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  1. TESTIMONY OF FRANCIS A. ERNST DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PLANNING AND SPECIAL PROJECTS (OPSP) SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS December 19, 2021 “Q1 2022 Department of Labor Budget Request” Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, it’s an honor to be here before you to present the Q1 2022 Department of Labor budget. In my role as Director of the Office of Planning and Special Projects, I have been tasked by Secretary Noah Wade to oversee the Department of Labor while the position of the Secretary of Labor is vacant, in accordance with the Government Accountability Act. In this short amount of time, my office has reviewed and approved new labor unions, restructured the government subsidy program, eliminated wasteful spending, and established government contracts for two new projects. As you can see in our budget request, we have two key funding requests: payroll and government contracts. The budget sets aside $5 million in payroll expenses. The Department of Labor suffers from major staffing shortages, and so a key priority for next year will be to get the department fully staffed. This figure is half the amount requested in the previous budget cycle, which goes to show that we aim for a lean but effective workforce. We have also requested close to $6 million for public contracts in the Department of Labor budget. One is for toxic site identification, clean up and reporting. The other is for a residential housing development in Mirror Park. The latter is part of the Wade Administration's strategic objective to increase housing access for middle class families. Each contract presents about $3 million in costs. The expenditure for funding in the first contract is authorized in the San Andreas Port Authority Expansion of Authority Act of 2021 signed by Governor Brandt on December 12, 2021. The project will provide the standard payment of $12,000 per shift for individual workers, $15,000 per shift for supervisors, at a 20% profit rate for the contracted company. Additional funding may be utilized from Section A1 to fulfill reporting requirements. Similarly, the second contract appropriation provides the standard payment of $12,000 per shift for individual workers, $15,000 per shift for supervisors, at a 20% profit rate for the contracted company. Each of these projects have been allotted two-hundred man-hours, and are expected to be completed in three months. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am happy to answer questions about the budget, the Department of Labor, or the Office of Planning and Special Projects. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this committee.
  2. State of San Andreas Official Press Release From the desk of Esme Sheikh, Chief of Communications: For Immediate Release to the General Public: SAN ANDREAS GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES TOXIC WASTE SITE IDENTIFICATION AND CLEAN-UP CONTRACT Director of the Office of Planning and Special Projects, Francis Ernst, announced that the San Andreas State Government has launched a government contract for the identification and clean-up of sites contaminated by hazardous materials. Ernst, who has temporarily filled the vacancy of Secretary of Labor in his role as Director of Planning and Special Projects, will oversee the three-month project. The contracted company will fulfill obligations outlined in the San Andreas Port Authority Expansion of Authority Act of 2021, including providing a report to the government and legislature on contaminated sites in the state, recommendations for clean-up, and a summary of efforts undertaken by the government. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that U.S. factories released 1.8 million metric tons (about 2 million tons) of toxic chemicals into the air, land, and surface waters in 2011, including a number of chemicals that are known carcinogens. Toxic waste results from industrial, chemical, and biological processes. Toxins are found in household, office, and commercial wastes. Toxic waste and chemical waste material are capable of causing death or injury to life. Poisoning occurs when toxic waste is ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin. More information on the contract [293-04-2021] can be found on the San Andreas government website, here. ### All current and future media inquiries may be directed to the office of Strategic Communications and Outreach at [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] All information contained within this press release is recorded and archived with the State of San Andreas, and can be retrieved via official request.
  3. State of San Andreas Official Press Release From the desk of Esme Sheikh, Chief of Communications: For Immediate Release to the General Public: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO CEASE FUNDING FOR BUSINESS SUBSIDY PROGRAM Director of Planning and Special Projects Francis Ernst announced Tuesday morning that the San Andreas State Government will cease funding for the small business incentivization program. Ernst, standing in for the vacancy of the San Andreas Secretary of Labor pursuant to Chapter II, Section I (b)(1) of the Government Accountability Act, recommended the decision after receiving input from relevant stakeholders. The program provided grants to business owners from socially and economically "disadvantaged" backgrounds and women-owned small business programs. In addition, the program aimed to provide subsidies in the fields of manufacturing, warehousing, mining, excavation, electricity generation and power plant operations, custodial work, farming, commercial fishing, logging, landscaping, pest control, food processing, oil field work, waste collection and disposal, recycling, construction, maintenance, shipping, driving, custodial care, retail business, and trucking. However, these subsidies were never distributed. “This was not an easy decision to make, but the consensus of the government was that industries could be better supported by private-public partnerships via state contracts rather than direct subsidies for businesses” Ernst stated. “Furthermore, it is this administration’s philosophy to give ‘hand-ups’ not ‘hand-outs.’ Our primary responsibility is to the taxpayer, not special interest groups. Finally, this program has not been adequately funded by Senate appropriators and would sacrifice precious Department of Labor funding in order to continue.” Effectively immediately, subsidies for the incentivization program will conclude. ### All current and future media inquiries may be directed to the office of Strategic Communications and Outreach at [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] All information contained within this press release is recorded and archived with the State of San Andreas, and can be retrieved via official request.
