TSEA Calls for Leadership and Initiative on the Hill

Tennessee Service Employee Association Press Release

“Who will provide services to the citizens across the state,” said Almous Austin, acting president of the Tennessee State Employees Association? The Governor announced that layoffs of state employees will be part of the budget cuts coming for 2010, even though employee salaries and benefits are less than one percent of the state budget, “It is time for the Governor and the legislature to look at the other ninety-nine percent of the budget for cuts,” continued Austin.

“How much more can you ask the citizens of our state to do without? Every state job cut equals services to Tennesseans that will no longer be available,” said Austin. It is time for our elected leaders to explore areas within the budget other than personnel to balance the budget. “New challenges caused by the economy demand innovative thinking and initiative on the part of our General Assembly, so Tennessee may continue to be one of the greatest states in which to live and work,” continued Austin.

TSEA holds firm to our belief that layoffs should be a last course of action after all other avenues to balance the budget have been explored. “Services provided by state employees are the reason businesses choose to move into Tennessee. Transportation, corrections, child services, mental health care, park services, the list goes on and all are critical areas that effect each and every citizen of our state,” said Austin

TSEA offered alternatives to layoffs last legislative session and again asks that our legislators look long and hard for ways to keep Tennessee state employees working and participating in our tax structure. Alternatives to layoffs are:

* Contract Freeze (with exceptions for emergencies and immediate needs, as certified by the Fiscal Review Committee) an intense examination of necessity for and operation of contracts presently in existence. (such examination to be conducted by the Fiscal Review Committee and its staff)

* Follow Utah’s lead on a 4-day work week with no change in employee salary or benefits.

* Take necessary monies out of the “Rainy Day” and other surplus funds and save jobs.

* Use the “deferred pay” option. (submitted to the legislature last session)

* Fairly and equitably administer a wide-ranging Voluntary Buyout Plan

* Furloughs as a last resort to prevent layoffs.