"Chesterfield has eliminated more positions from its general government operations than the Commonwealth has from the entire state government since (fiscal) 2009." 

James Stegmaier on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 in a speech.

Stegmaier says Chesterfield County has cut more government jobs than state of Virginia

Chesterfield County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier wants folks to know he oversees a lean government.

"Chesterfield has eliminated more positions from its general government operations than the Commonwealth has from the entire state government since (fiscal) 2009," Stegmaier said in an outline of a Dec. 14, 2011 speech he made to the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce.

We were struck by this statement. The state government has 33 full-time equivalent workers for every one in Chesterfield’s central government. Is it true that the county, in raw numbers, eliminated more jobs than the much larger state?

We ran a check.

Chesterfield’s general government operations include workers in all services except education. Stegmaier said that if education was included, the numbers would only grow in Chesterfield’s favor since the county has trimmed employment in that department as well.

Stegmaier, to support his claim that Chesterfield’s central government has shed more jobs than the state, pointed us to two sets of statistics.

He cited county budgets that detail Chesterfield’s authorized full-time employment levels in general government. In fiscal 2009, there were 3,697 authorized jobs. In fiscal 2012, which ends June 30, there were 3,516 such positions. That’s a decrease of 181 approved jobs.

For state figures, Stegmaier relied on data from Virginia’s Department of Planning and Budget that detail authorized employment levels for all agencies. The state lists the number of employees as "full time equivalents" -- a figure that lumps together full-time and part-time employees. That’s why the overall number ends in a decimal.

In fiscal 2009, the state had a maximum employment level 114,724.44 jobs. This fiscal year, the maximum is set at 114,566.73.

So the state’s drop of about 157 authorized employees falls 24 short of Chesterfield’s reduction.

But we had some issues with Stegmaier’s proof. He had not made an apples-to-apples comparison because Chesterfield only tallied full-time employees while the state counted full-timers and part-timers.

Also, the state and county numbers Stegmaier compared are maximum employment levels in budgets. Not all of those jobs were filled.

We think the acid test for Stegmaier’s statement is measuring the change in the number of people who actually worked for Chesterfield County and the state.  

We turned to the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management’s website, which lists the number of state employees for any given month over the past 21 years.

On June 30, 2009 -- the end of fiscal 2009 -- , the state had 119,850.81 full-time equivalent employees. By Oct. 31, 2011, the latest date for which statistics were available, the number  rose to 120,465.97. The state had gained 615.16 full-time equivalent workers.

Then we turned to Chesterfield. Matt Harris, the county’s senior budget analyst, told us Chesterfield had 3,816 full-time equivalent employees on July 1, 2009. The number dropped to 3,664 on Nov. 1, 2011. The county lost 152 full-time equivalent workers.

Our ruling:

No matter which set of numbers you use, Chesterfield has eliminated more jobs from its general government operations than Virginia has from its entire state government since fiscal 2009.

We rate Stegmaier’s claim True.