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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gov. Strickland: State Hiring Freeze Ordered

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- The state Office of Budget and Management has issued a memo instructing Ohio agencies, boards and commissions to impose a hiring freeze under orders of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who is assessing personnel levels and costs. The freeze stays in effect until March 31, but could be extended.

"Effectively immediately, agencies subject to the hiring control process are to cease all action to create, post and fill positions. Agencies subject to the hiring control process will not be permitted to create positions, post positions or hire personnel unless they are need to perform functions essential of maintain safety, security and health of Ohio's citizens, or the collection of general revenues. The limitations on hiring affect all original appointments, promotions, demotions, reclassifications, recalls, and restatements, regardless or funding sources,'' says the memo issued by Budget Director Pari Sabety.

"The hiring control process has been ordered by the governor to enable proper assessment of personnel levels and costs statewide. Limiting hiring to those positions most essential to the functioning of state government will support and facilitate these goals," Sabety wrote.

The freeze does not cover direct care staff in state health care institutions such as mental hospitals , security staff in prisons, revenue generating jobs at the Lottery Commission and Taxation Department, and low-paying spots under $20 an hour. The full text of Sabety's memo is available at the Office of Budget and Management. She said Strickland ordered his top administrators to pay closer attention to hiring practices, and that anybody added to the state payroll will have to be cleared through her office. Higher paying positions will go through the governor's office.

State officials exempt from Strickland's order are Attorney General Marc Dann, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Treasurer Richard Cordray and Auditor Mary Taylor, who are elected independently and make their own hiring decisions. Also not covered are the courts and legislature, which are separate branches.

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