Rep. Whisnant: $300 million on phantom employees

whisnantsearchRep. Whisnant on House Bill 2856 : $300 million on phantom employees
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

State Representative Gene Whisnant is working on House Bill 2856 which identifies and stops vacant state positions which could end up costing the state as much as $300 million. This bill targets vacant positions that have been vacant for 6-months of more. Vacant government positions that receive funding are often called phantom positions. Rep. Whisnant explains how state agencies come before his legislative budget hearings and lay out a detailed plan of the services they will provide and the number of employees required to do the job. The Legislature allocates the money the agency asks for but then is surprised years later to find that the positions were never filled.

Representative Whisnant stated, “We need to verify that these vacant are not being kept open as a slush fund. We are giving agencies they money to do the job based upon how many people they said they needed. If they are doing the job for less, we then can use the money for other essential services.”

With a potential $300 million of taxpayer dollars being unspent in a budget cycle, those unused funds could be used to help build roads, keep violent offenders behind bars or even eliminate the need for tax increases.   Many agencies have various reasons for leaving positions vacant.  State patrol officials once left dozens of police positions vacant out of fear of hiring new employees only to have them erased in the next budget cycle.

You can read the full text of House Bill 2856 here.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jonathan

    “those unused funds could be used to help build roads, keep violent offenders behind bars or even eliminate the need for tax increases.”

    Interesting that education is not among the priorities listed here.

    • CherryAnn1000

      We already have far too much invested in public education with less than stellar results, and it has been so since I was in school eons ago. Every year the schools come back whining they just can’t function without more funding, and they’ll do a better job if we give them more. Horsefeathers! When you have the uneducated teaching the uneducated, the end result is bound to be less than desired.

      • Jonathan

        I suggest you find out the real facts about education funding trends in Oregon — which are dismal — and stop parading your prejudices and ignorance. There has been a huge shift away from education toward prisons and social welfare in Oregon. It shows in the schools.

        I have never seen such a bunch of bitterly anti-education people as some of you Oregonians.

        Some of the Republicans are even waking up to the facts, and making a good issue of it — there have even been posts about this here.

        • Ron Swaren

          The education system in this state sure is producing a lot of cogs for Political Machines.

    • Ron Swaren

      Too much of our education funding is going into training bloodsuckers with no clue of the real world.

  • Jonathan

    As the article says, there are reasons why vacant positions are unfilled. It may not be possible to fill a position quickly. Some agencies may use the unused money to cover other expenses, e.g. equipment. I’m not sure I favor this bill at all. It will simply motivate agencies to fill positions at all cost, even if it’s not the best use of the money.

  • CherryAnn1000

    When I worked for the state 20+ years ago, two of my positions were exactly this, and obviously it continues today. The execs want to hold on to that money through these “phantom” positions any way they can. Chicanery run amok. It’s about time someone reined in this unnecessary expenditure and funds ONLY positions that are truly being used. I’ll bet we’ll see an awful lot of positions suddenly go the way of the dodo.

    • Conservatively speaking

      Good for you CherryAnn.

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