On Wednesday, November 4 from 5-6 PM State Representative Andy Holt will be hosting a town-hall at the University of Tennessee at Martin in the Legislative Chamber on the First Floor of the University Center to address concerns regarding the outsourcing of state employees. Holt will be joined by the Tennessee State Employees Association.
“University and other state employees from across the district are very upset about this and they have every right to be,” said Holt. “Media reports are constantly in conflict with what employees are being told from day to day.”
Holt says that, for the most part, legislators have been kept completely in the dark about the entire process.
“The most unfortunate thing here is that not only are state employees being kept in the dark, but so are their elected officials,” said Holt. “I hope to answer any questions that employees may have and offer them some guidance during the town hall.”
Below is an email Holt sent to Governor Haslam’s staff-member Leslie Hafner regarding the issue last week.
Mrs. Leslie Hafner,
I’ve been contacted by 30+ UTM employees over the past couple days. I’m hearing about emails and people in management leaving their positions based on an “imminent decision which WILL BE made by the Governor.”
It really seems like a lot of my constituents, as well as the constituents of other legislators, are about to be negatively impacted in a way which will alter the livelihood of their families. When they come to us, they want answers. I know these people. I go to church with these people. Our kids play soccer together. You see, in the district, we are a community. If a decision is made regarding these folks without full disclosure and the input of the legislators which are closest to them, I will not stand by idly, Mrs. Hafner.
I don’t know a lot about this decision. In fact, none of us do. However, I know how every contact that I have had with my office feels about it; they think it’s horrendous.
If my constituent were to approach you at our children’s soccer game (and you were their elected Representative) and said… “I’m going to lose my job and benefits. Why are they doing this? What’s going on? I was told it was actually going to cost more to outsource than it does to maintain us at our current jobs. If this is really about saving money, why is the state wasting tens of thousands of dollars on logos and millions on state-owned golf courses? We can barely pay our bills now.” What would you tell them, Leslie? Where are the independent, third party reports showing that this actually saves the state money? I think people are growing very critical of the administration’s handling of this situation. That’s not an opinion on my part, only a conclusion that I have drawn from those affected, and even many who are not, but know about the situation. It’s all over the news here and it’s putting others and myself in a very precarious situation.
Thank you for your response.
-Representative Andy Holt