State workers to be furloughed on same days |

State workers to be furloughed on same days

DENVER – Colorado plans to furlough state workers on the same days, rather than staggering their unpaid time off throughout the year, leading to the closure of most government offices on those days.

Gov. Bill Ritter’s office said Tuesday the first furlough day would be Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. Three other furlough days are planned so far, and more may be added.

Details are still being worked on which workers can be furloughed and which can’t be.

Many public safety workers, such as state troopers, won’t be furloughed but could have their pay cut. Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said officials are still deciding whether inspectors from different departments still need to be on the job on furlough days.

Dreyer said imposing furloughs on the same day was the most efficient way to carry them out.

“This is the unfortunate reality that this state and many states across the country are facing,” he said.

Government facilities that will be closed on furlough days include driver’s license offices. Staggering furlough days and keeping driver’s license offices open with fewer people likely would lead to longer lines in urban offices, Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch said.

He said many rural offices have only two employees, and the department doesn’t want employees to work alone. The rule is aimed at preventing workers from using office equipment to commit fraud.

The budget for the fiscal year that started last week required departments to either cut pay or institute unpaid furloughs to save a total of $26 million. Lawmakers left it up to Ritter to decide exactly how to do that.

Dreyer said more furlough days could be added because of the latest economic forecast, which calls for another $384 million in cuts due to a decrease in tax revenue caused by the recession. Dates for the other furlough days should be decided later this month.

State tax revenues have dropped by about $1 billion since the recession began last fall.

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