Letter: Don’t start cutting at the bottomAfter talking to Denny McNamara about how to cut the state’s budget deficit and how impact can be minimized, we do agree that staffing cuts have long been decided by top management and therefore they tend to protect the jobs near the top.
By: Allan Paul, Cottage Grove, South Washington County Bulletin
After talking to Denny McNamara about how to cut the state’s budget deficit and how impact can be minimized, we do agree that staffing cuts have long been decided by top management and therefore they tend to protect the jobs near the top. I work for the veterans home in Hastings as a general maintenance worker (custodian). In Veterans Affairs, we tend to not suffer layoffs as other state agencies have, but what does always seem to happen are positions not being filled that have existed in the past and even those positions are eliminated in favor of office jobs that never existed before. Also, positions are sometimes split from a full-time position with health insurance and other benefits to two quarter-time positions. This of course saves money in the short term but the agency can’t attract good workers with no benefits, and therefore turnover creates more training costs and efficiency and quality of care is lost. This very point was explained recently at the State Capitol to legislators by our union leaders in relation to why the Minneapolis Veterans Home has had so many problems retaining nursing staff and therefore had Health Department violations in past years.
The reality is the state needs to prevent layoffs if at all possible because we contribute much to the tax base and as consumers. The governor might have to change his policy and raise taxes on the wealthy like our union has recommended all along. Also, agencies should take advice (that has been ignored in the past) from its front line employees about cutting material costs. Our deficit may not get fixed in one year’s time, but wise, not hasty, decisions should be made.