State soliciting workers in midst of hiring freeze

Penry and May write concerned letter to Ritter

The state of Colorado is hiring custodians, food servers, counselors, health educators and others in seeming defiance of an Oct. 1 hiring freeze, Republican legislative leaders wrote to Gov. Bill Ritter.

“It is difficult to argue many of these positions are ‘mission critical’ ” to the state, Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry of Grand Junction and House Minority Leader Mike May wrote to Ritter this week.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said Penry and May “should have addressed this letter “dear editor” and not “dear Gov. Ritter.”

The state payroll shrunk from 31,208 employees on Sept. 1 last year to 31,009 as of June 1, Dreyer said.

Among the jobs for which the state is seeking applicants are administrative assistants, custodians, dining-services personnel, driver’s license examiners and landscaping workers, Penry and May wrote.

The state Department of Personnel and Administration posted 143 job announcements for classified positions, five announcements for nonclassified positions and a single announcement for a temporary position, the GOP leaders noted.

Among the jobs listed were seven for dining services in Rifle and one in Florence. The state operates prisons in both cities.

In addition, the temporary aide post is for Rifle.

It also lists two custodial positions at the Auraria Campus in Denver.

Other jobs listed on the state Web site include an assistant to the regional director at the Trinidad History Museum and a cultural resource information post in Denver.

“It is time to make this hiring freeze more than a talking point and to take down the ‘help-wanted’ sign when it comes to positions that do not meet the standards that you yourself set,” Penry and May wrote.

The Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee, with members of both parties, “have been responsibly and carefully managing the state budget so that it remains balanced,” Dreyer said.

In addition to the reduction in the number of employees, state workers won’t receive raises in the next fiscal year, will be forced to take a minimum of four furlough days and, in some cases, already faced layoffs, Dreyer said.


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