State orders $2.5M cuts in OT, travel, temp. staffing

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The Shumlin administration has ordered state agencies to reduce overtime,travel and temporary staffing to meet a $2.5 million budget cut agreed to this year with the Legislature.

In a memo sent Thursday to department heads, Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding told them that their general fund budgets in three areas would be cut by 10 percent, except in limited cases:

OVERTIME: “Discretionary overtime has increased excessively in recent years, and can and must be reduced,” Spaulding said in the memo.

TEMPORARY STAFFING: “The Administration is concerned that departments are utilizing temporary staffing in circumstances where the required work could be done with existing permanent employees,” Spaulding said.

TRAVEL: “With the increased use of available technology, and/or better coordination of effort, the Administration believes that in many instances departments can accomplish their programmatic responsibilities with less in-state and out-of-state travel.”

Spaulding also said the state would count on a 1.1 percent savings from employee vacancies created by attrition, which could mean leaving positions open longer than they would be otherwise.

Spaulding said departments could choose to find the savings in other areas instead, as long as the cuts don’t hinder deliver of services.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, said she hadn’t seen the memo but that the cuts made sense. Given that it is early in the fiscal year that started July 1 and the cuts are across all agencies, she said, “It’s doable.”

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