We've spoken with Vickie Bradshaw, Cabinet Secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A few points surfaced during the telphone conversation that we wanted to pass along to amplify our earlier blog post about preparations to ax 2,000 general-fund positions.
The administration called us, in part, because other media outlets saw our report and made the leap that that 2,000 state workers have been told they may be laid off. That is not the case.
Today's news is that the state government is preparing for layoffs. The administration expects that some permanent job cuts prompted by changes to government programs will be part of the next budget deal, Bradshaw said. Talking to the unions and exempt employee associations was part of "getting prepared as any other business or government agency would have to do to live within its means," she said.
The state has been squirreling away vacant positions for several months. Bradshaw said that departments were instructed to begin looking at how they "capture funded vacancies," general-fund positions that emptied out as employees left state service. Now those budgeted-but-empty slots can be counted toward the reduction targets issued by the administration. The departments will report those savings by July 20, then go after the rest, if any remain, with layoff warnings.
No one has been issued a layoff warning letter as a result of the plan laid out today. The plan is to save money first by cutting vacant positions first, then going back and determining how many layoff warnings will need to be issued.
On a related note, click the video player below to view footage of Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear talking about the layoff plan.