Legislature exempts session employees from furloughs | RecordCourier.com

Legislature exempts session employees from furloughs

by Geoff Dornan

The Legislative Commission voted Friday to exempt their permanent staff and temporary hires during the 2011 Legislature from the unpaid furloughs all other state workers face.

In a letter to the commission, Counsel Bureau Director Lorne Malkiewich said because of the tight schedule during the Legislature, the exemption is necessary. To grant the exemption, he said lawmakers must find that those workers are “needed to provide appropriate services that are necessary to the protection of public welfare.”

The commission first approved the exemptions for permanent staff at its May meeting. The Legislative Counsel Bureau employs nearly 300 people.

Friday’s vote extends that exemption to the roughly 125 temporary workers hired for the duration of the Legislative session.

“We wanted to make sure all employees were available all 120 days of session,” he said.

The exemption will apply only for the four months of February through May.

Malkiewich told the commission LCB “over-saved money in the first year of the biennium” and has about $300,000 to cover the cost.

The one-day-a-month unpaid furloughs were ordered for all state employees except in special cases involving some critical need, public welfare or public safety. They equate to a 4.6 percent pay cut for those workers.