one salary/retirement. Also, make all traditional school principals and secretaries 10 or 11 month employees, not 12. What they heck are they doing over the summer? Close the entire school down for a month and a half and save on salary and electricity. Just use common sense, Bev. The teachers union wouldn't like these ideas, and that's Bev's big base, but so what. WE ARE BROKE, people!!! When will anyone understand that?

    Great idea, however do know that there is NO teachers union in NC. Never has been and the law says there can never be one

  • josephlawrence43 Dec 9, 2010

    IF state government would do what the constitution tells it to do, we would have approximately $1.3 Billion extra to absorb some of these cutbacks--simply stop supporting illegal aliens. But will our government even acknowledge the existance of illegals? nope...

  • pbjbeach Dec 9, 2010

    avid reader:

    It is not that this state is broke it is just that there has been such a high level of fraud an waste an abuse of funding an revenie dollars that there just isn't enough to fully fund everything that these politicians want to farther waste moneys on . for there are revenues that flw in to the state coffers every single day it has just been wasted an abused an that there is no fiscal responsibility an or oversight or regulations with regards to the fraudlent spending that is an has been allowed to take place with in state government thank you

  • pbjbeach Dec 9, 2010

    Bev needs to get rid of an make ker cuts at the highest levels of state government an not at the peion areas of state government. for the peions aren't the ones that are making major bucks within the state budget . if she going to againg balance the buidget on the backs of state employee she need to make the cuts at the upper excelions of mangament of an mangers not at the lowest levels of state government thank you

  • Navace Dec 9, 2010

    To finish my comment...What's it going to be like if the DOR staff is cut 20-25%. The goverment is 'not for profit', but when any company sees that their 'numbers' are turning red, it's time to do something, not after the numbers have completely turned red. This just came from poor or should I say bad management. OMG. Either way, unfortunately, now we have to deal with it. I just pray it doesn't get too much worse.

  • pbjbeach Dec 9, 2010

    All i have to say about state government is that it has gone to the devile in a hand basket just for an because of the politicians to push this entire state to the far far far right politicily an to outsource every state government agency an to private what every cant be outsourced in th name of giving an turning every ething over to private industry an look at where that has gotten the state budget in to such a mees that no one person has go the guts to fix it by returning to the way that state government operated back in the 60's when there were mangers that were really allowed to manger an to have fiscal oversight of their departments for the betterment of all of the state taxpayers . they need to reregulate all state government agency an allowed for there to be actual enforcement an oversight rules that are being enforced thank you

  • pbjbeach Dec 9, 2010

    If this governor would cut the spending issues an the corrupt contracting practices an the waste mis-mangament an fraud from within the state government that exist at every state agency just because some politician has made promises to contracting enitys in exchange for campaign contributions . an that is then expecting to receive repayment in the form of contractors getting their way with regards to contracting issues that take place within state government when it come to the states personnel that are hired to enforce state contracts an regulations an they aren allowed to do their jobs dutys because of some politician an thus the states taxpayers or footing the bill for badly done contract work. this governor need to relize what a resource that she has at her disposal with the use of state personnel too get the states work done an completed at a much lower cost to the states taxpayers than what it cost the people of this state by the letting of state contracts thank you

  • Seeminglyopposed Dec 9, 2010

    Why haven't they asked any state employees to go PART TIME instead of cutting their jobs? That is an option...or why don't they try cutting out some of the chiefs in upper management that are not needed, like the independent panels that are used to tell someone that state employees are not needed. Pay thousands of dollars that could have been kept in the system to tell what anyone with common sense should know, that we need to trim the budget...duh.So they go out and pay money to cut money!