Governor Lingle responds to criticism about layoff notices

Governor Linda Lingle
Governor Linda Lingle
Randy Perreira
Randy Perreira

By Duncan Armstrong

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The fight over furloughs got more heated, after the Governor defended her decision to issue notices warning hundreds of state employees that they are at risk of getting laid off.

Lingle affirmed her right to let employees know of the decision, rather than having it come from the state workers' union.

It could be a nerve-wracking start to the work week for many state workers. The Governor plans to send out letters to the unions on Monday, listing the names of employees who may be on the chopping block.

"I apologize that one of our department heads let people know via voice mail," she said.

The voice message that went out on Friday said, "This is a courtesy message to let you know that your name is on the risk list."

"We thought the individual employee had a right to know that their name is on a list of possible layoffs. We stress to everyone that the decision is not made yet," said Lingle.

But union leaders say directly telling state workers that they are on a risk list is flat out wrong.

"The Governor has made a mockery of what should otherwise be a process between employer and employees," said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira.

With each tick of the clock, the Governor says the crisis is getting worse

"We are living beyond our means right now. As the time ticks down on the budget year we have less time to make up the budget short fall," she said.

And Lingle still says furloughs are a good approach.

"If we are not able to achieve that, which I remain hopeful that we can, then we have no choice to move to layoffs," said Lingle.

Union leadership asks, if layoffs do happen -

"The layoffs we would anticipate would be permanent," said Perreira.

Both sides are staying focused on the issues, and will have another meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday.