From The Oregonian:
Social Security officials say Oregon's proposal to furlough state workers who handle the agency's disability applications will bog down an already slow claims process, harm sick and injured people and provide no savings to Oregonians.
In a letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski this week, the Social Security Administration's regional commissioner, Donald Schoening, urged the governor to exempt Oregon's 192 Disability Determination Services employees from proposed furloughs. Schoening pointed out that Social Security pays the salaries and overhead -- more than $25 million a year -- for those state workers. ...
The governor acknowledges the Social Security Administration's "valid concerns," said Kulongoski spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor, but the bulk of the furloughs are merely proposed.
Kulongoski proposes to furlough 177 rank-and-file Disability Determination Services employees for 24 days during the next two years, Taylor said. But those cuts, which would take place during the 2009-2011 budget years, are still being negotiated with the Service Employees International Union, which represents them.
"We are at the bargaining table," Taylor said. "This is early in the negotiations, so no decisions have been made."
The state has imposed furloughs on 15 managers in the disability claims program --one to four days, or a voluntary pay cut, from now until June 30.