Monday, October 19, 2009

Bill would limit exempt employees

One of the more interesting measures I heard introduced today in the House was a bill by Rep. Nate Cote that would the number of limit exempt employees who make more than $50,000.

The bill could mean big savings at a time it's most needed: Cote said axing at least 180 exempt jobs from the budget would save $8.1 million for the rest of this year and twice that in the next fiscal year.

"Under the current fiscal conditions, all state expenditures must be analyzed and none excluded," Cote said in a statement. "I’ve noticed significant growth in the number of exempt positions in the last several years and the incumbents of which could be placed into permanent classified positions . . . I feel the state government has grown too large for the revenue available in the state of New Mexico,” he said.

That's a hot topic, so expect fireworks as the bill makes it through the process. (IF it makes it through the process...deciding whether it's germane should be an interesting time.) I'll link to the bill as soon as it's available.

Cote said in a release that the number of exempt employees rose by 27 positions from 789 to 816 under the Richardson administration, but the number of state classified employees has stayed the same.

Meanwhile, see this link for a list of what's been introduced so far, although you should give it a little time to be updated.

The House is out until 1 p.m. Tuesday. Senate still in session. They are having a discussion with Department of Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Katherine Miller on the outlook of the state's finances. Oddly enough, the discussion is now centered on exempt salaries. . . Listen here.

UPDATE, 5:28
After a lengthy discsussion on everything from waiting lists for services to the developmentally disabled to exempt government positions to education funding, the Senate just recessed until 11 a.m. Tuesday. There is, however, a Democratic caucus before that. So I wouldn't bet on the Senate starting exactly at 11. . .

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