Whistle Blown on Furloughs of State 'Special Fund' Employees

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I write in concern over the adverse impacts of the current “furloughs” on both the employees (all of whom are UPW or HGEA members) and the users of the boating facilities of the State DLNR- Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DBOR).

On January 1, 2010, major newspapers throughout the Nation published an Associated Press report that a California judge had ruled against CA Governor Schwarzenegger’s action to impose “furloughs” on state employees of “special fund” agencies or those that receive money from sources other than the state general fund.


Well, it’s about time! The Hawaii State Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation under the Department of Land and Natural Resources is a prime example of such an agency.

Its entire $12.2 million Revenue (including a payroll of $5.4 million) does not contain any general fund money. The largest revenue source of this Boating Special Fund is the “user fees” collected from the recreational and commercial boaters that use the boating facilities and services (est. $6.8 million).

Imposing furloughs on DBOR employees results in:

*1. Reducing the employee services and pay that the boaters continue to fund for via their user fees.

*2. No savings accruing to the State General Fund because it doesn’t pay for the employee wages (or any other expense) to begin with, and

*3. The boaters are receiving less service because the employees they are paying for are not present for work when furloughed.

*4. Moreover, if the pay that is equivalent to the furloughed days is being credited to the State General Fund, it would amount to a TAX illegally imposed upon the boaters, in addition to violating the normal spending constraints of a Special (Boating) Fund.

This useless, detrimental, and apparently illegal attempt to use furlough days in this manner is a good example of what can happen when the Administration indiscriminately imposes “across the board” measures without complete staff work.

There is no shortage of funds in the Boating Special Fund to pay the DBOR employees. Furloughs (or “lay-offs”) at DBOR, and any other similarly funded state agency, must be stopped.

Their furloughs cannot help the “general fund” problem, and only cause additional problems for the employees themselves and for all the users of the state boating facilities and services.

‘Bill Mossman is with the Hawaii Boaters Political Action Association. Reach him at mailto:hbpaa@aol.com’