Many state jobs will continue during the Stutes State Shutdown on July 1 - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 20, 2021
HomePoliticsMany state jobs will continue during the Stutes State Shutdown on July 1

Many state jobs will continue during the Stutes State Shutdown on July 1

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The State Division of Personnel released a list on Wednesday afternoon of numerous state functions that will not stop even during a government shutdown created by the dysfunction in the Legislature. Many of the functions to remain active are related to public safety, but other workers, who are paid through various secondary means, will also stay on duty.

As the second special session opened in Wednesday, it appears more likely that Speaker Louise Stutes would not be able to lead her body to an agreement before the July 1 shutdown date.

The House is in disarray over the budget’s effective date clause and the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and Stutes has just six days to repair the situation. This is her first year as Speaker. The Republican House members, who are in the minority, appear resolute in their stance that the Constitutional Budget Reserve should not be used to bludgeon certain districts in order to get certain legislators to vote on a Permanent Fund dividend that is less than one third of the legally set “statutory dividend.”

Many Alaskans will not really notice much difference during a shutdown, at least for a while, if their interactions with government are few and far between. They may see more people at their favorite fishing spot, but unless they interact with state services, things may appear normal.

Unlike the dire predictions of Sen. Natasha Von Imhof a week ago, people will not bleed along the side of the road after an accident because Troopers and medics won’t arrive, and bridges will not collapse on July 1.

Von Imhof warned last week:

“I hope the folks at home fully understand the consequences of today, the action. A no vote means the budget doesn’t pass. Twenty-two thousand people, state workers, will be out of work July 1. That does not include the tens of thousands of teachers and university employees in the state of Alaska. Everyone at a job will not be paid … Hey, you drive over a bridge, I suggest you hold your breath and pray, ’cause it could fall on ya, because no one’s going to be around to fix it. If you want a permit to mine? Nope, not gonna happen. If you’re on food stamps and you call up and ask someone to process your application, no one will answer the phone. If you’re on Medicaid and you need emergency surgery, no one will authorize it because no one will answer the phone. Medicaid will be shut down. You call a state Trooper, I’m sorry, you’ll be sitting by the side of the road bleeding.”

None of that is true. It is legislative theater. The entire clip can be seen here:

This week, Von Imhof blamed the governor for not signing the budget that passed (without an appropriate effective date) by saying, “Gov. Dunleavy not doing everything in his power to keep his own government operational is like having an atheistic Pope.”

But apparently, Dunleavy is doing much to keep government operational. In the list released Wednesday, all emergency functions will continue, and so will justice, corrections, and even the investment managers for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. Things like the Office of Archaeology will be closed, to be certain.

In the Department of Administration, for example, the Public Defender Agency will remain open, along with Office of Public Advocacy and the satellite service running the Emergency Broadcast System.

There will be reduced staffing for Retirement and Benefits, the Division of Motor Vehicles, which will have workers to support law enforcement and courts, and reduced statewide and department support services necessary to fulfill critical functions, such as IT support, Personnel, HR, Finance.

The only hearings that will be scheduled in the Office of Administrative Hearings will be for child support, Medicaid and public assistance, and substantiation of child abuse and neglect.

Most functions of the Division of Motor Vehicles, and the Alaska Public Offices Commission will be closed.

In the Department of Commerce, only these services are scheduled to go dark: Power Cost Equalization Payments,
Alaska Energy Authority – Project Development, Alternative Energy and Efficiency Alaska Energy Authority Rural Energy Assistance, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Investments, Tourism Marketing, Economic Development, Pass Through Payments (Fisheries Taxes, Payment in Lieu of Taxes, National Forest Receipts), Serve Alaska/AmeriCorps, Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing – new licenses and other functions not related to life, health, safety, Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, excluding enforcement, revocations, and suspensions.

In the Department of Corrections, just a few services are being stopped July 1, including: Recidivism Reduction Grants, Domestic Violence Program, Education Programs, Vocational Education Programs, and Chaplaincy Services.

In the Department of Fish and Game, a small number of services will close: EVOS Trustee Council, Habitat, Advisory Committees, Hunter Education, and Public Shooting Ranges. Most other functions of Fish and Game come from fees, so they pay for themselves outside of the Operating Budget.

As for Health and Social Services, most functions are open including Medicaid (Federal Mandate), General Relief/Temporary Assisted Living. Emergency Programs. Essential Newborn Health Screening, Juvenile Justice, Child Protective Services – foster care; front line case workers (Federal Mandate) Alaska, Psychiatric Institute (federal component through Medicaid), Pioneer Homes (federal component through Medicaid).

