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Saturday, September 23, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsFurlough Monday: Commerce department closes

Furlough Monday: Commerce department closes

There will be no government-wide shutdown, due to the Legislature passing an operating budget this month. But on Monday, July 3, the Alaska Department of Commerce is furloughing all its employees as a cost-saving measure. The entire department will be closed for the day, according to the department’s web site.

With Tuesday a state and federal holiday, the closure means if you have business with the Department, get it done Friday, or wait until next Wednesday.

No other departments have posted Monday as a furlough day their entire department.

According to the Department of Administration’s web site, State offices can be closed only at the direction of the governor or the governor’s designee:

“No other state agency can independently make this determination. The Commissioner of the Department of Administration (DOA) shall be responsible for communicating decisions on office closures to the rest of state government, the media, and the public.”

“All State offices will be open during normal business hours unless closure is specifically directed by the Governor’s Office or the DOA Commissioner for purposes of protecting the safety and health of employees and/or the public. The only exception to this policy is in the event of a state of emergency declared by properly-empowered authorities (e.g. police or fire officials). In such events, employees are to follow the direction of such authorities,” according to the Department of Administration.

SERVICES DISRUPTIONS ‘SIGNIFICANT’ 

On June 8, when the state departments were preparing for a possible government shutdown due to legislative impasse, Commerce Commissioner Chris Hladick issued a warning to the public about services that would be impacted:

“While I am hopeful the legislature will reach a compromise, I feel obligated to provide Alaskans with as much advance notice as possible about potential disruptions in services that they rely upon. We encourage Alaskans, if you depend on one of these services—if your professional license is going to lapse soon, if you are seeking a commercial fishing loan, if you need technical assistance regarding a local boundary issue—consider whether it is something we can help you with before the potential shutdown occurs.”

“Should a government shutdown occur, Alaskans would likely experience significant disruption in services provided by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, which would impact local governments and the private sector. The following services are potentially at risk of being shut down, delayed, or interrupted if the legislature fails to pass a budget before July 1:

  • Licensing of businesses and professionals that allows them to work in Alaska
  • Licensing and regulation of the insurance, banking, and securities industries
  • Licensing and inspection of commercial marijuana cultivation, testing, retail and alcoholic beverage sales
  • Seafood marketing
  • Issuance of commercial fishing loans
  • Distribution of revenue sharing and community assistance funding to local governments
  • Administration of the loan program that assists communities with the purchase bulk fuel to generate power or supply rural communities with fuel
  • Processing of applications and notices of utility rate changes
  • Onsite technical assistance of rural water and wastewater utilities
  • Technical assistance regarding local government or boundary issues
  • Action on ANCSA shareholder complaints about false and misleading proxy statements in pending ANCSA corporate board elections

 

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I hope furlough means without pay. And if Monday passes without citizen complaints, save us all some money and have a furlough every Monday. If we have business to do with them, we will adjust that they are closed that day.

  • I commented on this on FB, but the lefties got me again so I can’t get on FB to correct something in it. I said it was a scam, and it is, but a different kind of scam than I described in the FB post. At least the GGU agreement now has some mealy-mouthed furlough language and most Commerce employees are GGU. I couldn’t bear to read any more labor agreements or the Personnel Rules, so I don’t know for sure about furlough for supervisors and appointees, but last I looked there was a furlough provision in the Rules. But the GGU language gives the employees an explicit right to cash in leave to cover the furlough period, so the State can say the employees are on unpaid furlough but most of them will have already cashed in leave to cover the pay loss from the furlough. Since the State doesn’t really budget for leave, the pay for the cash out comes from the Department’s personal services budget, so no money is saved by furloughing them. It is a just a back door way to give them a four day holiday for the Fourth and pay for the Third.