Vander Plaats: Culver’s Layoff Plan “Reckless, Irresponsible and Unconscionable”

DES MOINES – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued the following statement in response to Gov. Chet Culver’s layoff of 515 employees in the Iowa Department of Corrections and a total of 792 layoffs across state government today:

“Governor Culver’s actions are reckless, irresponsible and unconscionable. After he has bankrupted state government, he comes out today, puffs up his chest and claims he’s making tough decisions and exercising leadership. Today’s move is a direct reflection of his lack of leadership. If he had done the right thing in the past two years by holding the line on state spending, especially in the face of a worsening economy, he would have avoided today’s situation.

“He has increased the number of state bureaucrats by more than 2,500 over the past two years and now that he’s spent the state broke he takes a meat cleaver to essential services and front-line personnel responsible for protecting Iowans. Laying off 515 Department of Corrections employees and leaving another 262 position vacant in our prisons and laying off 53 Department of Public Safety employees while leaving another 25 positions open is putting the lives of our public employees on the line and putting our citizens at risk. Laying off front-line Department of Human Services employees will also make it harder for the workers who remain to protect children. I’m concerned we will again see tragedies like the Shelby Duis case, which will result from Chet Culver’s lack of decision-making skill rather than a lack of resources.

“This certainly has to be considered one of the darkest days in state government history because we’re witnessing a governor who has completely lost the ability, if he ever had it in the first place, to make rational decisions about personnel, services and the state budget. These cuts should not stand. He needs to bring the General Assembly back into session and learn how to set real priorities.”

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