SignGate: Ciccione v. Yorke & More
RI GOP Chair Gio Cicione went on the Dan Yorke Show to defend himself and the RI GOP regarding the now infamous “1,000 Worker layoff” sign. Yorke’s position is that the sign provided the unions with an excuse–or added weight to their rhetoric–that the Governor was unfeeling and “gleeful” over impending State Worker layoffs. Yorke’s larger argument is that the state GOP isn’t coordinating well with the Governor and that Cicione should be focusing solely on party-building and nothing else.
Cicione said he isn’t always going to coordinate with the Governor. He also stated that the unions would be beating up on the Governor, anyway–sign or no sign. As for the party-building angle, Cicione said that he’s doing that, too, and that these sorts of political battles help to “brand” the RI GOP.
Yorke then entered sarcasm mode and stated that Cicione was obviously smarter than he and the Governor and anyone else who found SignGate to be a bad move.
In the end, Yorke correctly noted that there is a difference between governing and politics and that Cicione was engaged in politics at the expense of the Governor’s attempt to govern.
And so it goes…
All of this amid calls for Cicione’s resignation and for a “recall” of the Governor.
UPDATE: Incidentally, Cicione stated that we’ve been seeing a decrease in the number of state workers for a few years now, to which Yorke responded that we’ve never seen 1,000 cut. Here’s some numbers:
Year / State Work Force / Difference
2001 – 18,502
2002 – 18,239 ( – 263 )
2003 – 17,921 ( – 318 )
2004 – 17,623 ( – 298 )
2005 – 16,890 ( – 733 )
Total Reduction of 1612 State Jobs
SOURCE: Dep’t of Labor and Training – “Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages Data Tables”
Presumably, there were more in 2006, but these are the latest stats I could find. Don’t forget, this occurred via natural attrition such as retirement and relocation, etc. The Governor isn’t talking only about layoffs. (Which makes the GOP sign inaccurate, btw).
OK, here’s more fun with numbers. As the State Work force as declined, their wages have increased.
Year / Total Wages / Difference
2001 – $779,920,202
2002 – $830,627,091 ( + $50,706,889 )
2003 – $831,316,689 ( + $689,598 )
2004 – $853,435,289 ( + $22,118,600 )
2005 – $846,633,861 ( – $6,801,428 )
Total Increase of $66,713,659 in wages paid….to 1612 fewer State Workers.
That is why reducing the State workforce–both union AND non-union–is one feasible solution. Another is to reduce the amount of money/benefits (total compensation) paid. Remember, private corporations are faced with this dilemma all the time.