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Dueling memos to state employees: When do layoff notices come?


The Dunleavy Administration sent a memo to state employees Wednesday, explaining that if the Legislature doesn’t pass a budget by June 30, layoffs could result.

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But that layoff notices would be 10 days out from July 1, if a budget still isn’t passed. Dunleavy says the notices would go out on June 14, several days earlier than the 10 days cited in his memo.

Legislators are in the third week of what could be a 30-day special session, which ends June 14.

The Legislature has not passed a final budget and transmitted it to the governor for his action. [Corrected.]

Speaker Bryce Edgmon has authorized airline tickets for everyone to leave Juneau for five to six days for time in their districts and nearly all legislators have left the capital city.

“As you know, the Legislature did not pass an operating budget during the 121 Day regular session.  I called for an immediate special session to allow for the Legislature to get a budget passed. We are now two weeks into that special session with no budget as yet,” Gov. Dunleavy wrote to state employees on Wednesday.

“While I have every hope that Legislative leaders will address their prime obligation under the Constitution to approve a budget, the possibility exists that the Legislature may fail to do so before this Special Session ends,” Dunleavy wrote.

“Alaska law and collective bargaining agreements address the notice requirement of possible furloughs or lay-offs. The requirement is that most employees receive ten working days notice from the end of the fiscal year. If the Legislature is still unable to pass an operating budget by June 14, notices will have to be sent to employees.”


But the head of the employees’ union says that the layoff notices need to come 30 days before layoffs take effect.

In a memo to Alaska State Employees Association members, Jake Metcalfe wrote to members that “Article 12.04 of the ASEA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the State provides that the appointing authority shall make every effort to give written notice to the employee at least thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the effective date of a possible layoff. Accordingly, you may receive a letter from the State of Alaska giving you notice of layoff, effective July 1, 2019. ”

Even if layoff notices are issued, ASEA is hopeful that an Operating Budget will be signed into law prior to July 1, 2019 and no layoffs will take place. A similar notice was sent out in 2015, and a shutdown was avoided when the budget was passed and signed prior to July 1 of that year. Failure to deliver an Operating Budget for the coming fiscal year would cause chaos in our economy and interrupt the majority of state programs and services. The Legislature and the Governor are aware of the consequences,” Metcalfe wrote.

“House and Senate versions of the Operating Budget are in the final stage of being reconciled. Monetary terms for the ASEA contract were included in both versions and so the appropriation for wages and benefits was adopted automatically by the Conference Committee. The negotiated 3% wage increase and additional $98 per month contributed by the employer toward health insurance (both effective July 1, 2019) will be included in the Budget submitted to the Governor,” he wrote in a memo titled “BREAKTIME READING.”

“ASEA is in communication with the Administration and the Legislature to ensure an Operating Budget is in place for the new fiscal year. ASEA is also working with Alaska’s other public employee unions and the Alaska AFL-CIO to advocate for the best possible budget compromise. In addition, other interest groups—not just unions—are pushing to get a budget passed soon. They understand that fiscal uncertainty is not in the interest of Alaskans.

“However, ASEA and Alaska still need your help. Helping is simple and easy. Write or call your Legislators and the Governor to ask that they agree a budget which prioritizes public programs and services as well as the state’s economy. I hope your message gives pause to the lawmakers who have expressed support for the Governor’s plans to outsource jobs and transfer constitutionally mandated responsibilities to out-of-state corporations.

“If you don’t know who your Legislators are, call ASEA at (907) 277-5200 or (800) 478-2732 toll free and we’ll provide the email address or phone number for your state lawmakers and the Governor’s office.

“You can also help out by participating in ASEA Member Actions. ASEA will be holding events between now and July 1, as necessary, to get out our message to pass a responsible budget. You can be notified of upcoming actions by text message, just text the word AKLEG to 237263. We will notify you of when ASEA Member Actions are scheduled and ask you to join. Your participation will make a difference.

