POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Balfour, Unterman say furloughs set good example

Camie Young

Camie Young

Local legislators patted themselves on the back for taking furlough days, as they tackled a state budget crisis calling for furloughs for teachers, DFCS workers and more.

"Now is the time when we must all roll up our sleeves and do what is necessary to ensure that Georgia continues to grow and emerge triumphantly from this hard time," Renee Unterman and Don Balfour said in nearly identical press releases. "As stewards of this state, we must set the best example to our constituents and make our words action."

Legislators took one furlough day a month between August and December of 2009 and are now voluntarily agreeing to another day per month through the month of June. State agencies have taken anywhere between three and 12 furlough days.

The legislator furlough days will be in addition to the $3.08 million cut in appropriations the General Assembly voted to give itself in 2010 general budget, plus any potential further cuts that may be needed to balance the 2010 budget.

Unterman gets new assignment

This week, Unterman was promoted to vice-chair of the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, which handles gas, telecommunications, electric and other related industries.

The move gives Gwinnettians both the first and second highest position on the Senate committee, as Duluth Sen. David Shafer chairs it.

"Senator Unterman has been a tremendous addition to the committee," Shafer said in a press release. "I welcome her energy and passion in her new role as vice chairman."

Unterman also serves as chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee, vice-chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and chair of the appropriations subcommittee for the Department of Human Resources.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.