FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Department of Administration Impacts From a Partial Government Shutdown
June 1, 2015, Juneau, AK - In anticipation of a partial government shutdown the Department of Administration (DOA) has worked to provide planning and communication tools to agencies and employees so that critical state services needed for life, health, and safety of Alaskans are not compromised. The department has the unique role of providing services to other state agencies and state employees as well as to the public.
"No one wants a shutdown. In the perspective of the larger budget, the remaining issues are relatively modest. It is helpful to recognize that as the threat of a shutdown approaches, we have reached the point where the time spent by employees preparing for the shutdown, distracted by the shutdown or talking about the shutdown will consume any savings the legislature might hope to extract in the remaining negotiations,” stated DOA Commissioner Sheldon Fisher. "I share Governor Walker’s hope that the legislature will reach a compromise on the budget bill soon so that state agencies can return to focusing on right-sizing government. "
Specifically within DOA the following services would be diminished or discontinued throughout the duration of a partial government shutdown:
- Delay or cancel vendor purchasing and payments on supplies - across the entire state this will impact many small businesses that rely on an estimated $1.7 million daily in state contracts
- Hundreds of state leases will not be paid in full for the duration of the closure, potentially creating hardship for private lessors and taking several million dollars out of the economy for each month the shutdown persists
- Critical state I/T and communications equipment would go unmaintained and reliability of those services would decrease
- The Office of Public Advocacy would limit advancing appeals and their caseload backlogs will grow with the elimination of support staff during the shutdown
- The Public Defender Agency would see their caseload backlogs grow
- Reaction time for emergency support services delivered by DOA would be impaired
- Progress on the state's new financial and payroll administrative system , the Integrated Resource Information System or IRIS, replacing 30+ year old legacy systems will be halted right at the critical juncture of implementation after years hard work, imposing additional costs and delays to a $80+ million dollar investment
- Skeleton crews will be established in divisions such as Personnel, Finance, General Services, Risk Management, and Enterprise Technology Services to support only those state functions related to life, health, and safety
- Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), tasked with oversight on elected officials and lobbyist, would not have staff to process cases and would therefore close for the duration of the shutdown
- Administrative appeals would largely go unscheduled if not funded through federal programs
- Bargaining of labor contracts would cease until government reopens this function
- Employee grievances and (grievances and) letters of agreement will not have agency staff to respond
- Grant to supply "blind-friendly" accessibility to news and information services would no longer be available
- Access to state surplus goods would not be available
- Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission would not receive any grant funds for local TV or radio
- State employee recruitment resources will be slowed to a near standstill for current and future job seekers
DOA agencies that rely on program receipts of those who use the service will not be affected by the partial shutdown including the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC), and Violent Crimes Compensation Board. Additionally the Division of Retirement and Benefits will continue to process remaining state employee and all retiree benefits with health trust dollars that are unaffected by the legislative inaction.
As it is essential for life, health, and safety, all security services for state agencies would be continued to ensure the safety and well-being of state staff and property during the shutdown.
In the event of a partial shutdown the remaining staff at the Department of Administration will continue providing personnel updates and layoff information to state employees separated from service through their primary website, www.DOA.alaska.gov and the toll-free hotline 844-465-4688.