“Please stay strong, active and involved. I hope this update and future updates provide useful information to navigate the current uncertainty surrounding the Operating Budget. Please call or write anytime if you have questions,” Metcalfe wrote.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. These legislators have no regard for the State of Alaska as far as the money they are being paid and the money they are wasting. Alaska budget is in trouble and these people don’t seem to care as long as they get their money. I say all pay and benefits along with their per diem stops when they return to Juneau. Thank you

  2. Answer: Not soon enough! And they can take their damned lobbyist-union-legislator team with them!
    What, nobody will be left?
    Since very, very few of this group actually seem to represent, or give a damn about, anyone other than themselves and their buyers, what difference would their “layoffs” make to productive Alaskans who have to choose between paying bills or leasing legislators?
    Seems reasonable to assume union hacks will get back pay for their “layoff” time and legislators will continue to get whatever they and their buyers want so, again, what difference would it make?
    If hell freezes over, and a somewhat less corrupt, more populist legislature takes office, the time might be right to introduce the idea of biennial legislative sessions.
    Might not solve anything but at least this (expl del) would be reduced to an every-other-year comedy…

  3. SD-How does the Governor’s red pen fit into all this?
    He gets the budget before July 1st, but has 10 days (?) to line item veto many things. Legislature has 10 days (?) to over turn?
    Can you write about how the veto process can-could play out?

  4. Since when does asea dictate policy to the “legislature” and “political” procedure to Alaskans? This is a “clear and present danger” to Alaska and Alaskans. The asea is obviously a “mouthpiece” for the dim/wingnut “politicians”. The rather small percentage of public union members, compared to the number of Alaskan citizens, should not be able to “call the shots” for elected representatives of “all the people”. The Alaskan people don’t seem to matter. If this idiotic nonsense isn’t brought to a halt, Alaska will be in real trouble. The worst part is, the elected “representatives” of the people are ignoring their responsibility. You know, that responsibility they swore to uphold when they were “sworn in”. Alaskan politics are a microcosm of what’s happening in D.C. Exact same demands, political objectives, and methods to achieve them. Our entire country is floating towards the liberal/socialist septic tank. The only way to stop the dim/lib/socialist fools is, either recall them, or at worst, wait until next election cycle and take positive action to take our country and Alaska back. The education system is, probably, the most important one to straighten out first. Like Abe Lincoln said: “The philosophy of the schools for this generation, determines the philosophy of the next generation of government”. Another quote from Abe: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”. Food for thought, Alaskans. Get ready to vote now.

    • Answers: Since the money changed hands. Since our Imperial Legislators learned how re-election actually works.
      Sure and it’s thirty pieces of silver redux, not a word you’ve written out of place…
      Maybe instead of assaulting where our enemy is strongest, we proletariat might be better served by figuring out what makes them strong and undermining that structure, or exposing it, or both, or something completely different, whatever we have to do to get the job done

  5. All of the State workers get a 3% raise regardless of performance, free legal up to 5k or 10k depending on the Union they belong to, Vision and Dental perks, State workers can also cash out their accrued leave, tuition assistance, etc… the private sector can’t even come close to providing such good benefits… instead we get stuck with junky Obamacare.

    Alaska State workers are overpaid and suck the blood out of us Alaskans that do the real work, like pumping the fuel, stocking the groceries, washing the windows, being security guards, cooking the food, etc…

    The State workers are overpaid vampires… plain and simple.

    • Or maybe they are just lucky?

      What we need is a remuneration balance between the private and public sector.

      The division of wages & benefits between the public and private sector has become far too great to remain sustainable.

      Indeed, it could be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

      • What we need are competent negotiators!
        And officials ready, willing, and able to back them up!

  6. What we need are negotiators with enough stones to take on the public employee unions. The corrupt legislators won’t go up against the unions because they need to court those voters. And no, the wages and benefits of state employees are NOT sustainable… that’s why Alaska, like California, is in this financial dumpster fire. They give lip service to being “public servants” … you’ve got to be kidding … it’s the private sector employees who serve them and in grand style! Public employee unions must eliminated and a reset of those wages and benefits.

  7. If pay to legislators would stop at the end of the regular session, I’ll bet they would submit a budget and go home. We do not have the money to spend on extra tickets and overtime per diem etc. Why are we forced to spend it???????????
    Voters should have opportunity to vote to approve any budget that is based on spending beyond revenue.

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