Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Question looms on exempt employee positions

With just two days to go for Gov. Bill Richardson to take action on budget cuts approved by the Legislature in the recent special session, Republican lawmakers are urging him not to veto a measure under which he'd have to eliminate 102 appointed positions, about 60 of which are vacant.

"Don’t exempt the exempt cuts," Sen. John Ryan said in a statement. "Governor, don’t exempt from the list of bills you sign the bill that cuts some of your exempt hires."

Ryan, R-Albuquerque, sponsored a measure under which the governor would have to axe the jobs.

He said the average salary and benefits for an exempt employee is $105,000 a year. Signing his bill could save the state $10 million a year, he said.

"There are a lot better uses for this money especially as the state faces financial crisis. In order to pay for the governor’s friends on the state’s payroll, programs and services have lost out on that funding," he said.

While Richardson has been vocal about other budget cuts, he hasn't said much about the exempt positions.

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