Lay-off talk at Council of State

February 3, 2009 1:43:25 PM PST
Governor Beverly Perdue made history Tuesday at her first monthly meeting of the Council of State. With six of the ten members being women, it's the first time there has ever been a female majority on the panel.The Council of State includes Former Governor Easley, the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, and Commissioner of Insurance.

The group didn't have time to celebrate the moment. The Governor quickly got down to the economic crisis facing the state.

She told the group that state agencies should prepare for possible layoffs.

"Sometime there would be a RIF," she said.

RIF is an acronym for "reduction in force." That could mean laying off state workers. She told members that they needed to review the state RIF policy.

"We pray that we won't get to that point, but as we downsize state government and cut 7 percent, we do know that it's going to take a lot of tough decision making. And we are bold and we can do that. But you do need to have your houses in order administratively," she said.

After the meeting, the governor made it clear that layoffs are not inevitable.

"I do not anticipate RIF's or layoffs or even a 4-day or 5-day work week for some state employees. But I think it does us all justice to be prepared as the economy continues to soften," she said.

Members of the Council of State were reminded by the State Budget Director that tax collections continue to fall further and further behind last year's projections. He said that he appreciated the efforts of all state departments to meet the Governor's mandate of cutting 7 percent.

During tough times, we've gotta make bold and difficult decisions and get a plan in place and stick to it. And that's what we're gonna do," said Charlie Perusse.


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