October 15, 2007

Quick Hit: Governor's Work Force Reduction Numbers

Marc Comtois

Governor Carcieri outlined his $200 million state budget reduction plan. He only mentioned two of the three points--$50 million in cuts to social service programs and $50 million in cuts to state employee health benefits--and focused on the $100 million he intends to save via a work force reduction plan.

According to the Governor, of the 15,000 employees in RI State government, 10,072 are directly under the Governor's authority. His administration has spent months analyzing current business plans to help determine how to make departments more efficient and cost-effective and to reduce duplication of services. He plans on cutting around 1,000 jobs via:

1) After a thorough review of current contract workers, it has been determined that 115 positions can be and will be eliminated ASAP.
2) In the 1st 2 months of Fiscal Year 2008, 87 state workers have retired or left and not been replaced. It is estimated that 400 will leave and not be replaced throughout the rest of the year.
3) 414 jobs will be eliminated throughout state government. Of these, 20% are non-union, 22% are outside contractors. The remaining 56% are union jobs. The point is that all workers will be feeling the pinch.

Finally, he asked other State government leaders--the legislature, Supreme Court, etc.--to do their part in cutting costs.

UPDATE: ProJo has more. Check out Steve People's editorializing:

Today’s press conference marks the attempt of a governor, with plummeting poll numbers, to take control of the Smith Hill spending debate months before lawmakers return to the State House and try to rehabilitate his image along the way.
The fact that the Governor is trying to "take control of the Smith Hill spending debate" is true enough, but the bit about poll numbers and image rehabilitation--though it also may be true--doesn't really belong in a "news" piece, does it?

UPDATE II: This morning's ProJo piece also contains essentially the same paragraph--with an appended adjustment:

The carefully scripted news conference marks the attempt of a governor, with plummeting poll numbers, to take control of the Smith Hill spending debate three months before lawmakers return to the State House, and try to rehabilitate his image along the way, according to political observers.
Maybe it's splitting hairs, but that qualification makes a difference. Of course, one wonders if the political observers are, um, the reporters themselves?

UPDATE III: The Governor appeared on John DePetro's show this morning to discuss his proposals. Of note, he was quite upset with the Journal's shaping of the story as some sort of PR stunt on his part. Guess I wasn' t the only one to notice.

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I do think Steve People's editorial comments are not only inappropriate, but also not very accurate.

If the governor was concerned about poll numbers (which I'm condident in asserting, he's not), as opposed to just doing the right thing for the state, he'd have come out with a much more aggressive "slash and burn" plan to cut a lot more jobs much quicker (think PATCO 1981). As it is, I still think what he explained today is a good start and is going in the right direction, and I support it.

However, I think for the FY 2009 budget, we're going to need to continue to make further workforce reductions, because the budget deficit is still likely to be in the dumper and will need to be plugged with something. As the governor correctly asserted, we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. Reducing state payroll further is a significant piece of solving our overall budget dilemma for the longterm. As it stands right now, our present spending course is simply not sustainable.

One thing that the governor has going for him is that a number of union contracts will be coming up for renegotiation in the near future. If he plays his cards right, he can reap a whole lot more savings by reducing healthcare, pension, COLAs and other things at the negotiating table. That will have a much longer term positive impact for the state. A state our size simply doesn't need a workforce as bloated as ours.

Posted by: Will at October 15, 2007 4:36 PM


Accuracy (along with truthful and fact based reporting) has not been a strong point with the ProJo for the past several years. Like with everything else they touch, liberals diminish the quality of the product when they gain control of it. How many counties are here in Lil' Rhody? lol

Posted by: Tim at October 15, 2007 5:39 PM

Polling numbers of major officals are always news.I'm totally puzzled as to why a governor's polling numbers are not a relevant issue when that governer is rolling out a major policy initiative. Could someone explain that please?

I predict that his approval rating will drop another 5 or more points in the next 2 months (which is kind of a stretch, considering how low they are now). But, for what it's worth, I don't think he should pay attention to those polls.

Tim says, "Like with everything else they touch, liberals diminish the quality of the product when they gain control of it."

Ah, yes. Liberal=bad, Us=good. So nice and comfortable to live in a world where our enemies are so clearly defined for us. Thanks, Tim!

