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Haslam Won’t Lay Off State Employees, At Least Not Right Away

A day before becoming the next governor of Tennessee, Governor-elect Bill Haslam reiterated that he doesn’t plan to hand out pink slips right after he takes office.

But the soon-to-be governor said he won’t rule out layoffs completely.

“We’re not going to come in and make wholesale layoffs in the very beginning,” he told reporters outside the state Capitol Friday. “I don’t know that anybody can say the whole time I’m governor we’re not going to make layoffs because I don’t think you can say that.”

Leaders on Capitol Hill aren’t sure it’s realistic to avoid layoffs this year.

“It’s possible, let’s put it that way,” said Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey. “At the same time, we have to make $1 billion in cuts.”

Lawmakers last year set in motion a series of cuts that include layoffs. Haslam said he would be considering Bredesen’s plan but was unsure how he would deviate from it.

Haslam, who was walking through the outdoor set-up on Legislative Plaza in preparation for his inauguration ceremony, also detailed his philosophy about building relationships with members of the Legislature. He said he’s consulted both Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell on all of his commissioner appointments to keep them involved in the process.

He also commented on his philosophy about tapping mayors to fill his gubernatorial cabinet, saying that they have had extensive experience pulling the trigger on tough decisions.

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