7:16am

Tue May 24, 2011
All Politics are Local

State Offices Furloughed Friday

State offices will be closed on Friday as part of the state’s budget balancing plan to furlough state government workers a total of six days in Fiscal Year 2011, as authorized by the 2010-12 biennial budget passed by the General Assembly.

The furloughs are estimated to save taxpayers approximately $24 million, as well as prevent laying off more than 400 state employees. The savings generated help close a $131 million gap in the state budget in the fiscal year that ends June 30. State offices will also be closed on Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day.

“While revenue receipts are up slightly, we cannot guarantee that those receipts will keep rising through the end of the fiscal year,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “If over the next year our receipts grow enough that we can be sure that our budget will remain balanced, reducing the number of furlough days will be among the first things we look at.”

This is the final furlough day of the fiscal year. No furlough days have been scheduled for Fiscal Year 2012 at this time.

Because of these extraordinary economic times, the state has been forced to implement appropriate budget balancing cost savings efforts. The state budget also mandates an additional $168.5 million in savings from a variety of measures in the next fiscal year.

The vast majority of executive branch state employees are included in the furlough plan, including non-merit employees and merit system employees, full-time and part-time, the governor and all cabinet secretaries and contract workers.

In order to keep needed services available, a limited number of state offices have been approved to remain open or partially open on May 27. Facilities providing 24/7 care, such as juvenile justice facilities, have designed furlough schedules that will allow services to continue. Some training offices will remain open, and emergency response teams will remain available as needed.

A limited number of exemptions have been granted to groups of employees who perform critical services in 24/7 facilities or in public safety. These employee groups will not take part in the furloughs:

Mental health employees who provide direct patient care at state run mental health facilities will not be furloughed to assure appropriate patient care and safety in these facilities.

Corrections officers and medical personnel at prisons who ensure safety, security and medical needs at 24/7 facilities will not be furloughed to preserve public safety.

Kentucky State Police officers and communications personnel for KSP will not be furloughed to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of the state.

The furlough plan does not apply to the Legislative or Judicial Branches, as the General Assembly only authorized furloughs for the Executive Branch.