State Furlough Suit Dropped

A union-backed lawsuit challenging state worker furloughs in Kentucky has been withdrawn. Kentucky Public Radio’s Union officials have decided to move the discussion from the courtroom to an employee advisory panel.

A half dozen state workers, all members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, filed suit in early August.

Their aim was to block six furlough days in the current fiscal year ordered by Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear says the furloughs will save the state $24 million, and are part of a $131 million budget reduction ordered by Kentucky lawmakers.

The first furlough day was September 3rd, the Friday before Labor Day. State workers took a second furlough day this month, and a third is coming up in November.

The legal case was pending before Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd, who had already held a couple of hearings in the lawsuit.

Union officials say they will continue to work through the Governor’s Employee Advisory Council to address furloughs and other workplace issues of importance to state employees.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.