Hundreds of state workers lose jobs as calendar turns

Posted July 1, 2011

State budget

— With the start of a new fiscal year Friday, hundreds of state workers found themselves unemployed.

The $19.7 billion budget that lawmakers passed recently over Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto included cuts to every state agency, leading to extensive layoffs at the end of Thursday.

More than 600 workers in cabinet-level departments lost their jobs, with dozens more in departments outside the executive branch, including education, agriculture and justice. Another 170 vacant positions in cabinet-level departments were eliminated in the budget.

"It is tough emotionally. It saddens me tremendously," said Robin Jenkins, chief operating officer of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The halls of the Juvenile Justice office on Hammond Road were eerily quiet Friday, with many work spaces dark.

Overnight, 266 positions were eliminated in the department. The 120 people who lost their jobs included the school superintendent, nurses, social workers and human resources staff.

Although the people are gone, piles of work remain.

"We're working on some staff development," Jenkins said. "When you lose 15 percent of your workforce but you still have 100 percent of the work, the expectation may outstrip your ability to deliver."

The job cuts are across state government. The Department of Revenue lost 91 employees and another 84 vacant positions. The Department of Correction lost 81 workers, while the Department of Crime and Public Safety lost 46, including 19 from the Highway Patrol.

"It's going to be tough, and we're going to be stretched," said First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, spokesman for the Highway Patrol.

empty office Hundreds of state workers lose jobs as calendar turns

State budget writers had to balance a budget with a projected $2.5 billion shortfall, and they did it without raising taxes. They said they wanted to streamline government and cut what they called excessive spending.

Hundreds more state workers are expected to lose their jobs over the next year.

Each worker in the reduction in force, or RIF, was given 30 days' notice and will be eligible for four months of severance and one year of benefits.

In a matter of hours, department heads said, they lost years of knowledge and experience.

"Some of the people we lost have been with the department 30, 33, 34 years. They knew our history (and were) great problem-solvers," Jenkins said.

Officials also noted that, behind each job cut is a person with a story – and likely a family.

"One of the folks being RIFed in my agency has cancer, and that individual will be confronted with no job, no employment and having to deal with this very tragic illness," said Dee Freeman, secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


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  • COPs eye Jul 4, 2011

    I hope the first people that got laid off were those that were eligible to retire and double dipping in the pot. The next BIG cut which will not happen should be to the gross salaries the elected officials are handed. If they were cut down to the average salary of north carolinians than the state would save more. I hope the families that experienced a loss can recover swiftly.

  • PoBoy Jul 4, 2011

    This is a sad commentary on NC's past democratic controlled legislature and its inability to be good stewards of the people's money. Thanks to them, NC will be less safer for a long time. I hope Easley enjoyed all those heli-trips back and forth from Raleigh and points all over for his weekend and weekday excursions with his political cronies!

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 4, 2011

    Some of this goes to show that the budget for pass three years was over inflated.

  • Nancy Jul 1, 2011

    WooHoo - you don't believe Pelosi said that? Here's the video, enjoy!


  • boneymaroney13 Jul 1, 2011

    geosol - Use something other than Deomcrat Socialist talking points.

  • warbirdlover Jul 1, 2011

    How many jobs were cut by the DOT????? Will they have to sell some shovels, not enough people to hold them up :-) I heard the DOT works off a different budget, is this true???

  • jetset Jul 1, 2011

    This is so, so sad. God bless these people who lost their job. My heart goes out to them and their family.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 1, 2011

    "How is it “more tax revenue for the state?” You do understand government employees are taxed at the SAME rate as private employees??? Where ever they work the state will make the same thing tax wise…."

    No the State will actually gain money. Right now recouping the state tax from a State employee just means they get a 7 percent discount on that person's salary. So for every hundred dollars of salary they effectively pay 93 dollars out. Turn that employee into a private sector person, the State is paying nothing for that person's work and they receive the tax inflow from that person.

  • undefeated Jul 1, 2011

    luckn4u2, you do realize that the Governor VETOED this budget and the republican controlled legislature overrode her veto? How could you miss that? Vetoed means that she said NO, and they overrode her no and replaced it with a yes.

  • Nancy Jul 1, 2011

    mep - you asked how many private employees does it take to support one state employee?

    the ratio is 4:1

    NC has over 92,000 state employees (this does not include municipal employees or county employees which are also supported by local and county taxes)