LANSING — When state officials claimed at the beginning of June that they could save more than $11 million by hiring 94 new state employees and shifting computer work from private contractors back to the state, the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) challenged the Granholm administration to prove the claim.

“We are trying to reconcile how, in a time of tight state budgets, and not long after many state employees were offered early retirement packages, the Granholm administration is proposing to add 94 jobs in the Department of Information Technology,” said Barry Cargill, vice president for government relations for SBAM. “It’s hard to understand the administration’s math when it asserts that 94 additional state jobs is a net cost savings.”

The Granholm administration engaged in an aggressive review of contracts as part of its efforts to deal with a projected budget shortfall. But a review of contracts — to see whether the companies involved are doing the job they should, and if not, firing them and hiring other companies — is not the same as having state employees resume performance of those duties. “Granted, if a private contract is not saving the state money, then it should be renegotiated or cancelled,” said Cargill. “What should not be done is a rollback on privatization simply in the name of adding more state employees.”

The Granholm Administration did not respond to the SBAM’s challenge.