Kaine Orders Hiring Freeze

State agencies are being told to restrict hiring because of Virginia's budget problems.

Governor Timothy Kaine's chief of staff, Wayne Turnage, told agency heads in a memo that any new hires must be approved by the appropriate Cabinet secretaries. He said only "absolutely essential" positions should be filled.

Public safety, health and higher education jobs are exempt from Monday's order.

Agencies also were told to refrain from hiring new consultants and to suspend any discretionary training or travel.

The directive comes as the governor's economic advisers are preparing a new revenue forecast for the legislature. An earlier forecast put the budget shortfall at about $640 million. That number is almost sure to grow.

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