Sen. Shirley K. Turner, D-Ewing, announced Tuesday that her district office would close on Monday, July 13 to fulfill furlough requirements imposed on state workers in order to balance the 2009 state budget.
“As far as we can tell, adherence to the furlough policy for Legislative branch employees is entirely voluntary,” said Sen. Turner, in a statement. “However, my staff and I will be participating in the State worker furloughs, because we believe that as a matter of basic fairness, any salary pain caused by a missed day’s wages should be shared across the board, not limited to a select few.
The office will re-open for business on July 14, according to Sen. Turner, who said she will continue to review state furlough policies in order to comply with future requirements on state employees.
The Ewing office was closed on May 22 for the first of two furloughs intended to shore up deficits in the 2009 budget, which ended on June 30.
Sen. Turner said she remains hopeful that the Corzine administration will set future furlough policies and wage freezes based on employee negotiations, noting that the Communications Workers of America (CWA), New Jersey’s largest union representing State employees, last week ratified a compromise contract negotiation offered by Governor Corzine.
“While I understand that wage freezes and furlough days have a major impact on the lowest-paid State workers, I was gratified to see Gov. Corzine’s commitment to negotiate the give-backs, rather than impose them unilaterally,” said Sen. Turner. “Our State workers understand the dire economic condition our State is in, because they’re facing many of the same problems affecting the rest of New Jersey. “
The announcement included an apology to constituents for any inconvenience caused by the July 13 furlough and a promise that Sen. Turner’s staff would be back in on the 14th to address their needs.