Posted by: Thomas at October 15, 2007 8:18 PM

So the unions and the socialists are already lining up in opposition to the Governor's plan with the hopes of making him look so bad between now and the next election that the voters elect in a Socialist Governor. I think that's pretty clear from Spider-Boy's press release which basically read

Dear Don,

Blow me.


So my next question is "Then what?" The money situation is far worse. The taxpayers are even more fed up. The unions and the poverty pukes are tearing at each other's clothes for the final scraps and in one last flailing in desperation the electorate bounces out every incumbent and elects a whole new General Assembly full of those from the left, right and center who's first act is to implement stiff new rules against the behaviour that got the state this bad.

And that idea is no more absurd that what the idiots in the union are saying when they proclaim from the mountaintop "Nothing to see here. Move along. We're raising your taxes again. Shut up and take it because we've taxed the rich right out of the state and you bastards are all we have left."

Posted by: Greg at October 15, 2007 8:40 PM


Carcieri won't be running again so who cares about his ratings? He will have the opportunity to do what needs to be done. The first 1000 is a beginning, but probably not the end. Suggestion - let's stop providing services to illegal aliens.

Us = can count and do elementary math, liberals = only know how to tax. If you think the latter is good, then I invite you to send in extra tax payments - in this state, there are more liberals (or at least Democrats) and if they all paid in a 10% surcharge, that would be helpful. After you, my dear Alphonse.

Posted by: chuckR at October 15, 2007 8:43 PM


Re: Carcieri's ratings, Marc seems to care insofar as he thinks the ProJo should not have reported them.

I'm pretty much with you are far as services to illegal aliens, but when you say, "Us = can count and do elementary math, liberals = only know how to tax", I have to say:

Oh c'mon. I've seen what you've written here. You can do better than such a cheap (and innacurate) shot. Simple falsification of your claim: Paul Krugman can do math better than either of us and he's a liberal.

Posted by: Thomas at October 15, 2007 8:58 PM


Think you've got Pat's press release mixed up with a memo he rountinely circulates to certain underlings within the AG's office. lol
Of interest to note how Pat Lynch lives in the 40%'s and has rarely hit the 50% mark in any Brown U poll since he's been in office yet that's never an issue raised with the media. Only the one Republican in Rhode Island who holds major office is made to answer for polling numbers r/t a job he's term limited in. Welcome to the wonderful world of the media double standards.


The governor announced his general plan at 1,000 layoffs long before the Brown poll and told us a more comprehensive plan would be forthcoming. So tell us again what today has to do with the Brown poll? Btw instead of whining offense at my accurate characterization of liberal mediocrity why don't you analyze the appropriateness of liberal talking points being presented as 'reporting' at the Projo? You Democrats just can't stand self analysis. Told you so!

Posted by: Tim at October 15, 2007 9:21 PM


1. OK, I'll tell you again. In any story about any major gov't. official, especially one making a major policy announcement, the official's poll numbers are a rea onable part of the story. That goes for Carcieri, Bush, or ANYONE, Democrat or Republican. Lame-Duckness is relevant, but not decisive. Public support has a lot to do with how other political actors respond. It's easier to ignore or denegrate an unpopular leader than one who has strong popular support.

2 I can't even begin to take apart that second sentence. mediocrity? Huh? Do you mean "mediocracy" or is that a Rush neolgism that I haven't heard yet? Why is it my job to defend the ProJo? Self-analysis is fine. YOUR analysis is inane.

Posted by: Thomas at October 15, 2007 9:38 PM

Kudos to the Governor.

Rhode Island is the seventh highest taxed state and, as Greg pointed out, the fact that we are dead last in business tax climate means we have maxed out the revenue (taxes) we can get from the "bad guys" (corporations and the "rich"). And with all that, we're still looking at annual deficits north of $200 million!

This ain't a revenue problem. It's a spending problem. For decades, Democrats in the General Assembly have made too many promises to too many people and special interests (and much of it of quizzical value to the state as a whole). Now the bill has come due in a big way.

Don Carcieri didn't create this situation but he feels an obligation to try to turn it around. Those of us who don't want to leave the state just yet appreciate that. And those whose public pensions he is trying to salvage should have a kind thought for him, too. Left to our own devices, some of us would not be as energetic or motivated on that front as the Governor.

