"Jim Douglas won’t negotiate with the Legislature. JFO members know Jim Douglas won’t negotiate with the union. No matter what VSEA offers, Jim Douglas will cut jobs, regardless of who it hurts."
Budget cuts threaten Vermont excellence
Here we go again. Members of the Vermont State Employees Association bargaining teams again offered more in give-backs than the administration was asking for, and yet again the governor turned them down, saying it wasn’t enough. No surprise. Jim Douglas has no intention of negotiating with VSEA. His agenda is to decimate state government and services as much as he can before stepping down.
The big disappointment is the action taken by the Joint Fiscal Committee. They learned during the last round of budget talks that Douglas insists on his way or the highway, yet they dumped the responsibility on VSEA members to find $7.4 million in "labor savings." They accepted the Douglas "proposal" even though it contained no details of how services would be affected. They held their public hearing on a weekday afternoon. They heard people plead with them to reject the governor’s proposal, stating it would hurt our most vulnerable citizens. They adopted the proposal anyway.
Only Rep. Mark Larson had the backbone to vote nay, saying he wanted information on the impact of the cuts. Some committee members paid lip service to VSEA by saying they had faith that the union and administration could find a solution. Jim Douglas won’t negotiate with the Legislature. JFO members know Jim Douglas won’t negotiate with the union. No matter what VSEA offers, Jim Douglas will cut jobs, regardless of who it hurts. Destruction of nationally-recognized excellence in state services will be his legacy to Vermonters.
THERESA R. LeFEBVRE