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Saturday, July 20, 2024


Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed the Fiscal Year 2000 budget Friday but vetoed key sections of the Omnibus Bill.
The $450 million budget is $18 million in excess of what Turnbull agreed to in his memorandum of understanding with the Interior Department. Because revenues are expected to fall far short of the budgeted spending, the governor said he would control spending with his allotment power.
Among the key sections of the Omnibus Act vetoed by Turnbull were:
– The 10-page section that would have given teeth to the inspector general's power to investigate fraud and subpoena records and witnesses. The section also would have given the IG's office money and independence from any governmental interference in its operation.
– An item that would have allowed the Legislature's post auditor to have access to the Finance Department's financial management system. Turnbull said there were other ways for the post auditor to get information.
– A section that required the director of Personnel to be confirmed by the Legislature and limited the director's salary to the $65,000 paid to commissioners. The current director, Joanne Ullrich Berry, is paid $78,000 annually. The governor said the section would usurp his power to set salaries for executive branch employees.
– The elimination of four paid government holidays. The governor originally suggested eliminating five holidays — Holy Thursday, Easter Monday, Organic Act Day, Supplication Day and local Thanksgiving day. The Legislature countered with four — Transfer Day, Organic Act Day, Supplication Day and local Thanksgiving Day. Turnbull vetoed the entire section covering elimination of holidays.
– A proviso that would have given the Education Department the ability to hire personnel and have more power over its finances.
Other vetoed sections would have placed the Office of Collective Bargaining under the Division of Personnel instead of the governor's office, mandated that new employees pay a larger share of retirement and caused accumulated annual leave of more than 60 days to be applied as retirement credit.
In signing the bill into law, the governor said he did so with great reluctance. He said it didn't go far enough toward reducing government spending.

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