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State employee roles decreasing

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Peanut butter strategy spreads workers as thinly as possible

By Jay Miller

Last fall, both gubernatorial candidates promised state employees “no furloughs and no layoffs.”
We could be pretty sure there would be no furloughs. The furloughs in 2010 were wildly unpopular and, more importantly, they were a budget-cutting tool of Gov. Bill Richardson. Both candidates were running away from him.
At the conclusion of the 2011 legislature, Gov. Susana Martinez and legislative leaders proclaimed the budget that was adopted would require no furloughs and no layoffs.
But layoffs already have begun. They sometimes are called reductions in force, or RIFs, but the results are the same.
On June 10, 44 state employees were told to clean out their desks. They will be paid through the end of the month.
The 44 employees are a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 3,000 reduction in state payrollers as a result of not being replaced when they left state employment.
That hiring freeze was ordered by Richardson in the fall of 2008 and has been continued by Martinez except in the case of critically needed personnel.
A spokesman for the governor said the layoffs were made in order to streamline state government. Martinez said during her campaign that she would take a good look at the work of a committee appointed by the legislature to make recommendations for government restructuring.


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