Mike Dunleavy

The Alaska Department of Administration sent out a release and FAQ sheet to state employees earlier this week to help thousands of state workers brace for what could be an impending government shutdown. 

State workers received an email last week from Gov. Mike Dunleavy explaining that layoff notices would be sent out if the Legislature is unable to pass an operating budget by the end of its special session June 14.

“While I have every hope that Legislative leaders will address their prime obligation under the constitution to approve a budget, the possibility exists that the Legislature may fail to do so before this Special Session ends,” Dunleavy wrote in the email, noting that if that scenario occurs, state employees will begin receiving layoff notices.

Now, with one week left in the special session before layoff notices are sent, the Department of Administration is advising state employees on how they might handle a situation in which layoff notices are distributed.

“The Legislature is currently in a special session to consider the operating budget. In the unlikely event that the legislature fails to pass an operating budget by July 1, the State will have to either furlough or layoff some state employees,” the release reads. “Decisions will be made as soon as possible based on legislative developments, but some furlough/layoff decisions may not be made until mid to late June.”

The release explained a number of issues pertaining to a possible shutdown including the fact that some state employees will be placed on furlough for an indefinite period of time following a shutdown. The release, for example, clarified that annual and personal leave will not be affected when an employee is on furlough but personal and annual leave must be paid out within seven days of the day a worker is laid off.

Administration Commissioner Kelly Tsibaka did not respond to a request for comment on the release.

Dunleavy Spokesman Matt Shuckerow noted the administration is hopeful the Legislature will pass a budget before the end of its special session, adding that if the Legislature does not pass a budget, the governor “may very well likely” call the Legislature into another special session which may or may not be moved to the Mat-Su valley.

For more information and to find the FAQ distributed by the DOA, go to www.doa.alaska.gov/dop.

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 458-7544. Follow her on Twitter:@FDNMPolitics.