The Georgia Technology Authority, which is responsible for IT infrastructure and managed network services for all state government agencies, was required by the state to institute three furlough days for its employees, which equates to a 1% pay cut. No one has left the agency since the furloughs began, says Michael Clark, Director of GTA's Office of Communications.
"We've already had one furlough day – the Friday before Labor Day – and we have two more scheduled: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Wednesday before Christmas," Clark says. "You don't come to work, and you don't get paid for that day. You cannot take it as a vacation. It helps cut the state budget because you come off the payroll."
Clark says GTA's 170 employees have not complained about the furloughs, which affected everyone including Georgia's CIO Patrick Moore.
"I haven't heard any griping about the furloughs," Clark says. "People understand what's going on in the economy. State revenues have declined. What I'm hearing from people is that they don't mind taking a furlough day if it means no more layoffs."
GTA has shrunk from a staff of 550 to 170 employees in recent months, because of the elimination of several functions including project management as well as the award of two major outsourcing contracts. On April 1, GTA transferred 291 employees to IBM as part of a 10-year, $873 million IT infrastructure services deal struck last year. On May 1, GTA transferred 33 employees to AT&T as part of a five-year, $346 million managed network services deal.
With all the cuts, GTA has retained its expertise in service management, information security, IT standards and IT policy setting.
Clark doesn't think the furloughs will affect GTA's ability to retain top IT talent, which is always a challenge for state and local government agencies. No furloughs are scheduled for 2010.
"We only got three furlough days, and when the economy turns around the state revenues will come back and the pressure for the furloughs will no longer be there," Clark says. "So far it has not had an impact on our ability to get the work done."