Fletcher freezes state hiring

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Standing before a red-and-blue-draped Capitol, Ernie Fletcher took office Tuesday afternoon, vowing to improve education, make health care more affordable and bring more jobs to the state.

But job seekers need not look to the state for employment anytime soon.

Earlier Tuesday, Fletcher enacted a hiring freeze on the approximately 4,000 vacant positions in state government. Following the order, Fletcher said the positions would be re-evaluated to determine which jobs, if any, could be eliminated.

The new governor, the first Republican to hold the title since Louie Nunn was elected in 1968, said the move was intended to streamline government and trim costs.

In his inaugural address, Fletcher said state government would be reorganized and some cabinets would be merged, and he pledged not to raise taxes.

Meanwhile, his administration plans to improve Kentucky's economy by making the state more business friendly and altering the tax structure.

"We propose incentives to increase wages, modernize taxes, reform regulations to spur opportunity instead of running it out of the state, and more vigorous support of the industries already here," Fletcher said in his inaugural address. "In short, we're going to bring good jobs back home."

The speech didn't outline Fletcher's specific plans to accomplish the goals set forth throughout his campaign, but was well-received by onlookers who gave him a boisterous ovation.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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