Oregon prison furloughs save nil

Jul 31st, 2012 | By | Category: Furloughs & Layoffs, Spotlight
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“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

― Albert Einstein

Audit: Furloughs aren’t cutting Ore. prison costs

East Oregonian

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s policy of mandatory furloughs for state employees has not produced expected savings at prisons, largely because of the round-the-clock nature of the operation, a state audit has found.

The report released Thursday by Secretary of State Audits Division examined overtime and personnel costs at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville and Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla. The agency selected those two prisons for study because of their size and number of employees, said Gary Blackmer, director of the audits division.

Furloughs have failed to cut costs in prisons because another employee generally must be paid overtime to cover the vacated shift, Blackmer said. Moreover, furloughs are a headache for administrators trying juggle personnel.

“If they are really looking for cost saving from furloughs, they are not going to find it in a prison situation…”

Auditors analyzed four years of payroll data: April 1, 2007 through March 31, 2011…(Full text at East Oregonian)

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the last round of prison furloughs ballooned the Agency’s unfunded leave credit liability to a billion dollars. (Result of furloughs – $1 billion liability)  Additionally, overtime avoidance strategies notwithstanding, the furlough scheme increased overtime use as fewer staff were available to fill critical posts.

Beyond that, there’s the added pension costs.  In May the Sacramento Bee reported, “Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to furlough state employees has a big expense: It adds tens of millions of deferred dollars to California’s state worker pension costs.” (The State Worker: Furloughs: Pay now, pay later).

Now, the State of Oregon’s audit revealed California auditors were correct–Furloughing prison staff makes no fiscal sense.  Yet, after imposing furloughs on so-called “hold-out” unions several weeks ago, California’s entire workforce is now taking a furlough day or two each month.

Furloughs are simply another way of deferring costs to future  budget, future taxpayers.

Pass the buck, please.  Thank you!  -

Let every man, every corporation, and especially let every village, town, and city, every county and State, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.

-Rutherford B. Hayes

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One Comment to “Oregon prison furloughs save nil”

  1. Bob Walsh says:

    It should be obvious after the recent, large, obvious experiment. Furloughs for 24/7/365 operations are counterproductive. The furlough program is a political program, not a fiscal one. However, since Jerry wants desperately to appear to be tough when dealing with public employee unions we will be stuck with them no matter what the actual reality is.