Wyoming news briefs for April 20

Posted 4/20/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for April 20


Unemployment falls across the state in March

CHEYENNE — As measured by one economic statistic, the unemployment rate fell in every county in Wyoming last month compared to March 2021. And statewide, this seasonally adjusted jobless statistic fell by 2/10 of a percentage point to 3.4 percent, according to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ Research & Planning section.

The state unemployment percentage is also “slightly lower than the current U.S. rate of 3.6 percent and much lower than its March 2021 level of 5.0 percent,” the Research & Planning section said Monday. In just the approximately month-long period from this February to March 2022, seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents increased by 796 workers, or a gain of 0.3 percent, “as people returned to work.” 

In Laramie County, a jobless rate that is not seasonally adjusted fell to 3.3 percent last month from 4.8 percent a year earlier, according to a table of the civilian labor force by place of residence. 

Across the state as a whole, this figure fell to 3.1 percent from 3.9 percent. The most recent figures both locally and in Wyoming are preliminary.

“Unemployment rates were unusually high during much of 2021 because of the pandemic,” the government agency noted. “Total non-farm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) rose from 270,300 in March 2021 to 278,500 in March 2022, an increase of 8,200 jobs (3.0 percent).”


Secretary of State Buchanan Seeks Second Term

SHERIDAN — Wyoming Secretary of State Edward Buchanan will pursue his second term in office.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of Wyoming,” Buchanan said in a statement released April 18. “… I am asking for your continued support as there is more to be done. I have some great ideas on how we can continue to give our customers world-class service and how we can ensure our elections remain secure and efficient.”

The secretary is the chief election officer in the state. The secretary is also responsible for handling the business affairs of the state and serves as the acting governor when the governor is not available.

Buchanan was appointed to the role in March 2018 by Gov. Matt Mead following the resignation of former Secretary Ed Murray, who resigned among sexual misconduct allegations in February 2018. In the November 2018 general election, he earned his first full term in the position, receiving 68.8 percent of the vote.

In his statement, Buchanan highlighted a variety of accomplishments during his time in office including deploying secure and efficient election equipment in the 2020 election season; updating the election code and passing a voter identification law; and participating in a major update to notary and securities laws.

“This was essential to Wyoming business and commerce and protecting Wyoming citizens,” Buchanan said. “We did this all without interruption, remaining open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Jackson council, mayor give selves raise

JACKSON — After public comment describing the town’s approach as “tax and spend,” the Jackson Town Council approved on third reading salary increases for the mayor and councilors.

Councilor Jim Rooks was the sole vote against the raises, despite having voted in favor of the boosts on the first two readings. He had previously expressed reservations due to public perception during a time when the council is seeking ways to fund community services in future years.

Rooks shared the same concern after hearing from Jackson resident Earle Lindell during public comment on the item. Lindell noted that raises are given in other industries when employees demonstrate the value they bring to an organization.

“I would like, maybe, to take three minutes and you guys tell me what you’re worth,” Lindell said. “Why do you need a raise? You got one two years ago, deserved or not deserved, and no one complained; I didn’t. ... Is this one of the deals where after you’re gone, the raise continues and you always say, ‘Well, it wasn’t me, it was the previous council’? That’s why I’m here.”

Lindell added, “We’ve got to say no to something. ... We don’t say no anymore. It seems to be a place here where it’s a tax and spend place.”

The raises increase the mayor’s annual salary from $39,300 to $44,000, and councilors’ salaries from $32,750 to $36,000. Jorgensen and Schechter are currently receiving the $25,000 salaries councilors received before the 2020 increase, as they are still serving the same terms as when that raise was approved.


EWC president resigns

DOUGLAS — The Eastern Wyoming College Board of Trustees has announced that President Lesley Travers has tendered her resignation, effective immediately. 

The news was released by the college based in Torrington on April 15. 

“The board would like to thank Dr. Travers for her service to the college and wish her well in her retirement,” Board Chair Robert Baumgartner said. “As we move forward, the board is committed to finding the best fit for EWC who will focus on our students and build a strong future.” 

Following an emergency executive session, the board convened to accept the resignation of Dr. Travers and approve the immediate appointment of Dr. Richard Patterson as the interim president to assume all presidential duties immediately. 

The board said it intends to move expeditiously in the presidential search process to find the right president as quickly as possible.