Union pitches plan to help fix ailing Minn. budgetby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio,
Brian Bakst, Associated Press
St. Paul, Minn. — Officials with a state workers union say they know how to save Minnesota more than $350 million by eliminating government waste.
The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, or MAPE, released a list of proposals --- including cutting state agency managers, limiting the use of consultants and more aggressively chasing debts to the state.
MAPE Executive Director Jim Monroe says most of the savings could come from uncollected fees and payments that are currently written off by state agencies. But Monroe couldn't say how much the state would have to spend to collect those overdue bills.
Monroe estimated there was $240 million there for the taking over the next two years, and he said bringing in even half that would make a difference.
"Why wouldn't we want to collect money owed to state government?" Monroe said at a news conference.
MAPE said the agency with the most "write-offs" of debt is the Department of Revenue, but large amounts are also tied to the Employment and Economic Development agency and the Department of Human Services.
Another union recommendation is that state agencies abide by a staffing ratio that limits management to 15 percent of total department employees. Monroe said many agencies are top-heavy with political appointees.
"There's been a large number of management positions appointed in this administration. A chunk of those have been former legislators that have gone into management positions," said Monroe. "But there's also been a spreading at the top level that was not here, even 10 years ago when I got here."
Monroe also says the state should use state workers for assignments now outsourced to consultants
Governor Pawlenty's office did not immediately comment.