Cut political jobs first, Graham asks

By FRED LUCAS State Journal Staff Writer Published:

State Rep. Derrick Graham is looking at drafting a bill to protect a large part of his constituency, career state employees, should a budget call for laying off state workers.

The bill would require the state - should the necessity for layoffs occur - to target non-merit employees such as principal assistants, personal service contractors and political appointees, before considering career state workers.

Graham, a freshman Democrat representing Franklin County, stressed the bill is preliminary and would only be effective if layoffs have to occur in the midst of the state's $500 million budget shortfall.

Layoffs are a concern among state employee groups, even though Gov. Paul Patton has said the workforce can be reduced by 1,000 employees through attrition and retirement. But some legislators from both parties have said the possibility of layoffs can't be ruled out.

"If we're going to have to have layoffs after attrition and retirements and all is done, then we should look at those political appointees, principal assistants and personal service contracts before we look at career employees," Graham said.

For more on this story, see today's State Journal.

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