Leaders of state workers group growing more frustrated with furloughs

03/08/2011 06:21 PM

Leaders of a state workers’ association said they are frustrated at Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration after ordering furloughs of rank-and-file state workers, putting services at risk.

Gov. Steve Beshear approved six furloughs this year as a way to save $24 million. Beshear said that helped avoid laying off state workers.

“I don’t believe that’s accurate. I think there are inefficiencies in the system that he could have addressed or that could have been addressed by either the governor or the legislature so that no one had to be furloughed and no one had to be laid off,” said Melissa Jan Williamson, vice president of the Kentucky Association of State Employees.

David Smith, a transportation cabinet supervisor who is president of KASE, said the association is a non-profit organization that cannot endorse in political races. But the group’s leaders are becoming more outspoken on behalf of the 30,000 state workers, he said.

In addition, Williamson said many rank-and-file merit employees are frustrated that they have had to take those furlough days while the Beshear administration fought to keep 82 appointed positions.

The Personnel Board ruled in December that those 82 positions were justified, although not all of the agencies submitted detailed reasons for why those positions were essential.

Those jobs were spread across Beshear’s administration and in the office of the attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and agriculture department.

- Ryan Alessi


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