PIERRE – The budget recommended last week by the governor calls for workforce expansions that total the full-time equivalent of 107.7 positions throughout state government including the court system and the state universities.
If all of those recommendations – and only those – were adopted by the Legislature during its 2013 session, state government in total would have13,810 FTEs in the fiscal 2014 budget that starts July 1 and runs through June 30.
For comparison, state government actually used 13,200.5 FTEs in the fiscal 2011 year and 12,951.9 FTEs in the fiscal 2012 year that ended June 30. The Legislature last winter budgeted 13,702.3 FTEs for the current fiscal 2013 year.
Each year different priorities are proposed by the governor, but the ultimate decision is up to the Legislature in the budget that it passes. Most often the new FTEs reflect difficult situations in our society that need to be addressed or they reflect attempts to seize opportunities for economic betterment.
Such is the case again this year in most of the recommendations made by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. But there are still the occasional clinkers where government does because government says.
The state Department of Education, for example, would get one new FTE. It’s for an accountant who would deal with budgeting and reporting required as part of receiving federal education grants.
The Daugaard priorities in his latest budget proposal can be grouped into physics, economic development, corrections and courts.
The governor recommends 20 FTEs for a new doctorate-level physics program. It would be run by South Dakota School of Mines and Technology at Rapid City and the University of South Dakota at Vermillion.
The physics program would be deeply involved in research and would operate in conjunction with the Sanford underground laboratory at the old Homestake mine in Lead.
He also proposes adding 21 FTEs for the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, which is state government’s manager for the Sanford lab.
The state Board of Regents, whose members govern the state universities and special schools, also would see eight FTEs added for the Agricultural Experiment Station operated by South Dakota State University at Brookings and another eight FTEs for faculty at Black Hills State University at Spearfish.
Both campuses have been disproportionately under-funded in comparison to the four other traditional universities. The regents also would get one FTE for a janitor at the School for the Deaf campus in Sioux Falls to replace the contract service that’s been used.
One emphasis during the past year by Daugaard has been to find ways to slow the rate of cost increases for operating the state courts and prison system. Some of the additional FTEs recommended by the governor are a result of that work.
The Unified Judicial System is recommended for 9.5 new FTEs. They include three court services officers, three specialists in drug and DUI courts, a one-half FTE for a magistrate judge, two other court officers and one FTE for a senior programmer analyst to assist in the UJS records system.
The Department of Corrections is in line for 14.5 FTEs to bring its total workforce to 871.2.
A unit case manager and a sergeant would be added at the Rapid City minimum security unit. The state penitentiary in Sioux Falls would add a coordinator to specialize in elimination of prison rape and 3.5 FTEs for additional security in the kitchen and healthcare operations.
Parole services would get one FTE for a corrections analyst, three FTEs for additional parole officers and one FTE for a corrections specialist.
Juvenile community corrections would receive three additional FTEs so that agents currently working on contracts could be hired by the department as regular employees.
Of the eight new FTEs recommended for the Department of Health, six would work as part of the prison system in infirmary services and technology. The hope is they can reduce emergency-room use and hospital visits.
The other two Health FTEs would be one apiece for the Board of Nursing and the Board of Pharmacy.
The office of attorney general is shuffling FTEs in order to put more people into current priorities and to continue positions that previously were funded under federal stimulus programs. Overall the office would decrease by one-half of an FTE.
The office would add an attorney to defend state government against prisoner lawsuits and would add a consumer fraud investigator.
An additional Division of Criminal Investigation would be hired to work drugs in the Black Hills
A variety of staffing increases and decreases within the Department of Human Services would result in a recommended net decrease of seven FTEs.
Proposed additions include a communications officer and two FTEs for the new Office of Community Living within the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Meanwhile 10 FTEs would be eliminated from the South Dakota Developmental Center at Redfield as a unit closes. The institution’s mission had gradually changed amid more people with disabilities living in community settings.
The Department of Social Services would receive two new FTEs. One is for a quality control program in its office of economic assistance. The second would be in the Money Follows the Person program within the office of medical and adult services.
The wild-land fire suppression office in the Department of Agriculture would add 1.3 FTEs for four part-time “squad boss” positions.