Saying the timing and the appearance of it just aren’t right, Rep. John J. Lombardi (D-Dist. 8,Providence) today called on Gov. Lincoln Chafee to put a halt to any future hirings for state jobs for the remainder of his term.
“When state departments were notified earlier this year to hold off on any non-urgent hirings, it was for a very good reason – Rhode Island is still facing major budget problems,” said Representative Lombardi. “We do not need to exacerbate our fiscal problems by adding more state employees and more salaries, and certainly not at this time of year or this last month of the current governor’s term.”
Representative Lombardi said he believes it would be most appropriate – financially and administratively – if Governor Chafee called an immediate halt to any hirings until the next administration is in place next January. “I believe the new administration should be allowed to decide which, if any, state employment positions are critical to the proper function of state government and therefore need to be filled. The new administration will be coming in already grappling with significant budget concerns and we should not be adding to that by adding more people and more salaries at this time.”
Representative Lombardi said state employee hirings “just reinforce the impression many residents have of state government – it does whatever it wants, spends taxpayer money however it wants and turns a blind eye to the kinds of fiscal difficulties most Rhode Islanders are having, especially at this time of year. People struggling to make Christmas a happy time for their families and facing what will be higher utility bills look at these hirings and are justifiably upset.”
Representative Lombardi said he understands the need to fill what the administration has called “critical” positions, but believes that many of the positions that are posted “are not so critical that they could not be deferred for one more month.”