Georgia Governor Candidate Calls For Permanent Reduction Of State Workforce

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Former Georgia Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel today called for a permanent reduction in the size of Georgia's state workforce "as one way to address budget shortfalls and focus on the key priorities in providing service to Georgia taxpayers."

"These are structural deficits for the state with revenues being re-set to a 'new,' significantly lower, normal," the candidate said. "We have a responsibility to be honest with the people of Georgia and to begin serious, long-term reductions now in order to ensure future viability.

"Now is most certainly not the time for a tax increase that will only further stifle job creation and burden our citizens. We've got to stop thinking of government as a jobs program and get back to the guiding principle of a limited government that delivers only key services in the most efficient manner possible.

"I permanently downsized the Secretary of State's office by nearly 20% by reducing the workforce, eliminating waste and duplication, and increasing efficiencies. I believe the state, as a whole, can – must - do this as well."

Her proposal would permanently cut at least 10% of state government positions in the 2011 budget year – excluding teachers and public safety officers (State Patrol, GBI, Pardons & Parole, and Corrections). These reductions will yield $404 million in savings, she said.

She is specifically calling for:
Permanent elimination of 10% of state government positions for FY2011 budget year – excluding teachers and public safety officers (State Patrol, GBI, etc.). This would save approximately $404 million and reduce the workforce by approximately 7,800 employees.

Keep permanent the governor's budget savings to date achieved through attrition, resignations, and retirements. According to the State Personnel Administration, this represents nearly 5% of the workforce and equals an additional $190 million in savings.

Require zero-based-budgeting across state agencies. Legislation will not be required in a Handel administration, she said.

Reorganize agencies to reduce management layers and achieve supervisor/employee ratio of 8 or 9 employees to one supervisor. Too often employees are promoted to supervisor or manager positions because of length of service rather than a reflection of management responsibilities, she said.

Launch an intensive effort to identify and eliminate non-essential services and programs, maximize outsourcing opportunities, move to shared-services approach for administrative services such human resources, review and eliminate non-essential boards and commissions, and identify opportunities to consolidate agencies.

Reform state salary and benefits by moving state employees to "paid time off" (or PTO) and limited leave carry-over rather than the current accrual system, which allows employees to "bank" significant amounts of sick, compensatory, and vacation time that is then used to "bridge" to retirement or is cashed-in upon departure/retirement.

Vigorously utilize the line item veto to keep spending in check during the recovery and eliminate unneeded government programs.

She stated, "It is simply irresponsible to talk about teacher furloughs and shorter school weeks before we have made permanent cuts throughout state government. Georgia's children need to be in school more, not less.

"Georgia families and businesses - large and small - have made the tough decisions and downsized to keep their expenditures within their means. The state must now do the same. These are the hard decisions that leaders must make in difficult times."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, MITCHELL LEE  716 EAST AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 40 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga PUBLIC INTOXICATION --- ANTHONY, CHRISTINA LOREEN  5730 LEE HWY RM 129 CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge POSSESSION OF ... (click for more)

Attic Of House Near Graysville Road Catches Fire

The attic of a house near Graysville Road caught fire on Friday evening. At 6 p.m. the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire at 8709 Oak View Dr.. Fire crews arrived at 6 :07 p.m. T he homeowner stated that everyone was out of the house and that there was a fire in the attic. The homeowner said that they had smelled something burning ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Great Orthopedic Success

Mark Freeman, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Erlanger Hospital, shared a dazzling look at our area’s Level One Trauma Center Friday morning. Yet, as he described the dramatic changes that have occurred in just the past 12 months, the promise of what will happen within the next year was even more appealing. Believe this, our flagship hospital is getting well in a hurry. “If ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS 6-4 For D-II Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – Oh, what a difference a year makes. The GPS Bruisers came through the losers bracket a year ago and beat Baylor twice after losing the first five times they played, but those two were the biggest as it gave the team in blue a state D-II softball championship. The situation was similar a year later, but the results a bit different as the Lady Red Raiders beat ... (click for more)

Dickson County Ousts Ooltewah, 6-5, In Epic 12-Inning Thriller

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – For Ooltewah, more heartbreak followed heartbreak. After a tough loss to Wilson Central on Thursday, the Lady Owls fought furiously with Dickson County in an epic 12-inning marathon Friday before the Lady Cougars’ Keely Buchanan laced a game-winning single up the middle to end  the game and Ooltewah's masterful season. Dickson County, which lost ... (click for more)