March 18, 2011

Studying Chafee Budget: Moving FTEs Around

Marc Comtois

I start with a chart. A chart of the Full-Time Equivalent positions (FTEs) in the major departments of Rhode Island government from 2009 thru Governor Chafee's 2012 Budget Proposal. I've also included some specific sub-departments if I thought they warranted particular scrutiny. The major departments are bolded while the sub's are regular font.

2009201020112012Chafee ChangeChange 09-12
General Gov't2,308.302,409.802,480.302,259.30-221.00-49.00
Labor and Training395.30514.40512.20470.20-42.0074.90
Governor Office39.0044.0045.0045.000.006.00
Human Services3,474.103,368.503,645.203,651.706.50177.60
Veterans Affairs---268.20268.20268.20
Off. HHS85.1052.9077.60149.0071.4063.90
Human Services884.60919.70988.20674.00-314.20-210.60
Elementary Ed311.40315.80348.40348.400.0037.00
Higher Ed3,395.003,342.203,432.103,449.6017.5054.60
Public Safety2,971.502,951.803,006.603,186.60180.00215.10
Public Safety396.10418.60423.20603.20180.00207.10
Natural Resources445.00438.50446.00446.000.001.00
Total Non-sponsored13,689.9013,653.1014,222.6014,205.60-17.00515.70

There are a couple notes in the Budget:

(1) In FY 2010 Fire Code Board was moved to Department of Administration.
(2) Agencies merged with Department of Public Safety include State Police, Fire Marshal, E-911 Emergency Telephone System, Municipal Police Training Academy,Capitol Police, and the Governor’s Justice Commission.
Obviously, while it looks like Governor Chafee is cutting 17 positions, overall, the number of Non-Sponsored (ie; no Federal subsidization--the state is on the hook) state government is still up 515.7 FTEs since 2009! Further, while we see big cuts in some departments and big increases in others, the reality is that the Governor is mostly just moving people around, which is part of his consolidation effort that is supposed to save money. Let's take a closer look at that.

180 Sheriff Department positions moved from Dep't Admin to Public Safety. A review of the budget shows that the 2011 expenditure is basically being carried over to 2012, although in a different spot. (It's hard to tell exactly as they merged the benefits, OT, etc. with Capitol Police in the accounting). Essentially, the Chafee Administration has simply moved 180 jobs and $15 million from one spot to another.

With the creation of a new Veterans Administration Department, there was an increase of 229.2 FTE's (when the VA was under Human Services) to 268.2 FTEs, for a net increase of 39 jobs added. While under HHS, the VA cost $23,598,637. With the move to its own department, the Chafee budget has expenditures at $23,065,489 for a savings of $533,148 (even with adding jobs). Interesting and, well, color me skeptical.

Finally, there were 81 Positions removed from Health Care Quality, Financing, Purchasing with 71 of those moving to the Office of Health and Human Services for a savings of $2,621,534 (Finally!).

As for real cuts, the Department of Labor and Training saw a cut of 42 FTEs, all from the Workforce Development office. Interestingly enough, though, the cost per FTE actually goes up. The total FTEs in 2011 for the Office was 177.5 at a cost of $13,657,808 or $76,945 per FTE (salary + benefits). The 2012 FTE total is 143.0 at a cost of $13,181,920 or $92,181 per FTE. Sounds like a lot of cuts on the bottom and not so much off the top.

Alternatively, for the DCYF FTE reductions, they are actually "Program Reductions" (ie; no specific FTE reduction is outlined) split between Juvenile Correctional Services and Child Welfare. I believe this is anticipated reduction via natural attrition; otherwise known as "crossing your fingers". Even with these reductions, the overall cost for 2012 over 2011 for DCYF FTEs is $1.5 million.

Basically, going by just the FTEs, there has been no savings: 17 FTE cuts aren't enough. The larger point that needs to be hammered home is that Rhode Island government has created over 500 new positions in just the last 3 years! That includes what I believe are 6 high-level (read: high cost) positions in the Governor's Office (put there under Governor Carcieri). Governor Chafee's answer is to offer more taxes instead of cutting positions that we didn't need 3 years ago.

ADDENDUM: One area where there are actual job cuts is in the Department of Labor and Training, where 42 positions are being cut. As Andrew noted in the comments, however, those jobs were probably directly funded by Federal stimulus money. In other words, these are cuts forced upon the Chafee administration because Federal funding is going away.

Overall, even after taking away the 42 jobs as proposed by Governor Chafee, there have been 75 jobs created in the DLT since 2009 and a concomitant increase in the budget. Perhaps, whenever the Federal Stimulus money dries up, those last 75 positions will also be reduced out of necessity, not out of any proactive motive on the Governor's part.

SOURCE: Individual department personnel supplements can be found here.

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Great work, Marc.

Governor Chafee has asserted that enough cutting (to state gov't overall) has taken place over the last three years so no more needs to be done. I wonder if he is aware that Rhode Island state gov't added 500+ FTE's over that period?

Posted by: Monique at March 18, 2011 4:59 PM


If you look at the Department of Administration budget over the past decade or so, there's a huge spike in Federal dollars spent by the Department of Administration in FY2010 and FY2011.

According to the legislative budget document from last year that was used to create the chart in the link above, the bulk of the multi-hundred million dollar jump went to an "income support" program, but there was also a concurrent $6,000,000+ jump in "salaries and benefits" paid by the DLT (page 443)...

This makes me wonder if the 42 positions eliminated from the DLT in the current budget involve mostly not extending positions that were paid for with stimulus funds (perhaps for the purpose of administering the stimulus funds).

Posted by: Andrew at March 19, 2011 11:53 AM
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