Across the commonwealth this month, state workers will take the fifth of six mandatory unpaid days except for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who won’t participate in furloughs because he doesn’t agree with them.
Statewide elected officials are prohibited from changing their salaries, but all have said they will write personal checks for a day’s pay to give back. But not Mr. Basketball, who earns over $100,000 annually.
“He doesn’t agree with it, the whole furlough concept, philosophically,” spokesman Bill Clary said. “If it had been up to him, he wouldn’t have asked any employees to take a furlough. So he’s not going to participate.”
Gov. Steve Beshear ordered the furloughs last year as a cost-cutting measure to help save an estimated $24 million for fiscal year 2011, exempting patient care-providers, medical personnel at state prisons, corrections officers and Kentucky State Police.
The move hasn’t been without controversy. Last year, six state workers sued the governor to block the unpaid days and the Democratic-controlled House urged Beshear to stop furloughing in a unanimous 89-0 vote.
Farmer is running for lieutenant governor with state Senate President David Williams in the May 17 GOP primary.