This e-Blast is to answer some of the questions regarding the position of AHPA on the budget-imposed furloughs. After the passage of the budget during the 7th Legislative Special Session, I met with Director Halliday to inform him of the official position of AHPA regarding the furloughs. As you recall, the budget imposed six furlough days in each of the next two fiscal years. There were exceptions to those furloughs but those exceptions would only be granted by ADOA after an application was submitted by the agency seeking furlough exemptions. On that March 25th meeting, I suggested the Director submit a furlough exemption application and that application include the entire department. I made that suggestion based on not only the language in the budget bills that indicated exemptions could be granted for those employees tied to “direct public safety,” but also on the fact that as an employee organization, I thought it was important that everyone be included in that application.
All applications for the furlough exemptions were to be submitted to ADOA by the close of business on April 2. On April 6, I learned the agency did not submit an application for the furlough exemption. After learning this, I met with the Director and stated my disappointment in the decision. I felt that, at a minimum, the application should have been submitted and put into the hands of ADOA to make a final determination on whom, if any would be exempted from the furloughs.
On April 9, Director Halliday informed me that he had changed his mind and was given permission to submit an application for the furlough exemption. He stated the decision was made to include all sworn, all operational communications and ACJIS computer personnel in the application. On the 14th, I received a call from the Director informing me that the application for the furlough exemption was approved by ADOA.
That is the complete chain of events that occurred between the passage of the Special Session budget and now with respect to the furloughs. I made it very clear to Director Halliday from the beginning that the entire agency should have been included in the furlough exemption application.
Additionally, when Governor Brewer released her budget plan in January, it was clear that a 5% pay cut for everyone was eminent. That message was reinforced when the Governor attended our meeting in February. Myself and Kelsey Lundy worked feverishly at the legislature and the Governor’s office to protect as much of our base pay as possible.
I will be following up with Director Halliday to express AHPA’s concern that 37 percent of DPS was not included in the exemption application and that we feel he should have at the least requested that the entire department be exempted from the furloughs and let ADOA decide. I will also ask what the Director’s intentions are in applying for an application to exempt the remaining employees from the specified furlough days.
I think that the final budget that was introduced and passed was a compromise to the pressure that was felt by both. I understand this has been a stressful time for all of us. We have all had to make some adjustments in our everyday lives. Sticking together and working to protect our members and agency will continue to be paramount.
Article written by/or information provided by AHPA