LINGLE CALLS HGEA OFFER UNACCEPTABLE; NON-UNION LAYOFFS MOVED FORWARD TO SEPT. 16

August 28, 2009, 4:21 PM HST · Updated August 28, 4:28 PM
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Governor Linda Lingle. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Governor Linda Lingle. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Governor Linda Lingle will hold an emergency meeting with her cabinet directors over the weekend to identify additional spending reductions needed to close the growing budget shortfall.  Today, Lingle said reductions will likely include additional layoffs in order to realize labor savings.

The meeting comes on the heels of a reduced revenue forecast that is projected to result in an additional $98 million deficit over the biennium.

In a statement today, Lingle called the Hawaii Government Employees Association “unrealistic” in its position on the administration’s latest offer.  “We must take the difficult step of identifying additional spending cuts, including a possible further reduction in force,” said Governor Lingle.  “This is not something we want to do, but something that is necessary to meet our constitutional responsibility to balance the budget,” Lingle said.

“I continue to believe that furloughs would be preferable for both the state employees and the public.  After discussions between our negotiating team and the HGEA and providing them with what we considered to be a very fair plan, I truly believed that we were very close to reaching an agreement that would have avoided layoffs.  However, we cannot accept the response we received from the union leadership yesterday,” Lingle said.

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Lingle said the State had made a similar offer to the United Public Workers (UPW) prior to the Council on Revenues meeting and received no response.

Given the size of the budget shortfall, the Governor indicated the additional reductions would be substantial and focus on a major restructuring of departments and state government, including the possible elimination of some programs and services.

Governor Lingle also announced the three-day furlough for roughly 900 non-union employees will start on September 16, 2009.

Initially Lingle had planned to furlough non-union employees in alignment with the furlough of union employees.  “Since the HGEA’s offer is not acceptable,” Lingle said the furlough of non-union employees will move forward.

(Posted by Wendy Osher, Information provided by the Office of Governor Linda Lingle.)

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