Additional DEC layoffs on hold?

Albany – Additional layoffs within DEC – including the Division
of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources – haven’t yet occurred for a
variety of reasons.

The chief factor is that the payroll and staffing issues are
still subject to negotiation between the unions and Gov. David
Paterson, DEC_Assistant Director of Fish, Wildlife and Marine
Resources Doug Stang said late last month.

DEC was looking at an 225 layoffs – in addition to an earlier
mandate to trim 242 positions – under sweeping staff cuts proposed
by Paterson to address a massive state budget deficit.

Paterson called for the layoffs of 8,700 state workers by July
1.

Within DEC, job cuts were being handled on an agency-wide basis,
although indications are all departments may be equally impacted
through a 6 percent workforce reduction.

Stang, however, says those cuts haven’t yet occurred.

“While it’s public knowledge that DEC could be reduced by 225
positions via layoffs, reductions are subject to Civil Service
rules and regulations, which can affect how they are carried
out,”_he said.

He called the Civil Service rules concerning layoffs and
“bumping” – in which senior employees may be able to move into
different positions within an agency – “quite complex.”

As a result, Stang said it was difficult to speculate how DEC’s
Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources would be
affected.

“It is with extremely limited accuracy that one can predict how
it will all turn out with regard to specifics within any
DEC_division or for locations,” he said. “That said, generally,
things happen on a seniority basis.”

Stang said earlier this year that with the Division of Fish,
Wildlife and Marine Resources staffing already trimmed and with a
hiring freeze in place, “there is not any way we can further reduce
staff without affecting program delivery. Some, as yet undefined,
programs will have to be curtailed or reduced.”

While previous staff reductions have been made through
attrition, it appears virtually impossible that DEC can reduce
staff by another 225 without individual job losses other than
retirements or voluntary departures.

The workforce reduction plan within the state budget indicated
the job cuts would come through attrition, layoffs and the
continuation of a statewide hiring freeze.

State agencies were advised by the governor’s office that the
cuts Those would impact positions at all levels, including middle
and upper level management positions.”

Paterson earlier this year reduced his layoff target by 200 to
the 8,700 figure because “management/confidential” employees –
managers and secretaries who are not in unions – will not receive
the 3-percent pay raises union employees will get under contractual
agreements.

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