Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday told state workers his budget will replace the day-a-month unpaid furloughs with a 5 percent pay cut.
That is a deeper cut than the furloughs, which translate to a 4.6 percent pay cut. Many employees have said that at least with the furloughs, they got a day off.
The letter also states that the suspension of merit and longevity pay will continue.
"In my meetings with cabinet officers, I heard consistently that the furloughs are difficult to manage," he said in the letter. "They result in poor customer service and leave employees with unfinished work that awaits their return after a furlough day."
"I regret that my first communication with you is to deliver news of this kind," Sandoval said.
He said he and his staff will also take the 5 percent pay cut and pointed out that he has already rejected the 6 percent pay raise scheduled for all elected officials this year.
The furloughs were proposed during the 2009 Legislature as an alternative to pay cuts. Some departments had problems managing them at first since they were applied to workers paid out of the General Fund but not to those paid out of federal money and other non-state sources. Agency heads said cutting those paid with federal money in most cases just resulted in the loss of that federal money, not in any savings.
The department that had the most problems with the furloughs was corrections, which was exempted from them for most of the past two years because of concerns that reducing an already thin staff would result in danger to both correctional officers and inmates. That caused resentment in other state workers who said it wasn't fair corrections was being treated differently.
"I have had the opportunity to meet many of you personally since taking my oath of office last week," Sandoval wrote. "You have expressed a willingness to continue to make sacrifices - provided others make them as well. I believe this is the right course."