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Monday, May 12, 2008

Payoffs for Bredesen hires

Andy Sher has the details on what was originally though to be layoffs is now more like buyouts on new Bredesen hires.

From the article...

NASHVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen’s proposal to eliminate 2,011 state workers represents about 42 percent of the positions created in state government during his administration.

Full-time positions funded by general fund revenues grew by 5,020, or 11.9 percent, since fiscal year 2002-03, an analysis of state budget records shows. There are about 47,079 state government positions in this year’s budget.


Article: State to offer some early retirement incentives to cut budget
Gov. Bredesen hopes the work force cutbacks will produce $64 million of the $468 million in reductions he needs to balance his proposed 2008-09 budget.

The governor, who attributed the weakening national economy for devastating state tax collections, today plans to outline specific steps to rein in spending before a joint session of the House and Senate.

“It’s pretty clear you can’t get from here to there without having some personnel reductions in state government,” Gov. Bredesen said. “What I’m proposing will be a voluntary plan.”.....


......Growth of jobs

WORK FORCES

The number of Tennessee employees:

FY 2004-05 - 44,194

FY 2005-06 - 45,795

FY 2006-07 - 45,871

FY 2007-08 - 47,079 (estimated)

FY 2008-09 - 47,186 (recommended prior to expected cuts)

* Source: Tennessee budgets
Since Gov. Bredesen took office in early 2003, administration budget figures show major growth occurred from fiscal year 2003-04 to fiscal year 2004-05 when the number of state positions rose 4 percent, or 1,717 workers, to 44,194.

From July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2008, figures from Tennessee budgets show the number of state jobs increased by 1,284 slots, or 2.8 percent, to 47,079......

.....Human services

Some Tennessee departments experienced large growth in employees, according to a review of reports filed by departments and agencies with the Senate Finance Committee.

From fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2008, positions in the Department of Human Services grew from 4,469 to 5,595 — 1,126 positions, or 25 percent, departmental submissions to the committee show.

Human Services Department spokeswoman Michelle Mowery Johnson estimated about 100 employees involved in program monitoring transferred from Finance to Human Services.

Another 225 people were added to manage eligibility and benefit appeals related to TennCare, welfare and food stamps decisions. The services previously were performed under contract by the secretary of state.

The department hired about 350 workers for four family assistance service call centers where eligibility counselors field questions about Families First, food stamps, Medicaid and TennCare cases, she said.

Tennessee State Employees Association Executive Director Jim Tucker, whose group represents workers, said growth in areas such as the Department of Children’s Services is attributable to federal lawsuits.

The department has grown by 877 employees, or 20.4 percent, since fiscal year 2005, figures show.......

.......PORK VS. JOBS

Drew Johnson, executive director of the conservative Tennessee Center for Policy Research, said the governor’s plans show a “prioritization problem with the budget because there are so many opportunities to cut waste through (eliminating) pork projects rather than firing people.”

The group’s recently released 2008 Tennessee Pork Report found up to $260 million in wasteful spending by state and local governments.

Mr. Johnson said, “Firing people isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they’ve proven unproductive. And despite a 12 percent increase in jobs, I don’t think that children are smarter or Tennesseans are safer or TennCare recipients get any better treatment.”

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