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A WV public employee’s union has called on the state to investigate claims the state is employing a “scam” whereby it is using its power to hire and fire workers and other personnel in order to make the state more efficient and “cost-effective”.
In a letter dated May 19 to the State Treasurer, the Local Union of Public Employees (LUPE) states that “the State is using taxpayer dollars to hire workers and employees to cover costs of public employee pensions, medical, dental, and other health care services, including benefits for state workers”.
It also alleges that a number of public employees, including teachers, health care workers, paramedics and correctional officers, are being “placed in the position of managing and/or staffing public employee positions”, and are receiving “a fixed pay, benefit and salary for each day they are employed”.
“As of July 2019, the State is providing $7.4 billion of its FY 2019 budget to public employee unions in lieu of $6.4 million in taxpayer funds to offset the costs of pensions, health and other benefits for employees of the state government,” the letter states.
The letter also requests that the State “immediately terminate all contracts with these public employee workers, and institute an immediate investigation into the State’s hiring and firing practices”.
The letter, which was sent to Treasurer Rob Bell and Secretary of State Kim Davis, was written by LUPE’s national president, David T. Miller, and was signed by the state’s public employee union, Local 10.
In the letter, the union also called on Governor Nathan Deal to “impose a statewide audit on all of the contracts” with public employees that were awarded to public employees at the start of 2019.
The state has previously denied any wrongdoing, stating that it has been using taxpayer money to hire “highly qualified employees and personnel who will provide the best value for taxpayers”.
However, the letter notes that the state had “a $3.3 billion surplus in the first half of 2019” and “that is the first quarter of 2019 that it will not use that surplus to pay back the taxpayer.”
In a statement released by the office of the State Auditor, the state said it had “worked diligently to ensure that all of its contracts were in accordance with the state constitution”.
The audit report is due on May 29.