State Layoffs Stir More Controversy
While Some Get Pink Slips, Others Are Urged To Volunteer Time Off
Last Updated: 1284 days ago
The fallout from last week's announcement of layoffs within state government continued Monday, as some stepped up to try and save their jobs.Thirty-three workers in the Department of Administration, which serves as the housekeeping arm of state government, were eliminated Friday in an effort to trim the budget in the face of a bleak revenue picture.Some of the workers told 6News' Norman Cox that the layoffs were made randomly with no regard for seniority.Phillip Giddens, who ran the department's "green" government effort aimed at recycling and energy conservation, said eliminating his position will ultimately cost the state money.He said recycling and other environmental efforts saved more than twice his annual salary, but that his superiors didn't recognize the importance of the initiative."The first and only time I met with (Commissioner Mark Everson) one-on-one to discuss the program, the details of the program, he referred to it as fluff," Giddens said.An aide to Everson originally told Cox that the commissioner would address the issue on camera, but later said he was unavailable. The aide said someone else would take over the "green" efforts. More Cost-Cutting Measures Meanwhile, other remaining state workers are being asked to voluntarily take time off without pay to save money.The Department of Natural Resources is reporting the most success, with workers volunteering to take off 400 work days, generating a savings of $75,000, or the equivalent of 1.5 people not working for a year."This is one piece of many things that we're looking at to reach our cost goals," said DNR spokesman Phil Bloom. "We're looking at a whole variety of things, and this is just one piece of the puzzle right now."Democratic Senate Leader Vi Simpson said she supports the governor's efforts to economize, but would prefer he look somewhere other than state workers."I think I would also look at departments like the Department of Education, for instance, where they have awarded several contracts to political cronies of the governor and our Superintendent (Tony) Bennett," she said.The contract Simpson is opposed to gives $108,461.12 to the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership run by Gov. Mitch Daniels ally Carole D'Amico.A representative for Bennett rejected Simpson's criticism and said that the state is lucky to have someone with D'Amico's expertise to advise on critically important education programs.