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Allen's Letter Gives Details

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 15 - December 8, 1994

(Editor's note: The following information is part of a faxed communication from the governor, dated December 1. The information deals specifically with the decision to downsize state government, and contains verbatim language from the Governor's Office.)

To reduce the size and cost of government, the need for a significant reduction in the workforce is inescapable. Just as businesses and enterprises across American have been forced to reduce the size of their workforce to meet the challenges of this competitive new era, so must government at the state, federal, and local levels carefully re-evaluate programs and seek ways to achieve savings.

While workforce reductions are as difficult as they are essential, I intend to achieve this objective with the least possible disruption to the lives of our dedicated state employees.

To achieve this goal, I have today issued Executive Order Thirty-Eight (94), which outlines the following five methods that will be employed in reducing the size of the workforce:

1. An immediate freeze on new hiring.

2. Natural attrition as employees retire or seek other job opportunities outside of state government.

3. A program to provide employees with an incentive to leave state government service voluntarily.

Employees accepted for participation in this incentive plan will receive compensation equivalent to one week's pay for every full year of continuous service in state government, not to exceed a maximum of 26 weeks. You soon will be receiving detailed information regarding the availability of this incentive plan from the director of the Department of Personnel and Training.

I have ordered a freeze on layoffs until the end of the period in which employees are permitted to request participation in the incentive plan (Feb. 28, 1995).

4. Layoffs, but only if adequate savings are not achieved through attrition and incentive-based voluntary departures.

The director of the Department of Personnel and Training is today issuing three amendments to Virginia's Layoff Policy that will make the process more fair and less disruptive. The changes include: a) establishing severance pay (one-two weeks of pay, depending on years of service); b) increasing re-employment opportunities with the commonwealth for those affected by layoffs; c) reducing the number of employees disrupted and the number of layoffs necessary by eliminating the practice of "bumping."

5. Privatization of various functions and programs currently performed by state government agencies.

While we are challenged by the high expectations of citizens and the need to reduce government spending, we also must remain dedicated to maintaining a high-quality workforce.

Your pride in your work in state government's most valuable asset. And I am committed to rewarding excellence in state service.

Recognizing Excellence In Our Workforce

Employees of the commonwealth deserve to have performance recognized and rewarded, just as citizens deserve to have their tax dollars spent wisely through the efficient, courteous delivery of essential services.

Both can be realized by developing a highly motivated and highly skilled workforce which, while leaner, is responsive and committed to getting the job done.

To accomplish this goal, I have directed the appropriate agency heads to developed policies based on these objectives:

* Pay will continue to be based on performance.

* Cost savings realized through employee effort will earn employees a percentage of the savings.

* Teamwork and sharing of knowledge and skills will be encouraged and rewarded.

* A greater choice of health benefits will be offered.

* Employee personnel procedures will be simplified.

* Employees will be encouraged and expected to participate in solving problems and improving working conditions. The best ideas for improvement should come from the front-line employee who performs the task or delivers the service for our customers.

* Employees will be encouraged to develop and broaden skills.

Our ultimate goal is to be faithful to the wishes of the people of Virginia and to achieve the objectives they have set for us.

By working together, we can provide the best possible service for the owners of Virginia's state government--the taxpayers.

Thank you for your dedication and effort through these challenging times of improvement and change.

Sincerely, George Allen