BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Governor David Paterson announced Thursday that nearly 900 public employees will be laid off this year in an effort to reduce the state work force by 2,000, the Albany Times Union reports.
Paterson appeared on a New York radio station Thursday morning where he described his plan, which he says is the result of public employee unions refusing his requests for a lag pay period or furlough.
Paterson says the state work force needed to be reduced by 2,000 to achieve $250 million in savings in this year's budget. After attrition and early retirement, 898 positions need to be eliminated.
The cuts will be spread across a number of state agencies, including the Department of Corrections, DMV, State Police and DEC.
The Department of Corrections will see a 'consolidation of services' that will eliminate food service workers and some corrections chaplains and teachers.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets will have some positions cut in the marketing and pet inspection programs.
80 jobs will be eliminated in the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The State Police will cut 90 jobs, which the governor hopes will come from civilian communications and desk jobs.
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will see about 130 layoffs and the closure or privatization of a few golf courses.
The Department of Environmental Conservation will lose about 150 positions and see some reduction of services.
140 jobs will be cut from the Department of Transportation.
The governor also said there will be layoffs in the Department of Housing and Community Renewal.
Governor Paterson released the following statement Thursday:
"During this time of unprecedented economic crisis, I have asked all New Yorkers to make sacrifices as we work together to put our State on a path to recovery. I have made it clear that I will do everything in my power to protect the fiscal integrity of the State. We have seen hospitals consolidate; not-for-profits go extended periods without regular reimbursements, and we have been forced to make painful cuts to our assistance for our most vulnerable, all while closing more than $42 billion in deficit over the last two years.
"Despite these sacrifices, the State is facing a more than $8 billion budget deficit next year and a more than $30 billion deficit over the next three years.
"It is with this stark reality as a backdrop that today I have approved implementation of a plan to reduce the workforce by an additional 2000 employees, which will include 898 layoffs to be effected at year's end. When this reduction plan is fully realized, my Administration will have reduced the State workforce by more than 11,000 employees. In total, this will amount to a reduction greater than 8 percent for the workforce under Executive control.
"But these layoffs are a last resort, and one I had hoped to avoid through negotiation and compromise. Unfortunately, as we undertook the painful austerity measures I have described, all we heard from the leadership of our State's public employee unions was alarmist rhetoric, intransigence and excuses. This workforce reduction plan is only necessary because they have rejected all other reasonable attempts at compromise.
"My primary objective during my time in office has been, and continues to be, ensuring that New York turns the corner on this fiscal crisis. That goal has guided every action I have taken as Governor, and I will continue to make those difficult decisions."