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."


Plane That Collided With Helicopter In Maryland Took Off From Cleveland Three Hours Earlier

A plane that crashed in Maryland after colliding with a helicopter on Thursday, had taken off from the Cleveland Tennessee Airport earlier on in the day. It was reported that three people in the helicopter died, but the two people in the plane survived. Both were taken to the hospital, but were released later. The pilot was apparently a regular visitor at the Cleveland airport. (click for more)

Catoosa County Arrest Report For Oct. 17-23

Click  here  for the Catoosa County arrest report for Oct. 17-23. (click for more)

Not Everything Has Been Done To Save Hutcheson

I am a resident of Walker County and I have a personal belief that a hospital ranks equal to other basic services a community should offer (like police, fire, emergency services, school systems, government, etc.). I am not privy to all the management and financial conundrums concerning the feasibility of maintaining and growing Hutcheson, and as a private citizen I don’t believe ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Claims Region 4A/AA Soccer Title

Junior Sofia Olenchek scored twice, including the winning goal in the second overtime (95th minute) period as host Notre Dame defeated crosstown rival Chattanooga Christian 2-1, for the Region 4 A-AA championship Thursday night. In a well-played, physical match, CCS led at halftime, 1-0,  after senior Hannah Henry scored in the 14th minute, but Olenchek's first goal ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats Briarcrest For Shot At Father Ryan, DII-AA State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – OK, Father Ryan.  Baylor’s still hanging around. The Lady Red Raiders stormed past Briarcrest, 3-1, Thursday in the loser’s bracket final at Siegel Middle School and advanced to Friday’s Division II-AA volleyball tournament championship match. The set scores were 26-24, 25-15, 24-26, 25-15. The Lady Red Raiders lost to Father Ryan, ... (click for more)