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Employees wait and watch warily for layoffs, furloughs


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POSTED: Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Like a lot of state workers, deputy public defender Jason Burks is keeping an eye on negotiations between the state and public employee unions and whether the talks will result in layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts or a combination of all three.

Yesterday came word from Gov. Linda Lingle that she is proceeding with plans to lay off about 1,100 workers by Nov. 13. Lingle also is ordering three furlough days a month for about 900 nonunion workers starting next month.

As a nonunion worker, Burks expected the furlough order, although as of yesterday he had not received any word on whether he would be furloughed.

“;I know at some point I'm going to be affected,”; Burks said. “;Not knowing makes it difficult to plan or make any long-term plans.

“;It's kind of like waiting on the edge.”;

The layoffs and furloughs cut across all agencies, although some are taking bigger hits than others. Among them, the Department of Human Services is losing 367 employees; the Department of Health, 299; Department of Accounting and General Services, 137; and Department of Agriculture, 122, Lingle said.

The Department of Public Safety is losing 79 jobs, all but three of which are coming from the announced shutdown of the Kulani correctional facility on Hawaii island.

Lingle said the layoffs were not based on seniority, but “;on the directors' analysis on how they would be able to keep various programs running that they identified as being a high-priority or core function.”;