State may use employee furloughs to cope with budget cuts

"State Personnel Board initiates attack on state employees" That was the subject of an email sent to state employees. "Oh god, it's finally hit us," state employee Mary Nell Shaw says that was her reaction when she read the email.

State Employee Association Executive Director Mac McArthur sent the email and strongly opposes the plan. He says,"If you cut their pay, they can't buy groceries; they can't pay the electric bill."

State Personnel Director Jackie Graham says the purpose of the proposal is to give state agencies trying to avoid layoffs another option. She believes it saves jobs and benefits. "Any seniority benefit will not be impacted," she said.

Graham says under the proposal only individual agencies can implement a temporary reduction in its workforce. She also points out it's limited to two days a month. She adds,"This will not give the governor, state personnel board or any one person the authority to furlough statewide."

The personnel board will hold a public hearing about the issue March 11th at 10:00 in the morning at the state personnel department. That's on North Union Street.