Judge blocks Paterson Furlough Order

Oswego, NY – A federal judge has issued an order to block furloughs for about 100,000 state workers.

The temporary restraining order blocks Governor David Paterson's plan to place state workers on one-day a week furloughs which were scheduled to start next week.

Three employee unions filed suit against the governor after state lawmakers voted to approve an emergency budget bill which included the furloughs.

Union leaders were quick to praise the court's decision. CSEA president Danny Donohue said "CSEA is proud that the court agreed with our contention that this action would cause irreparable harm to our members and undermine state services".

Kenneth Brynien, president of the Public Employees Federation said "PEF is extremely pleased with the court decision issued today granting the temporary restraining order that prevents furloughs of state employees scheduled to begin the week of May 17. This decision will allow state services to continue uninterrupted and prevent hardships to the taxpayers who depend on them."

A Paterson spokesman responded to the ruling, saying "We are disappointed with the courts decision, which was granted without the benefit of a hearing. We look forward to our day in court. It is imperative for the State to conserve revenues and maintain the orderly operation of government, and the Governor remains committed to this objective. Governor Paterson again calls for the leaders of New York's public employee unions to share in the sacrifice that all New Yorkers are enduring in this extraordinary fiscal crisis," said the spokeman.

The judge's ruling also means Paterson cannot include a furlough order in any future extender bills until a hearing is held which is scheduled for May 26th.