Gov. Rell takes own unpaid day today, and asks others to coordinate leave so that goverment services are not disrupted.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell today [Jan. 13] announced that she is asking agency commissioners and non-union managers to voluntarily take one Unpaid Leave Day by March 1, as a cost-cutting measure, and took an unpaid day today, herself, to lead the effort.
“The steady flow of news about layoffs is deeply disturbing,” Rell said. “Aetna just announced that 375 of the 1,000 jobs it plans to cut will come from its Connecticut offices; UST is moving virtually all of its employees out of Stamford. Stanley Works, AT&T, Pratt & Whitney and – sadly – many other ‘blue chip’ companies, as well as far too many of our small and medium-sized employers, are cutting their workforce.”
“I am determined to avoid layoffs if at all possible,” Rell said. “But state government is not immune to the relentless pressures throttling the economic life out of taxpayers and businesses all over our state. We simply have to cut our costs – and that goes for our payroll, too, just like any other business. That is why I am asking executive and non-union managerial employees to take an unpaid day of leave, as permitted under state law, during the first two months of this year.”
“I can hardly ask them to take this step without doing so myself, and so – even though I am in the office today – I am taking Tuesday as an unpaid leave day,” Rell said.
“I am asking that top officials work together to schedule these days, so we can avoid any disruption to agency operations. And while I cannot order other constitutional officers, judicial officials or legislative officials to do the same, I ask them to consider it carefully as a way of contributing to the combined savings.”
No estimate of the total savings to the state payroll as a result of this effort was available.
Gov. Rell has taken a number of steps to cut state spending, ranging from a travel ban, hiring freeze and ban on non-essential purchases put into place in the spring of 2008 – as well as three rounds of agency budget rescissions totaling more than $190 million, and two deficit mitigation plans presented to the General Assembly.
Rell has also hired Saranne P. Murray, a partner in the law firm of Shipman and Goodwin, to assist in the beginnings of discussions with state employee unions about labor costs associated with Connecticut government.
The state budget deficit for the current year – currently estimated at about $356 million – is projected to grow; and the deficits for the next two fiscal years – FY2010 and 2011 – is now estimated to be at least $2.6 and $3.3 billion, respectively.
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