East Hawaii News

Hiring Freeze Imposed to Conserve State Funds

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The state has instituted a hiring freeze for vacant positions in some state agencies in response to the partial shutdown of the federal government, acting Gov. Shan Tsutsui said this afternoon.

The freeze, which is effective immediately, is needed to conserve “dwindling” state funds that are being used to provide services the federal government is not currently providing, Tsutsui said in a statement. Information on what services are involved was not immediately available.

Positions described as critical at the Department of Health, Hawaii State Hospital and Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility are exempt from the order.

The Department of Education, University of Hawaii and public library and hospital systems are also exempt from the freeze but have been asked to take precautionary measures, the statement said.

The action is expected to be a temporary measure.

“As the federal government shutdown approaches its third week, we continued discussions with department directors and decided to take a proactive approach toward minimizing the impact on our state by instituting a temporary hiring freeze on vacant positions,” Tsutsui said. “The deadline for raising the federal debt ceiling is also quickly approaching, and we are acting now to ensure we are best prepared for the potential financial impact.”

“The State of Hawaii is being pragmatic about what federal and state services it can financially cover over any prolonged period,” said state Finance Director Kalbert Young. “While we do not know how long the shutdown will last, we do know that departments are already struggling to cover missing federal funds and they are worried about what could happen to all public services if promised federal funds do not return immediately.”


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