Health and Social Services offices that will not operate during the shutdown are: Community Initiative Matching Grants, Human Services Community Matching Grant, Assessment and Planning, Quality Assurance and Audit, Children’s Services Training, Senior Residential Services, Senior Benefits Payment Program, Community Health Grants, Emergency Medical Services Grants Tribal Assistance Programs, Residential Licensing – new licenses, Permanent Fund Dividend Hold Harmless, Early Intervention / Learning Programs.

In the Department of Labor, the offices to remain open include Unemployment Insurance (Federal Mandate), Disability Determination (for Social Security benefits).

Labor Department closures are things like Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) except existing family housing, Labor Market Information, Vocational Rehabilitation, Wage and Hour Administration, Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission Workforce Services (Alaska Job Centers)

The Department of Law criminal prosecutions and child protection divisions will be fully operational during a shutdown. Other functions may be reduced partially.

In the Department of Natural Resources, the only offices to be shut down are: Office of History and Archaeology, Agriculture Revolving Loan Program, North Latitude Plant Material Center, EVOS Trustee Council Projects, Public Information Center, Recorder’s Office, Office of Project Management & Permitting Agriculture.

In the Department of Public Safety, just a few areas will be closed during the shutdown: Alaska Wing Civil Air Patrol, Alaska Police Standards Council, Alaska Fire Standards Council.

In the Department of Transportation, safety and commerce functions continue. All international airports remain open, and airport police and firefighters will be on duty. Also functioning will be State of Alaska Part 139 and Rural Airport Operations (Federal Mandate), Alaska Marine Highway System, Emergency/Critical Road Maintenance, Traffic Signal Control Contracts, State Equipment Fleet Operations Support, Police/Fire/Other critical services, and the Whittier Tunnel (Normal Operations, Limited Maintenance Activities)

The list goes on. All divisions impacted by the expected shutdown are listed at this link.

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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 keep hearing legislatures say that the budget should be passed now to avoid a shutdown and then in August they will discuss fixing the PFD. Why August I ask? When they haven’t been able to accomplish anything for 6 years. Why is August the magic month? We the people do not trust them. Fix it now!

  • What a great idea to attempt a blame of House Speaker because a few House members took the memo from Dunleavy office that suggested they vote against the effective date clause.
    Of course the Dunleavy office backed away from that memo, for what reason again, but the damage was already done as enough of those minority members felt the need to play along with this “gotcha” moment that Dunleavy thinks will fly.
    This should take care of any thoughts of Dunleavy running successfully for another term IMO.

  • “Hey, you drive over a bridge, I suggest you hold your breath and pray, ’cause it could fall on ya,”
    Yes, in addition to laughing and sneering at us, and giving us a giant middle finger while stealing your PFDs, these elected people genuinely do believe that the unelected riff raff really are that profoundly stupid….stupid enough to believe that the bridges will begin collapsing immediately if the gubmint is forced into a temporary shutdown.
    A shutdown that happens because these clowns cannot do their jobs…….

  • They should close the DMV permanently, as they have not really worked for the last 1.5 yrs with their Covid shutdown. I tried registering a vehicle recently and had to book an appointment two weeks out, so I drove to the UMV and they gladly did the work. Heard people have been shown the door at the DMV because they didn’t have an appointment and there was no one in line waiting. A real money waster in my opinion.

  • Of course they won’t. The plebes of the ruling class are exempt from such trivialities.

    In other places in past times this attitude lead to violent revolution.

  • It isn’t a ‘shutdown’ then as only some services will be suspended, and from my perspective it should happen. Our elected leadership simply refuses to shrink our state government which is huge per capita. Public safety and infrastructure – real infrastructure, are the most essential services of government. It does not sound like those areas are being shut down.

  • The fear mongering is hysterical.
    Bridge going to collapse?? Huh? So the bridge guys are what, standing by every bridge every day watching it?

    Hospitals not performing life saving surgery because some overpaid state worker didn’t answer a telephone?

    These people really do believe life depends on state employees.

    DMV? DMV??? “Sorry officer, DMV is closed so I can’t renew my license” “Its ok, we know, but you’re still getting the ticket for speeding.” Fair enough.

    Get over yourselves, state people.

  • Much of what will, or would be shut down, are things that should be cut from the budget anyway.

  • So, are the legislators’ staff out of work as well? If the legislators aren’t doing their job, seems like a waste of money to pay their staff. If they really want them, let them pay the staff out of their pockets.

  • @Bill Yankee – everyone I know that voted for the governor supports what he is doing. We support him finally taking a stand for the people. If anything, this will help him get reelected. Especially if he is successful in getting sjr6 passed.
    This is a Stutes – Stedman shut down. People are sick of their bully tactics and are not going to take it anymore.

