Special Session Called, Shutdown Could End Soon

The Woodbury Patch is reporting that an end to the Minnesota government shutdown appears to be just hours away. The governor is quoted as having said that it will then take a “few days” to notify and call back to work the 22,000 state workers laid off July 1.

From the Woodbury Patch:

“Minnesota legislators have been called back to their seats and an end to the state government shutdown appears just hours away.

Gov. Mark Dayton called for a special legislative session to begin at 3 p.m. today—19 days into the Minnesota government shutdown—after approving preliminary versions of nine legislative bills totaling $35.4 billion over the 2012-13 biennium.

On the phone from the Capitol this morning, Sen. Ted Lillie, a Republican who represents Woodbury, said lawmakers have seen presentations about many of the bills, but there are still some details he has to examine before committing to a vote on the budget.

Still, Lillie said he’s pleased to be heading back to the Senate chambers this afternoon, and added that there are several reforms included in the legislation that “people will be pleased with.”

“This is great news,” he said. Read the entire article here.

Disparity in options

When the state workers do go back to work, they wont receive back wages for the time they’ve been forced to take off. Interestingly enough, the contractors who work for the state will not only be entitled to file for lost wages but will also be able to ask for recompense for — rental space for their idled equipment.

Finance and Commerce is reporting:

“AGC-Minnesota said in a previous letter to state officials that it
expects to be “fully compensated” for things like demobilizing and
remobilizing projects, idled equipment, extended home and field office
overhead, and temporary traffic control.

Worke said it’s tough to put a dollar amount on the financial impact
of the shutdown to contractors. But based on the 90 road projects under
way before the July 1 shutdown, he said, “I would expect we are talking
about costs that could be into the tens of millions.”

One cost is lost opportunities where contractors did not bid another
job because a MnDOT project was on their schedule, Worke said.

“We are taking the position that the shutdown was not the fault of contractors,” Worke said. “The delays were not their fault.”

Robert Huber, a principal with the Minneapolis law firm Leonard,
Street and Deinard, told Finance & Commerce in June that the state
is responsible for “delay damages” for idled construction equipment on
projects stalled by the shutdown.

Contractors will “basically get to charge the state for the rental
value of the equipment sitting on the project,” in addition to other
expenses, Huber said.

“We are telling our guys they have a right to make a claim. It is going to cost the state a whole lot of money,” he said.” Source

The shutdown was not the fault of the idled state employees either but rather than recoup their lost wages for them, their unions have reached a  “memorandum of understanding” with the Dayton administration.

“A memorandum of understanding”

From SCTIMES.com:

One big question after the last shutdown was whether state workers would be able to claim back pay for lost time.Michael
Kuchta, spokesman for AFSCME Council 5, said a memorandum of
understanding between unions and the Dayton administration before the
shutdown granted laid-off workers the right to apply for unemployment
with the understanding that they couldn’t claim lost pay when recalled. Source

In the midst of the heat and the negotiations:
Heat buckles portion of I-94 in Minneapolis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s