Now that we’ve all settled down a bit from the euphoria of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Oct. 18 announcement, it’s time to get back to work on making sure the Archives is as secure as we can make it.
Yes, the governor saved the day, but there is still plenty of work to be done to bring the Archives back to the world-class status it enjoyed just a few years ago.
While keeping the Archives open until June 30 and restoring two employees was welcome news, it is not enough. A staff of 10 was insufficient to do the work of the Archives. The staff now has been cut in half, but the same amount of work remains.
Of course, restoring the Archives to 2008 – the last time it was open five days a week and was adequately staffed – would be ideal. The budget then was $5.4 million. That’s $600,000 more than last year’s budget, an increase of 11 percent.
As readers know, Gov. Deal ordered every state department to come up with an additional three percent budget cut for the coming fiscal year.
Of course, it always a good strategy to ask for more than you need, even though you know you won’t get that much. We will leave it to the reader to decide if an 11 percent increase seems reasonable or realistic.
Let’s look at some budget issues that just make sense.
Two employees who are scheduled to be terminated on Oct. 31 are directly connected to grants. Without these employees, these grants will be lost. Failing to keep employees who handle grants is like not contributing to your 401k when your employer offers to match the contributions.
The current salary and benefits of these two employees amounts to $140,000. The R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, a major supporter of the Virtual Vault, recently approved a grant for more than $56,000. The majority of that grant was withdrawn due to lack of staff. The most recent National Endowment for the Humanities grant was for more than $120,000.
We need to keep the Archives at the forefront of the minds of the Governor and legislators. They need to know that we are just as passionate today as we were on Oct. 17.
Here is the Governor’s information:
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal
Office of the Governor
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
You can find the name and contact information for your legislators here:
If we want results, we simply cannot be complacent. Public outcry saved the day before Oct. 18, and it can have the same effect going forward.
Vivian Price Saffold