Governor announces salary freeze for state employees

State employees received an email today from the Governor regarding a pay freeze for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.  He has also asked the employees union to reconsider its stance on the pay freeze.

The following is the email sent to state employees:

May 25, 2010

To All State Employees:

I wanted you to hear directly from me about the State's financial challenges and the decisions that will impact you.  As you know, the State of Nebraska has faced some difficult financial challenges this past year and more challenges are ahead of us. 

For example, last November I called a special session of the Legislature to respond to the Nebraska Forecasting Advisory Board's reduction in projected revenue of $315 million.  We worked with the Legislature to balance the State's budget through budget reductions and cash transfers.  Most state agencies had their budgets reduced by five percent. 

In the most recent legislative session, many state agency's budgets were reduced another two percent.  The salaries of Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor and State Treasurer will be frozen for four years (2011-2014).  All employees of the Legislature will have their salaries frozen for fiscal year 10-11.

I have frozen the salaries of all top management personnel for fiscal year 10-11.  Today I am announcing that the salaries of all rules covered employees will be frozen for fiscal year 10-11.

The decision to freeze rules covered employee salaries was a difficult one but I believe it is necessary to save jobs.  I realize that it will require sacrifices by you and your family, and I want you to know that I appreciate your commitment and dedication to the citizens we serve.

Additionally, I am asking NAPE/AFSCME Local 61 to reconsider its position regarding a pay freeze for union employees.  Earlier this year, I asked the union officials to work with us about a pay freeze but they rejected that proposal.  In a spirit of fairness and in order to minimize future layoffs, I sent the following letter today asking them to reconsider their position. 

I also want you to be aware that for approximately the past two years, I have asked code agency directors to minimize potential future layoffs by carefully evaluating the replacement of employees who retire or employees who accepted another job.  We will continue with this practice as we move forward.

As we look to the future, I am confident that the national economy will recover at some point.  The challenge for states is historically as the economy recovers, state revenues tend to lag behind for 12-24 months.

We will be watching monthly receipt totals very closely.  I am hopeful that our worst days are behind us.  I know the road ahead will be a bumpy one.  For the next six to nine months, I expect there will be months when we exceed receipt projections and months that fall short of projections.

I want to emphasize that our efforts so far have put Nebraska in a much better financial position than most states.

Thank you for your service.

Sincerely,

Dave Heineman

Governor