  4. State of San Andreas Official Press Release From the desk of Esme Sheikh, Chief of Communications: For Immediate Release to the General Public: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO CEASE FUNDING FOR BUSINESS SUBSIDY PROGRAM Director of Planning and Special Projects Francis Ernst announced Tuesday morning that the San Andreas State Government will cease funding for the small business incentivization program. Ernst, standing in for the vacancy of the San Andreas Secretary of Labor pursuant to Chapter II, Section I (b)(1) of the Government Accountability Act, recommended the decision after receiving input from relevant stakeholders. The program provided grants to business owners from socially and economically "disadvantaged" backgrounds and women-owned small business programs. In addition, the program aimed to provide subsidies in the fields of manufacturing, warehousing, mining, excavation, electricity generation and power plant operations, custodial work, farming, commercial fishing, logging, landscaping, pest control, food processing, oil field work, waste collection and disposal, recycling, construction, maintenance, shipping, driving, custodial care, retail business, and trucking. However, these subsidies were never distributed. “This was not an easy decision to make, but the consensus of the government was that industries could be better supported by private-public partnerships via state contracts rather than direct subsidies for businesses” Ernst stated. “Furthermore, it is this administration’s philosophy to give ‘hand-ups’ not ‘hand-outs.’ Our primary responsibility is to the taxpayer, not special interest groups. Finally, this program has not been adequately funded by Senate appropriators and would sacrifice precious Department of Labor funding in order to continue.” Effectively immediately, subsidies for the incentivization program will conclude. ### All current and future media inquiries may be directed to the office of Strategic Communications and Outreach at [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] All information contained within this press release is recorded and archived with the State of San Andreas, and can be retrieved via official request.
  5. December 2, 2021 For Immediate Release FRANCIS ERNST APPOINTED TO DIRECTOR OF PLANNING AND SPECIAL PROJECTS Secretary of State Noah Wade recently announced the appointment of former President Pro Tempore Francis Ernst as the Director of the Office of Planning and Special Projects (OPSP) in the state government. On December 1, 2021, Ernst was formally sworn into office. The position was created and authorized by law in the Government Accountability Act of 2021. “We are proud to have Frank Ernst's experience and expertise in the government and with innovation-led economic development activities to help us build collaboration, achieve our goals more quickly, and continue to innovate government services. We are excited and pleased to have Frank working for the people of San Andreas once more,” said Noah Wade, Secretary of State of San Andreas. As OPSP Director, Ernst will support a wide range of business and economic development-related projects, lead cross-agency collaboration efforts, cultivate governmental study groups and alleviate staff shortages in the government. Ernst's focus covers multiple industries and jurisdictions within the state. Ernst is joining the office after serving an extended tenure in the San Andreas State Senate as President Pro Tempore. Before working serving the state, Ernst worked as a corporate attorney and fought against the influence of organized crime in the private sector by coordinating with various extorted businesses and the San Andreas Bureau of Investigation (SABI) to build cases. “I’m excited to join a dedicated team of government leaders focused on developing a more responsible and efficient government which supports a growing economy. I am proud to join the many hardworking state employees who are busy behind the scenes working to make the state I’ve called home for more than four decades a great place to live,” said Ernst. ### All current and future media inquiries may be directed to the office of Strategic Communications and Outreach at [email protected] or [email protected] All information contained within this press release is recorded and archived with the State of San Andreas, and can be retrieved via official request. Author Communications Officer Hannah Kai is reachable at [email protected] for any inquiry.
  6. December 5, 2021 For Immediate Release SAN ANDREAS GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES RESIDENTIAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CONTRACT IN MIRROR PARK Director of the Office of Planning and Special Projects, Francis Ernst, announced San Andreas State Government plans to sell off residentially zoned land in Mirror Park, Los Santos to potential homeowners for the purposes of increasing housing access to middle class families in Los Santos and alleviating San Andreas' housing shortage. The contract consists of plans to construct eight homes in Mirror Park, in accordance with state government guidelines. After construction is completed, the properties will go for bidding. Potential contractors should be prepared to present a comprehensive construction plan, cost estimates, and a timeline. More information on the contract [293-03-2021] can be found on the San Andreas government website, here. Aerial photographs taken on 12/5/2021: Residential planning concept: ### BACKGROUND CHEC
  7. December 2, 2021 For Immediate Release FRANCIS ERNST APPOINTED TO LEAD THE OFFICE OF PLANNING AND SPECIAL PROJECTS (OPSP) Secretary of State Noah Wade recently announced the appointment of former President Pro Tempore Francis Ernst as the Director of the Office of Planning and Special Projects (OPSP) in the state government. On December 1, 2021, Ernst was formally sworn into office. The position was created and authorized by law in the Government Accountability Act of 2021. “We are proud to have Frank Ernst's experience and expertise in the government and with innovation-led economic development activities to help us build collaboration, achieve our goals more quickly, and continue to innovate government services. We are excited and pleased to have Frank working for the people of San Andreas once more,” said Noah Wade, Secretary of State of San Andreas. As OPSP Director, Ernst will support a wide range of business and economic development-related projects, lead cross-agency collaboration efforts, cultivate governmental study groups and alleviate staff shortages in the government. Ernst's focus covers multiple industries and jurisdictions within the state. Ernst is joining the office after serving an extended tenure in the San Andreas State Senate as President Pro Tempore. Before working serving the state, Ernst worked as a corporate attorney and fought against the influence of organized crime in the private sector by coordinating with various extorted businesses and the San Andreas Bureau of Investigation (SABI) to build cases. “I’m excited to join a dedicated team of government leaders focused on developing a more responsible and efficient government which supports a growing economy. I am proud to join the many hardworking state employees who are busy behind the scenes working to make the state I’ve called home for more than four decades a great place to live,” said Ernst. ### All current and future media inquiries may be directed to the office of Strategic Communications and Outreach at [email protected] or [email protected] All information contained within this press release is recorded and archived with the State of San Andreas, and can be retrieved via official request. Author Communications Officer Hannah Kai is reachable at [email protected] for any inquiry.
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