Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey has released details on his plans for the 10% budget cut ordered by the governor. Northey says the agreement reached with AFSME, the largest state employee union, for furloughs allowed him to minimize the number of layoffs.
Northey says there will be two layoffs and the other union employees will take five furlough days between now and the end of the year. He says if the union hadn’t agreed to the furloughs, they would have had an additional 36 layoffs. The two employees who are being laid off are members of the Iowa United Professionals union, which did not agree to the furloughs. Northey says they’ve tried to protect the “health and safety services” in working around the furloughs.
He says things like dairy inspection and meat inspection are being protected, but he says other areas such as licensing and soil conservation will see slow downs, so things like getting things like terraces and grass waterways designed for farmers will take longer. Northey says the department cut back several programs to help with the budget cut, but no programs have been eliminated.