    • If what you say is true, that folks support what he is doing, then why are they wanting a government shutdown? You say the things that are being shut down are things that should be cut from the budget but this budget is essentially Dunleavy’s budget that has those things in there. Why are they in there then???

  • There is more fear marrying a spouse who’d give you an STD than dire consequences from this temporary budget impasse

  • In other words , government will be limited. Great! We should keep it that way.

  • I’ve always said, people before govt and that’s the way it should be. Now look how bloated the state has become just over the last decade, they are drunk with surplus cash, they spend foolishly, so much so that they greedily neglect and ignore the statutory PFD and have been for a looooong time. It’s time to take your blinders off and pay attention to the people, we’re paying attention, we’re tired of being screwed over.

  • I thought the state ended the senior benefit program.

  • Ha ha. Loved the video of Von Imhof flexing her hips and waving her hair during her mental breakdown on the Senate Floor. Is she trying out for America’s Got Talent?

  • We have a milqtoast running this state.
    We need a DeSantis.
    We have a Parnell.
    Never stop fighting the socialist incursion.

  • Not to reiterate, it is ironic that the legislators are becoming permanent annual stipenders while transmuting permanent annual unionized employees into long-term temps, and it’s not even Christmas. It it is being done subconsciously, organically as well of course.

  • Management has the right to manage. The judiciary has established in the private sector and the public sector management also has the RIGHT to mismanage which gives a warm cozy feeling to the public with a special addition of ambiance for living and not working in Alaska.

  • I believe it is called “buy-in” in the preferred, leftist vernacular of the day.

  • Send them all home. Then let them submit a resume’ and attempt to win their job back at 75% of the prior salary.

    The bloat is ridiculous and growing, as our state population drops. This is a perfect opportunity.

  • Thank you Governor for this shutdown, maybe it’ll force some action. I hope you win your lawsuit, but I’m not holding my breath as you’ve not done very well with those during your administration

    • Boy, you can say that again Mike!

  • Why do people in this state have a problem the elderly? So many people are okay with cutting senior benefits, and I don’t get it. Cut all the welfare programs for working age people, but don’t punish the elderly (they can’t run out and get a job).

  • I know this is wrong and I don’t mean it in a pejorative manner but won’t you join me in the new Alaska Budget Dance this summer? :*)

  • Thank you for this article, Suzanne. Other news sources make it sound worse than it really is.

    My daughter couldn’t make a DMV appointment to get her license, but she went somewhere else and accomplished it. My mother would rather have her PFD than a monthly stipend from the state (senior citizen checks). She gets more from the PFD than those monthly checks. (Kind of says something, doesn’t it?)

    ” If you’re on food stamps and you call up and ask someone to process your application, no one will answer the phone. If you’re on Medicaid and you need emergency surgery, no one will authorize it because no one will answer the phone. Medicaid will be shut down.”

    Apparently, Von Imhof doesn’t understand that this is the normal way Food Stamps and Medicaid function when they ARE funded. Pfft!

  • I wish you could all witness the waste of state dollars down here in Juneau.. between the breaks, the paid days off, and the short work days I have no idea how anything ever gets done. Of course all those state employees have beautiful homes and nice cars. The irony is that when someone gets a state job they are set in life. While everyone else suffered through covid they enjoyed paid vacations and benefits.

    • The stupid is strong here!

  • The biggest fear that the government has about shut downs is the public having the opportunity to realize that nothing in their life changes when the government is “shut down.”

  • Of course Von Imhof doesn’t understand how important the PFD is to the people. She’s a spoiled brat, daughter of fortune. She’s never had to struggle or go without.

    As to the fate of government workers… most of us don’t give a rip. Who among us haven’t been harassed by entitled Gov’t workers, who don’t understand that THEY WORK FOR US!

  • None of the Legislators receive any pay whatsoever!!! No back pay either!!

  • Government – love ’em or leave ’em – shutdown will ‘affect’ the ‘effect’ on We the People. And all that depends on what lense you use to view it through.

    My income was shut down for over a month = government mandate = (for my own good and the good of others).
    After a bit of a struggle, I was able to apply for and receive government unemployment compensation although I was NOT technically unemployed (that was confusing) – BUT by government mandate I was furloughed from my own business.
    No government honcho worried about bridges falling down because I was furloughed – even though my tax dollars (per property taxes) do aid in bridge repairs…. What if I couldn’t pay my taxes!!!! What if…..what if…..

    Thought: Wonder if the Gov. shutdown will really mean no paycheck for gov. employees period, or be an extended vacation with back pay when they inevitably return? Like the fed gov shutdown did a few years back?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • That pope is pagan not atheistic

  • If you support the steal of Walker you support the further steal of Dunleavy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a D or a R, they want to continue stealing our PFD. When will people wake up? The greed is phenomenal.

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