When is a Hiring Freeze not a Hiring Freeze?

When it’s a government hiring freeze, of course.

H/T to Rossputin.com

Back in September of 2008, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter announced a statewide hiring freeze in an effort to deal with a mounting state budget shortfall. Investigative reporter Jessica Fender of The Denver Post reports that the governor’s office estimates that it has frozen 463 spots and has saved the state $12 million. Yet her research shows Ritter’s office approved 326 new hires and promotions — out of 371 requests — that could cost the state more than $12 million. But how can this be? Wasn’t there a hiring freeze?

Ritter’s rules say the freeze does not apply to health and safety positions, jobs caring for state wards or required by caseload demands, or positions that, unfilled, would disrupt an “essential state function” or present legal liabilities.

Trick question: How many jobs are not an “essential state function” when a Democrat in charge? So what sort of jobs were these, you ask, that were so “essential” to the continuing function of a state that is likely looking at a $600 million revenue shortfall?

* Two contract lobbyists (I thought Democrats were opposed to lobbyists?).
* A scratch-off lottery ticket salesperson (gotta keep those school revenues coming in).
* Seasonal potato inspectors (What is this, Idaho?).
* A bevy of administrative assistants (Is that like a hover of trout or a murder of crows?).

As is always the case with Democrats, it could’ve been worse. Governor spokesman Evan Dreyer tells us,

You also have to take into account the cost avoidance. How many positions were not filled because the department didn’t even bring forward an exemption?

Thanks. I’m so glad you saved the taxpayers so much money. Been to any 30% off sales at Macy’s lately where you saved a bunch of money? Well, now that the $12 million is gone, I suppose they’ll have to figure out something else.

Ritter has since asked departments to consider more ways to balance their budgets.

Now that’s leadership for you. This doesn’t even take into consideration the jobs that were added after the time the freeze was announced, but before it took effect. During that time 121 jobs were added, 88 of which were totally new jobs.

Feel free to read the rest, but you’ve heard it all before. Things are getting so bad for Ritter, Rossputin.com believes he may not even try to run for re-election. That would be great news for everyone in Colorado.

Night Twister