Posted by: Monique at October 15, 2007 10:03 PM


Sorry I offended you. However, its a man bites dog story when a liberal constrains spending and lowers taxes. As for Krugman, I hope you can do better that. At least he's marginally better than Robert "Red Robbie" Kuttner.
And I reject that Krugman can do math better than I can. Like another economist, Larry Summers, he's probably better at statistics, but in the type of math used in my engineering field - variational calculus, continuum mechanics, numerical analysis, etc., I don't think he's got the goods. Regardless, math is nice, judgment and common sense is better - here's a recent assessment of Krugment that I agree with - http://tinyurl.com/25k8ew.

Posted by: chuckR at October 15, 2007 10:03 PM


Oh, I'm not offended at all.

I've got a few semesters of graduate stats, but I bow to your superior math skills and should never have made any claims about them.

Nonetheless, the claim you made that "Us = can count and do elementary math, liberals = only know how to tax" is self-evidently silly.

Posted by: Thomas at October 15, 2007 10:34 PM

It is clear that the Projo is pinning the blame on Carcieri. It's partially Carcieri's own fault, as he announced the layoffs months before he was able to provide details. This misstep opened him to crticism.

But as we all know, the General Assembly controls the state. While the Projo casts Carcieri as the uncaring chief executive, it continually gives the General Assembly leadership a bye.

The real story is how the General Assembly overspent and managed to create put the state in the red while at the same time creating the state with the worst tax climate.

I have not heard a single Democrat propose a solution. I've heard Democrats call for restoration of social program funding and a repeal of tax breaks. But people recommending that approach are asked how it would affect the tax base. And if the tax base shrinks even more, the tax rates must rise to compensate.

It's just too easy for guys like Bakst to blame Carcieri. He is the chief executive. But to accurate find out how RI ended up in this situation requires an analysis of General Assembly budget sessions going back years ago. That would require work on behalf of Projo staff, so I doubt we'll see it.

Posted by: Anthony at October 16, 2007 5:03 AM

After hearing Pat "Analyze-ation" Crowley this morning on WPRO I've come to understand what it's like trying to negotiate with unions in this state.

It's like negotiating with your two year old at bedtime. "Noooooo mommy! I don't wanna pay a reasonable co-pay! Nooooooo!"

Posted by: Greg at October 16, 2007 7:38 AM


You're an NEA member aren't you? lol
For you my man.

Main Entry: me·di·oc·ri·ty
Pronunciation: \ˌmē-dē-ˈä-krə-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural me·di·oc·ri·ties
Date: 1588
1 a: the quality or state of being mediocre b: moderate ability or value
2: a mediocre person

Thomas can you cite any other Rhode Island politician who's poll numbers are an obsession with the Projo? Did you see where the Projo now has Brown pollster and flaming lib Darrell West doing play-by-play commentary on every move the governor makes? That's liberal media treatment reserved for the one and only Republican holding higher office in the state. Can you cite any instances where initiatives taken by Lynch or Mollis or Reed or Kennedy or Speaker Murphy are met with media analysis of their poll numbers? Any instances? At all? No!
That treatment is reserved O-N-L-Y for the governor. Try some straight talk would you please.


It's not a question of Projo staff not wanting to work hard when looking at the Democrat controlled General Assembly and its' prominent role in the demise of this state. The Projo staff is chock full of Democrats whose primary 'journalistic' (lol) function is to shape and mold their half truths and mis/disinformation campaigns to fit the party agenda. Simply read today's Projo coverage of the governor's press conference to see that agenda in living color.

Posted by: Tim at October 16, 2007 7:57 AM

I should have been more clear. I agree that poll numbers are always included, but in this particular instance, Peoples' editorializing leaves the impression that a major reason that the governor is making job cuts is to help his poll numbers and image. I don't think that's true--the Governor has been talking about this for years. At least, that's how I read it.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at October 16, 2007 8:01 AM

The incessant global failures of the progressives/humanists/communists/liberals or whatever they are currently calling themselves is basic:
They somehow believe that spending can continually be increased at twice (or more) the rate as revenues.

Posted by: Mike at October 16, 2007 10:13 AM

Mike - its that math thing isn't it? Or more likely, it's that (lack of) common sense thing.

Posted by: chuckR at October 16, 2007 11:05 AM

Oh, here we go with the whole ProJo-is-liberal canard. Tell me, how liberal a company is Belo? They're based in Dallas, in what I believe is a right-to-work state (such a union-friendly environment LOL). These are the people who make the decisions and have the right to fire, not Charlie Bakst.
The real power resides with the money, not in the newsroom. And if they hate Carcieri so much, how come they endorsed him twice?

