- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Republican Gov. Paul LePage disagrees with media reports that his moves to reduce state jobs constitute a “hiring freeze.”

Spokespeople Peter Steele and Adrienne Bennett confirmed that hiring for executive branch positions has ceased but that LePage will approve filling some vacancies if requested by departments.

The governor aims to reduce the state workforce to 9,500 employees through his January budget proposal.

LePage told VFOM-FM Tuesday that of roughly 11,000 state employees, about 2,500 positions are temporary and often funded by grants.

The governor said he’s looking to reduce such positions - which include Department of Health and Human Services jobs - to 1,000. He said he’ll determine which ones benefit taxpayers by researching issues like poverty and which are “just collecting data” for the federal government.

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