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After a weekend of suspense, the Senate finally fires six employees.

March 19, 2001
By: Maggie Rotermund
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -After a weekend full of waiting and wondering, Senate employees now know their fate. On Monday, the office of Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, released the names of the six people fired.

The Senate Administration Committee voted Friday in a closed meeting to eliminate the six positions, saving $600,000.

"When we took control of the Senate in February, we began a top-to-bottom management review of the entire staff and senate operation. We determined that there were six positions that could be eliminated," said Kinder.

The push to streamline the Senate came after the Republican majority promised to shave off 10 percent of the Senate's $12 billion budget before July.

The Senate Administration Committee includes Republican Senators Peter Kinder, Bill Kenney and Marvin Singleton, along with Democratic Senators Ronnie DePasco and Ed Quick.

The three Republican members of the committee supported the firings, while the two Democrats abstained.

In addition to eliminating a Senate researcher and an administrative assistant, the committee fired a mail room clerk, a parking lot attendant and a night custodian. The director of data processing position was also eliminated.

Kinder's general council, Jeff Davis, said the $600,000 savings will come from a combination of salary, retirement funds, health care, and money allotted each staff member for office supplies.

The Senate began the session with 214 employees. With Monday's firings the number of employees will be down to 205.

Kinder says the positions were eliminated because they were an unnecessary drain on the Senate budget.

"This is not a case of patronage firings and bringing in new Republicans to replace them. The positions are eliminated," said Kinder.

In addition to eliminating six positions, the committee also voted to eliminate additional leadership staff given to past president pro tems, majority floor leaders and appropriations committee chairmen. The extra staff, crucial in leadership positions, is unnecessary once the senators resume their normal duties.

The former leaders will be given six months of transition time before eliminating one staff member. Each Senator receives close to $92,000 in office allotments annually to pay for their staff and to run their office.