The director of the Department of Human Services told employees today that they will have to trim around five-percent of their positions based on state budget projections. D.H.S. spokesman Roger Munns says that would be about 230 positions, but says the number of jobs cut will be lower as some vacant jobs won’t be filled.
Munns says the total cuts will probably be around 120, but he says there are a lot of variables and they are making guesses on the number of jobs lost to attrition. Munns says there are still other questions to be answered and they depend on several budget factors.
He says it’s based on the governor’s budget and supplemental budget being passed, and on the theory that not enough money will be appropriated for the negotiated salary increases.
Munns says if all those things come true as expected, then there will be a deficit. Munns says they will be careful about where the positions are cut. “Everything will be done to preserve the services to the most vulnerable people, and that is kids who might be abused and neglected and to people with mental retardation or mental illnesses at our facilities,” Munns says.
He says they will continue looking for ways to be more efficient and new technologies to allow them to keep doing their job, but the cuts will not go unnoticed. Munns says there is a limit to how much people can do and with caseloads in the 800 range, there will be come impact with slower turnaround times, the time needed to answer questions will be longer and he says there may be an impact on accuracy.
Munns says they will continue the current hiring freeze with only the most critical positions being filled. He says the complete budget picture won’t be know until April.
D.H.S. currently has 5,029 positions.