A Chittenden County Superior Court judge denied today a Vermont State Employees Association request for a restraining order against the Douglas Administration. The state workers’ union sought the order against the administration to stop it from laying off more than 120 state employees, approximately 100 of whom were scheduled to begin departing state government today.In a written statement, VSEA Director Jes Kraus said: “Our heart goes out to the hundred employees who are being, in our views, unnecessarily forced out the jobs that they work so hard at. VSEA will continue pursuing every option available to us in our efforts to avoid more senseless layoffs.” In any case, the administration maintains that it has the right to layoff workers, as it always has, and will go ahead with its plan to do so. It expects the action to save about $13 million through this job action in the coming fiscal year. VSEA s complaint asserted that the layoffs violate the Appropriations Act, which went into effect June 2 over Governor Douglas’ veto. The Act specifically prohibits the administration from proceeding with layoffs unless they are first submitted as part of a plan that is vetted and approved by the Legislature s Joint Fiscal Committee. However, a companion bill passed Wednesday to the Act (the state budget) somewhat changed the language of that section. Attorney General Sorrell had offered an opinion to legislative leaders suggesting the language might be unconstitutional, which is a point Governor Douglas previously had made. Also at issue is that the state budget technically does not kick in until the start of the new fiscal year July 1, calling into question whether the layoff language, right or wrong, can even be applied during the current fiscal year. Nor has the governor signed nor vetoed the companion bill. In an effort to not have to file this lawsuit, VSEA did send a letter to Secretary Lunderville on Tuesday, asking the administration to rescind the RIFs, but we never heard back, said VSEA Director Kraus. That silence forced VSEA to take the action we will tomorrow (Thursday), as we believe the Legislature s veto override means the governor must now follow the law, whether he approves or not.
Laura Sage – Young Achiever of the Year 2012 Soul Mystique – Entertainer of the Year finalist 2012 Source = Australian Event Awards The Australian Event Awards is the top national industry awards program, and is about to open for entries. In one week’s time the Australian Event Awards will officially open for entries from across the country. The Awards aim to recognise the achievements of Australians in the events industry who have demonstrated significant accomplishments in their field.With categories ranging from Best Tourism Event and Best Venue, to Best Achievement in Sustainability & Young Achiever of the Year – the Australian Event Awards is the only national program that encompasses each industry sector. However, that doesn’t equate to more winners, “The awards are a real honour reserved for the best of the best in each category. Our signature trophies are awarded to a select few Australians who deserve to be extremely proud of their achievements. It’s easy to enter, but hard to win!” said Event Awards Project Manager, Chris Twyman.For previous winners Opera Australia, entering the awards was well worth it. “It has given our team great pride in such a massive event”, Associate Producer of Handa Opera, Kylie McOmish stated, adding “Enter, you never know if you don’t enter.”The Australian Event Awards will open entries on the 9th of July, at the same time announcing their new home for the next three years. After an overwhelming response with bids pouring in from destinations around the country, organisers are extremely pleased with the both the quality and quantity of choices.“With a range of exciting announcements to come, those interested in updates regarding entering, sponsorship or related news should subscribe to our e-newsletter” said Twyman. Up-coming events include Focus, a series of cocktail evenings to be presented by the Event Awards in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth & Melbourne in late July, featuring industry guest speakers, and information on entering the awards in 2013. Opera Australia – Australian Event of the Year2012 – Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour,photo by Lisa Tomasetti