New York State is not an employee-owned company. State employees don't have any authority to hire, fire or lay off other state employees. The only way state employees fund themselves and their coworkers is as taxpayers. They have no control over the revenue decisions made by the governor and the Legislature.
The press, some editorials and some letters to the editor are doing PEF members who voted against the tentative contract a great injustice by implying that if there are layoffs, they are at fault. The implication puts the blame for layoffs on the wrong party.
It is clear from the "management rights" clause of every union contract that it is the governor who, limited only by the Civil Service Law and other laws, has the authority over the workforce listed in that clause.
Similarly, any state employee whom the governor lays off is mistaken to direct his or her frustration, disappointment and anger at fellow PEF members who voted against the tentative agreement in the belief that whatever layoff decisions the governor makes at any time should not be blamed on anyone but the governor and the Legislature's budgetary decisions.
From the list of agencies targeted for layoffs, one might question whether the governor has been in office long enough to appreciate the mission, purposes, objectives and policies of his responsibilities as governor or the talented civil servants who implement them even when the political process becomes dysfunctional.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The following comment appeared today as a letter to the editor in the Albany Times Union newspaper: