CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Monday he felt it was appropriate to scale back the traditional Christmas holiday parties at a time when he is calling on state agencies to make further budget cuts.
"It's a cost-saving measure," he said. "I'm asking everyone to cut back some more in their departments, and the [holiday] party tent is expensive to put up."
Instead of holiday parties held at the Governor's Mansion, using a large rental tent to accommodate the crowds, the governor and first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin will host scaled-down parties at the Culture Center.
Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Schuler Goodwin said the primary savings will come from not having to rent a large party tent. In 2012, the state leased a 40- by 50-foot tent from A-to-Z Rentals in Huntington for $24,500. Costs for additional rental equipment for the tent -- primarily for propane heaters and fuel -- ran an additional $6,941.
Other party policy changes:
"It gives the opportunity for more people to see each other at these events," Goodwin said of having fewer but larger parties.
Using a party tent to provide a dance floor and additional space for Governor's Mansion parties has been a matter of debate since 2007, when Gov. Joe Manchin used donations to purchase a 50- by 80-foot tent for $126,000.