The little things

Todd Dorman of The Cedar Rapids Gazette poured through the budget documents state agency directors submitted to the governor’s office yesterday and which were released to the public this afternoon.  He found, for example, the gift shop in the State Historical Building will be closed. (Dorman admitted that the shop had saved his bacon on many a birthday/anniversary when he had waited ’til the last minute to buy a gift.)  Dorman also noted that IPTV will go off the air earlier at night.  I’ll stop making his observations.  You can read his blog post here.

One little thing I did was look at the document prepared to show Iowans how the 10 percent cut in the governor’s own office will be managed [Download PDF].  A 10 percent reduction in the governor’s office budget amounts to nearly $300,000.  As announced previously, the governor cut his own pay by 10 percent.  That amounts to $7000 in his annual salary.

But it was revealed in the document that new chief of staff John Frew is also taking a 10 percent reduction in his salary.  The document indicates the rest of the governor’s staff will take “up to 7” furlough days in the next eight months.  There’s no mention of the lieutenant governor’s salary.

The document indicates the governor and his staff plan to save nearly $20,000 by penny-pinching in general, like reducing travel, reducing printing and copying machine expenses and reducing office supply purchases.  “The impact is manageable,” is the final sentence in that part of the (brief) plan.

None of the governor’s current staff will be laid off.  The document indicates there are “2.50” vacant positions in the governor’s office and those positions will not be filled in the next eight months.

Finally, one little thing I noticed today as I was driving on Locust Street in the “East Village” of Des Moines, headed toward the Statehouse — a man and woman were standing out in the street.  He was watching as she held the camera and took a couple of pictures of the scene ahead:  a golden dome atop a massive government building, with a grey sky looming above.  I wondered who they were.  Tourists from out of state?  A couple of state workers preparing for their last day of work in that building?  Two people oblivious to what’s going on inside the statehouse?

I didn’t stop to ask and hear their story.  I was on my way to hear a state agency director talk about cuts in his department.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.