Legislature(2001 - 2002)

01/24/2002 03:34 PM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB 239-STATE EMPLOYEES CALLED TO MILITARY DUTY                                                                     
JIM DUNCAN, Commissioner of Administration,  explained the bill is                                                              
a result  of the  September 11  attack and  it gives the  governor                                                              
administrative order authority to  ensure that state employees who                                                              
are members of  the reserve and auxiliary military  units will not                                                              
be  financially   penalized  when  called  to  active   duty.  The                                                              
authority is discretionary, could  cover both pay and benefits and                                                              
would probably be used infrequently.                                                                                            
Once an  order is issued,  the Division  of Personnel  would issue                                                              
emergency  regulations   to  implement   the  provisions   of  the                                                              
administrative  order. The governor  would choose whether  salary,                                                              
health or retirement benefits would be affected.                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT  asked  whether  discretionary  applied  from                                                              
emergency to emergency,  to category of employee  or to individual                                                              
COMMISSIONER DUNCAN  said the real discretion is  for emergency to                                                              
emergency but  it could  apply to a  certain category  of employee                                                              
such as  the Alaska  National Guard.  He added  other states  have                                                              
given their governors the authority to make such decisions.                                                                     
5:00 p.m.                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  remarked short-term call outs  probably don't                                                              
need  the   adjustment  and  individuals   in  the   guard  should                                                              
anticipate some level of callout.                                                                                               
He  noted  the   fiscal  note  indicated  costs   are  covered  by                                                              
additional vacancy factors or use  of appropriated funds. However,                                                              
once payments  are made  for a period  of six months,  a temporary                                                              
employee would  probably need to  be hired which  raises questions                                                              
about the financial implications.                                                                                               
COMMISSIONER DUNCAN said some of  the positions could be filled on                                                              
a  temporary  basis  but  the  assumption  is  that  the  agencies                                                              
impacted could  absorb the increased  cost through  vacancy factor                                                              
or other means.  For a call out  that lasts six months  or longer,                                                              
it might require  a request for supplemental appropriation  for an                                                              
agency or department.                                                                                                           
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT asked  how a National  Guardsman employed  in                                                              
the private sector is treated.                                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER DUNCAN  said other states have handled  the situation                                                              
a variety  of ways and those  comparisons are available.  Although                                                              
they  haven't  surveyed the  private  sector,  they do  have  some                                                              
information on Costco's policy.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked for private sector information.                                                                       
There being no additional questions  or testimony, SB 239 was held                                                              
in committee.                                                                                                                   

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