Firings Underway in state Department of Education

State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman plans to fire 26 employees as part of the department’s belt tightening, reports Andy Sher. And Gov. Bill Haslam indicated Thursday the move will be duplicated in other areas of state government in his upcoming budget.
Haslam said he believes “one of our responsibilities in government is we use taxpayer money as effectively as we can. And one of the things I’m constantly empahsizing, we’re about providing the service. It’s not about us as the employer, It’s about how do we provide that service in the most effective way we can.”
Haslam said it is each commissioner’s “responsibility to make sure they have the right people in place and the right number within budget constraints. I think that’s part of Commissioner Huffman’s overall plans for the department.”
Reports circulated that as many as 70 Education Department employees would lose their jobs.
“That’s not true,” Huffman spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier said in an email. “It is true that we will be abolishing 43 positions, 26 of which are filled, 17 of which are vacant.”
She said that under a requirement in state law, the department “unfortunately … had to notify more than 70 people to tell them their job could be affected, even though most of them will not lose their jobs.”

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