Layoff notices in the mail: See which state departments will possibly be affected
Gov. Bill Walker said he is again disappointed with Alaska lawmakers as they missed the deadline to pass a budget and avoid sending out layoff notices to almost 10,000 state workers.
“June 1 is a critical date,” Walker said. “We received assurances, that, ‘Don’t worry about June 1, things will be fine’ and, obviously, they are not.”
State workers are worried about what will happen next, says Alaska State Employees Association Executive Director Jim Duncan. Notices that their jobs may be eliminated after July 1 were mailed out Monday from Juneau. Duncan said he’s been taking calls from concerned members all day long.
“It causes great unrest among employees, it upsets them,” Duncan said. “They are thinking about their families, their mortgages, their rent payments.”
To help the Legislature reach a budget compromise, Walker has offered to pay for a mediator, Matt Peterson — who says he has a plan and has cleared his calendar for the next week to focus on the Legislature.
“Where I sit right now, I’m fairly optimistic that this can be mediated,” Peterson said. “I can’t really discuss specifics, but I do have a plan on how I’d like to proceed and I’m ready to go forward immediately, as soon as we can get people set up to meet with me.”
There is no word yet on if the Legislature has accepted the governor’s offer to have Peterson serve as mediator.
Duncan said he does not believe legislators would actually allow a partial shutdown of state government, but he said simply sending out the notices had caused some damage.
“It will probably influence decisions about how long they want to remain in state government,” Duncan said. “If they are ready for retirement? Will they move that date up and retire sooner or will they start looking for other jobs? I think it even hurts with recruitment, if there’s that kind of instability in state government.”
Not every department will be receiving layoff notices. See below for a breakdown of impacts to each state department. Click on the department name to be taken to each specific notice.
- The department will delay or cancel vendor purchasing services, affecting an estimated $1.7 million daily in state contracts.
- “Hundreds of state leases will not be paid in full for the duration of the closure,” according to DOA.
- State I/T and communications equipment will go unmaintained during shutdown
- Labor contract bargaining will halt during shutdown
- State will not have staff to respond to state employee grievances
- Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission would not receive grant funds for local TV or radio
- “Skeleton crews” will operate divisions within the department “to support only those state functions related to life, health, and safety.”
- DCCED staff will be laid off during shutdown, but the following agencies will likely not be affected: Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the Division of Banking and Securities, the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the Division of Insurance
- Though many DEC services will be operational during a shutdown, other services such as air and water monitoring, laboratory testing, shellfish PSP testing, permitting, inspections, complaint response and support to many community environmental programs will be largely suspended.
- Field staff will be laid off in phases during July and August, but “core staff” responsible for management of Alaska’s commercial salmon fisheries will remain in place.
- ADF&G research vessels will return to port during a shutdown.
- Layoffs will occur to the following agencies: Alaska Labor Relations Agency, Wage and Hour Administration and the Alaska Workforce Investment Board.
- The department predicts a reduction in prosecutions (except for violent crimes), consumer protection, resource development and DOL representation
- All Office of Veterans Affairs staff will be laid off.
- Grants for 17 Veterans Service Officers will not be renewed when they expire June 30. “This will leave Alaska’s approximately 75,000 veterans without assistance to claim the benefits they have earned,” the department says.
- All Alaska Military Youth Academy staff will be laid off.
- The DNR Public Information Center will close, and agriculture services will be reduced.
- Reduced staffing in the Juneau and Anchorage offices, along with staff cuts to the Treasury Division.
- Should a shutdown last longer than 2 months, there will be cuts to Child Support Services Division.
- The Alaska Marine Highway System’s 11 vessels of the will enter layup status and will not provide passenger service. The department also predicts some staff cuts.
Walker said there will be no impact to operations in the Department of Corrections, Alaska Court System and Department of Health and Social Services in the event of a partial government shutdown.
From Alaska Court System:
Though the Court System is not subject to a potential government shutdown, to address budget cuts that were made to the FY 2016 budget, all courts statewide will be closed to normal business on the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas.
From Department of Public Safety:
While the Legislature continues to work on the vetoed sections of the budget and things could change; the Department of Public Safety does not anticipate any of the cuts that were made to the FY 2016 budget that was approved by Governor Walker to be reinstated.
DPS will still close the Talkeetna Post, the Girdwood Post (Dec. 31, 2015) and its Cold Case Unit, regardless of a government shutdown. DPS will also lose 27 trooper positions and ground both of its search-and-rescue choppers in the state.
Not listed are State Legislature, Commissioners and Department of Education & Early Development.
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