*** UPDATE *** Gov. Quinn will appeal the judge’s ruling in favor of AFSCME. From a press release…
The State of Illinois will be appealing today’s ruling.
Illinois is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis and budget reductions must be made, including cuts to the State’s administrative and personnel costs. Our plan includes responsible layoffs that do not jeopardize public safety.
We have carefully followed every step required in the AFSCME contract throughout this process, including executing our ability to make layoffs. In addition, the State provided AFSCME with an alternative solution that included furlough days and wage freezes to minimize employee layoffs. Unfortunately AFSCME was not willing to negotiate, so we were forced to move ahead with the layoffs.
We will be appealing today’s court decision on the basis that our plan is responsible and legally sound. We are asking that the court not intervene as we work to save the State from this financial emergency.
[ *** End of Update *** ]
* Johnson County Judge Todd Lambert has stopped Gov. Quinn’s planned layoffs for now…
Lambert put in place a preliminary injunction stopping the layoffs until both sides can work out their differences through arbitration or another kind of agreement. Lambert determined AFSCME’s complaints “are not frivolous and reflect a genuine dispute between the parties.”
“The risk to the employees targeted for layoff or laid off fair outweighs any damages or other harm the state may suffer by having to delay the layoffs pending arbitration of the pending grievances,” Lambert wrote in his four-page order.
The union was trying to block layoffs of more than 500 workers scheduled for Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. That was out of more than 2,600 layoffs Quinn planned for the full year, facing deep budget problems.
* But is the layoff plan really a layoff plan? Kurt Erickson takes a look at what the Quinn administration said in court last week…
Five low-security prisons - Vienna, East Moline, Vandalia, Logan and Decatur - will lose both guards and inmates, the latter leaving via a controversial early release program designed to put non-violent offenders back on the streets.
Guards targeted for layoffs will be given the opportunity to move to other prisons where there are vacancies. Special attention will be paid to prisons with high overtime costs, such as the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in Chester.
In addition, a few hundred new correctional officers - some of whom just finished their cadet training classes in Springfield - will be dispatched to prisons with high vacancy and overtime rates.
The plan, if implemented, will cut overtime costs from $68 million to about $36 million, the official said.
Although the administration contends the governor’s layoff plan won’t necessarily result in any current prison workers losing their jobs, they do admit it will force some of the guards to have to move to be closer to their new jobs.
* Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn resorted to Blagojevich talking points over the weekend…
Governor Pat Quinn joined students and educators Friday to support restoring scholarships called the Illinois Monetary Assistance Program Grants.
There have been cuts in the grants because of the state’s budget crisis.
“It was a tough budget year and the General Assembly decided to only fund the first semester of college scholarships. That’s not acceptable, we have two semesters here,” Quinn said.
As I explained to subscribers this morning, Quinn fully shares the blame for this particular cut. Putting it off on the GA is cowardly and just plain wrong. He also issued a Blagojevichian threat…
Quinn said the [MAP grant] issue will be addressed when the General Assembly returns for the veto session in October. […]
“We’ll keep calling special sessions if we have to,” Quinn said.
* Treating the mentally ill in Illinois prisons
* Retirees opting out of state dental insurance
* Budget issues force probation officers to play waiting game
* McCarter, Flider decry prison cuts
* Online Casino Patrons Confused by Legal Illinois Internet Gaming
* Fairmount gets 52 dates for next season, bets on Internet gambling to boost wagering
* MAP quest
* Much support, little funding for college MAP grants