Sweeney Statement On Public Employee Furloughs

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem) issued the following statement following today’s adoption of emergency rules by the Civil Service Commission giving state and local governments the ability to impose mandatory furloughs:

“Today’s action by the Civil Service Commission will give state and local leaders the flexibility they need to maneuver through the worst financial crisis in recent memory. The commission’s finding today that an emergency exists allows us to immediately move forward with plans for temporary furloughs in the current budget and in the budget that will take effect July 1.

“The furlough plan, while imposing a hardship on public employees across the state, is still preferable to the alternative, which would likely mean lay-offs of thousands of workers at a time when the unemployment rate is already rising to levels not seen in many years. Temporary furloughs, stretched out over a period of more than a year, will more fairly distribute the pain across all segments of the public workforce rather than impose what could be catastrophic job losses upon thousands of hard-working men and women.

“We don’t have to look any further to our neighbors in New York, where Governor Paterson has already initiated plans to eliminate the jobs of 9,000 state employees. While job furloughs and wage freezes are painful, we all have to accept that sacrifices will have to be made by all public employee in New Jersey, and that the other choices for closing our budget shortfall would be far worse.”