New Suit Challenges State Worker Furloughs

A new lawsuit has been filed challenging the furlough of state workers in Kentucky. 

Last month, several members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, who sued to halt six state furlough days, suddenly withdrew their suit. 

Union officials said the workers had decided to take their complaints to the Governor’s Employee Advisory Council, instead of the courts. 

But now, a similar lawsuit challenging the furloughs has been filed by 37 teachers who are members of the Kentucky Education Association.  Most work at the Kentucky School for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

The lawsuit claims the furloughs, approved by the 2010 General Assembly and implemented by Gov. Steve Beshear, are unconstitutional and being unlawfully imposed.  The state disagrees and seeks dismissal of the lawsuit, filed in Franklin Circuit Court. 

To date, state workers have taken three of the six furlough days, which are designed to save the state $24 million this fiscal year.

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.