Posted by: rhody at October 16, 2007 11:18 AM

Rhody, if the newsroom (a separate entity from the money) isn't a bunch of liberals, why do we continue to see the "I'm a poor single mom who can't close my legs and I work and Wal-Mart and you should pity me" stories?"

Posted by: Greg at October 16, 2007 11:22 AM

Marc- Then we agree that polls are relevent and I agree, as I said, that the Governor is likely not doing this to improve his polls. I take your point that the ProJo sentence reads, or at least can be read, that way. My sense is that it's second nature for journalists to attribute bad motives to just about everyone. Cynicism sells and the low polls make Carcieri an even easier target. But, you've convinced me to read the ProJo stories more carefully for bias.

Greg- I'm aware that "mediocrity" is a word. It didn't make sense to me in that context because nothing you had said earlier seemed to indicate that you thought the problem with liberals was that they are "mediocre".

As to your point about the ProJo and the governor, I don't know this, but I would be that a survey of major newspapers in the 50 states would show that governors' poll numbers are their primary, if not exclusive concern. Given that most people can't name any other statewide office and 40% or more answer "no opinion" when asked directly about their performance, that's not especially surprising.

Rhody- I get the impression that the ProJo will only satisfy some here when everything on BOTH the editorial and news pages boils down to "all democrats are stupid and venal". Unbiased or balanced reporting is not the goal for them, except to the extent that they define "unbiased" as always saying exactly what they already believe.

ChuckR- Nice shot. But it strikes me that common sense involves making reasoned judgements based on evidence rather than dogmatic global statements held to be self-evident truth and impervious to falsification. i.e:
"The incessant global failures of the progressives…"
"Us = can count and do elementary math, liberals = only know how to tax"
"Like with everything else they touch, liberals diminish the quality of the product when they gain control of it."

Common sense indeed….

Posted by: Thomas at October 16, 2007 12:23 PM

"1. OK, I'll tell you again. In any story about any major gov't. official, especially one making a major policy announcement, the official's poll numbers are a reasonable part of the story. That goes for Carcieri, Bush, or ANYONE, Democrat or Republican. Lame-Duckness is relevant, but not decisive. Public support has a lot to do with how other political actors respond. It's easier to ignore or denegrate an unpopular leader than one who has strong popular support. "

Thomas, I couldn't disagree more. When Lynch announced his opinion on gay marriage, was his popularity (or lack of) mentioned? Or perhaps how his job approval correlated with the public opinion on the issue itself?

Posted by: Thrash at October 16, 2007 1:32 PM


Common sense tells me that the run up in government costs shown in the graphs of nearby posts are unsustainable. You don't need Andrew Wiles' level of math to conclude this.
Perhaps I was a little intemperate about the liberals' inability to do math, but democrats run this place and like to think themselves liberal. They'll rant and rave, but eventually the math will show that another round of cuts as big as Carcieri currently proposes is inevitable. It will cover the effects of business contraction/bad business climate, lack of another one-time band-aid and so forth. The proposal is for $200MM against a deficit of (I thought) $300MM. Add in a flat economy and we'll need another $200MM cut next year. In an election year, it will be interesting to see how long our reps and senators stay in a state of denial.

Posted by: chuckR at October 16, 2007 2:49 PM


Quite sure you would agree with my observation that talk radio is overwhelmingly right leaning. It's obvious to anyone who listens. So my question is why is it so hard for you to acknowledge the signifcant left lean of the Projo and TV news outfits like Channel 10? The only way you can't see it is if you don't read it/view it or your ideology blinds you. Do any of you lefties ever look in the mirror? Are you ever capable of acknowledging anything 'left'?

Btw anyone else growing really tired of Dan Yorke's daily obsession with Gov. Carcieri? Creepy stuff! Do realize the weekly pecking order of pols to pound on for Danny has consistently been the all-Italian club of Carcieri followed by Cicilline with Mollis bringing up the 3rd spot but Danny is even more obsessed than usual. Keep waiting for Danny's wardrobe analysis of the governor. Think he's covered everything else at this point. Dan Yorke's worst nightmare? Pat Lynch winning the Gov's chair in 2010. Danny wouldn't have anything to talk about.

