Haslam rules out layoffs in 1st year - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Haslam rules out layoffs in 1st year

NASHVILLE (WRCB/AP) - Republican Gov.-elect Bill Haslam's plans for addressing Tennessee's budget problems do not include any immediate "wholesale cuts" of state employees.

Haslam, who takes office on Jan. 15, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he will try to find payroll savings by leaving more positions unfilled, rather than eliminating existing jobs.

He says that approach may change after the new administration has had time to evaluate government operations after a year in office.

Robert O'Connell, executive director of the Tennessee State Employees Association, says it's "very interesting and very hopeful" that Haslam has ruled out layoffs in his first year.

As of June there were about 44,000 state government jobs funded through the general fund, paying an average of $41,000 in salary and benefits.

Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey has joined Haslam's staff as Deputy Governor and Chief of Staff.

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