April 12, 2017
April 12, 2017
VSEA’s Board of Trustees invited Vermont’s newly elected Governor Phil Scott to stop by its monthly meeting today in Montpelier for an informal meet-and-greet, as well as to talk about his vision for state government moving forward and discuss areas where he and VSEA might be able to work together to improve public services for all Vermonters. Joining Scott at the meeting were the two members of his cabinet who are likely to have the most interaction with VSEA leaders and members during his tenure, Secretary of the Administration Suzanne Young and newly appointed Department of Human Resources Commissioner Beth Fastiggi.
Some of the topics the Governor was asked about include: the possible privatization of Vermont guardrail repair; assaults on VSEA DOC, DCF, DMH and VVH members; frontline worker safety and security enhancements; what lies ahead for health care; possibility of “spending a day working as a state employee;” increased State Colleges’ funding and DOC policy and protocols.
As part of the meeting, several Board members presented the Governor with a giant petition signed by more than 1,200 VSEA members and supporters. The petition declares VSEA members’ readiness to work cooperatively with the Governor to address the many challenges confronting Vermont’s public services, and, in return, it asks him to:
- Invest in public services, not in private contractors;
- Protect state employees’ benefits, especially our defined benefit pension plan, because this benefit plays a large part in attracting and retaining new talent to state government;
- Enhance employees’ safety and security while at work; and
- Respect state employees’ right to collectively bargain.
Scott thanked the Board for the petition and told them that he is hopeful he can work with VSEA to confront some of Vermont’s largest challenges. Scott then reminded Board members that he has been a longtime advocate of going straight to frontline workers to find solutions to problems, sharing a story about having to hunt down a BGS employee to unlock his office door on his first day as Governor.
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