Posted by: Tim at October 16, 2007 3:44 PM

Tim, I didn't know Jim Taricani was a flaming lefty. Was Doug White a card-carrying ACLU commie symp all those years, too? And does Frank Carpano have pro-choice bumper stickers on his car?
And I won't deny there are liberals employed at the ProJo. But they're not in real positions of power. They don't decide where the money goes, or who gets hired or fired.

Posted by: Rhody at October 17, 2007 1:17 AM


Why won't you address the actual product offered up at Channel 10 and the Projo instead of offering this fluffy rhetoric? An example of what I'm talking about. A couple of weeks ago over 100 let me repeat that over 100 members of the Rhode Island National Guard returned from Iraq. They came back early on Saturday afternoon and were met by hundreds of family friends and dignitaries at Quonset. Do you know where that story landed in the Channel 10 line-up on their 6 pm news?? Right before the weather. Do you know what was their lead news story was that day? The 1st anniversary of gay marriage in Massachustts and coverage of a small (maybe 50 people) gathering of gay couples assembled at the RI state house to mark the occassion. That's the liberal media agenda we're talking about and it's present all the time with Channel 10 and the Projo. Since you seem to know a lot about Projo management and who's calling the shots Rhody tell us about that long time Warwick Democrat Projo GM and VP Mark Ryan and his growing influence on that paper. A good place to start would be the editorial board and their flip-flop on the casino question. Didn't come from Dallas!

Posted by: Tim at October 17, 2007 8:52 AM

Never knew Mark Ryan was a lib, either, Tim. Sounds like you know a lot more about what goes on there (and at 10) than I do.
As for Channel 10's news lineup that day, it's not about ideology. Whatever bleeds (or emotes) leads. They led with gay marriage because people on both sides of the issue are extremely fired up about it, and a former Massachusetts governor who strongly opposes gay marriage has made it an important issue in his presidential campaign.
Not to minimize the safe return of our troops from Iraq, but units cycle their way back home regularly. We're all happy to see them back home, and the vets and their families probably don't care where in the newscast they end up (and it's traditional to have a "happy" story leading into the weather).
Now if there was a juicy Internet porn scandal that day, you know what 10 (or the market's other stations) would've led with.

Posted by: rhody at October 17, 2007 11:17 AM

As for the casino flipflop: That wasn't about liberalism, either. It was about raw, naked power lobbying (and perhaps Ryan's inability to resist the charm and wisdom of Harrah's chief lobbyist Jan Jones, along with the General Assembly's corporate power players). Sounds like we're in agreeance that Rhode Island did itself proud by rejecting Harrah's.

Posted by: rhody at October 17, 2007 11:22 AM

ChuckR says, "Common sense tells me that the run up in government costs shown in the graphs of nearby posts are unsustainable."

I agree, though I'd say "costs, relative to income". BUT, I'd add what I think you're about to say.....we can't sustain endless increases in taxes to produce income, at least unless we produce endless increases in value/revenue sources.

ChuckR says, "...a little intemperate" I like AR because it allows me to have interesting discussions with smart people whose opinions are often different from my own, like you. That's how I learn (Talking with people I already agree with generally teaches me nothing). Maybe (I'll flatter myself here) someone else here learns from me. The insults just get in the way, so I appreciate you saying this.

ChuckR: "...democrats run this place and like to think themselves liberal."

Yah, well,,,,their opinions of themselves don't count much with me. I'm guessing that, whatever our political differences, we share a common contempt for the Democratic leadership. I'm happy to be rid of most of them because I think they make a mockery of Democratic (yes, big D) values. I can't say I want a GOP majority, but I'd like to see the GOP double or even triple its seats in the General Assembly, just to keep them honest.

If you want that to happen, get rid of the "All Democrats are Communists" crowd, get some smart, pragmatic non-ideological candidates, keep the discussion grounded in facts and figures, and admit Republican error when it occurs. I promise you, you'll do a lot better among the voters, both "D" and "I".

with best regards,

Posted by: Thomas at October 17, 2007 5:25 PM

I'd have no problem running as a Republican if I wasn't subjected to a conservative litmus test on abortion, gay marriage, etc. I'd run on the message that the Democratic leadership has run amuck and needs to be reined in (and there are social conservatives in that group). There's a silent majority out there that would likely be receptive to that message.
As a North Providence resident, I usually vote GOP in legislative races anyway.

Posted by: rhody at October 18, 2007 3:40 PM
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