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"The party doesn't want to have a countersuit against the party," Seebeck points out. "We don't want to have the impression that we're sanctioning this lawsuit, because we aren't.
"We'd like to be in the debates, but this isn't the way to do it."
No matter how much some politicians would like to stick it to the media.
Governor Bill Owens is waiting until later this year -- say, until after that pesky election in November -- to reveal what further cuts he's contemplating for the state budget.
State employees aren't nearly as hesitant to share their own opinions, however. This week, the Colorado Federation of Public Employees released another round of budgeting suggestions left on the union's new Government Waste Hotline, in an attempt to "encourage the governor and the state personnel director to provide leadership and some guidance for state agencies," says CFPE president Jo Romero.
Guidance such as this: Colorado Department of Transportation employees "carry radios and don't need cell phones, too," one employee offered. "There are too many cell phones. Look into the cell-phone contracts." Asked another: "CDOT just purchased five four-wheelers at a cost of $6,000 each for landscapers. What do they need with motorcycles?"
The Department of Public Health and Environment apparently wastes an unhealthy amount of paper. "Eliminate the use of the new leave slips that require three pieces of paper for every leave event to be recorded," advised an employee. "A flyer advertising the union's 'Government Waste Hotline' was removed from the bulletin board by the locker rooms," warned another.
Over at the Department of Labor and Employment, "memberships and subscriptions should be in the name of the agency rather than individuals," a staffer noted. "Department should stop shuffling non-productive employees around; managers need backbones," said another.
At the Department of Corrections, "monetary clothing allowance should be reserved only for uniformed staff, not civilian staff," finked one worker. "Someone needs to look at wardens and their discretionary funds," ratted another. "Reduce/eliminate other inmate programs such as barbeques and karaoke," snitched a third.
And so it goes, from the ridiculous -- too many managers and administrators attending conventions, too many managers and administrators traveling around the state, too many managers and administrators getting raises, too many managers and administrators altogether -- to the sublime: "Caller wouldn't mind taking a 5-10 percent cut in pay to help the state if it would ensure that somebody would keep their job."
Denver, whose revenue projections were as overly optimistic as the state's, has spent weeks trimming first the fat and now the lean, taking suggestions from any workers willing to make them. "They're all really constructive and pretty supportive," says Andrew Wallach, the mayor's director of policy and implementation. "Some of them are worth pursuing. City employees don't seem to share the indignation of the state."
Where, at this grim point, almost any idea is worthy of study. Owens's line-item veto last spring whacked over $200 million from the state's almost $13.8 billion budget, in the process eliminating many benefits for children and juveniles -- including the diversion program that Owens's sixteen-year-old son, who's now facing vandalism charges, might have been assigned to by the Denver District Attorney's Office.
But with revenues falling, more cuts are coming -- almost $400 million of them, although where they'll be coming from is anybody's guess.
Which inspired one last idea: "The Governor and his cabinet should take the first furlough if it is decided that furloughs will be needed."