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Today is last workday for 84


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POSTED: Friday, November 13, 2009

Eighty-four nonunion government employees lose their jobs today, the first of about 650 state workers expected to leave their jobs by the end of the year to help reduce the budget deficit.

The next round of layoffs with 384 employees is scheduled for next Friday, said Marie C. Laderta, director of the Department of Human Resources. “;I'm very disappointed that any of these people have to leave our service.

“;We're very sorry to have to lose a lot of these good people.”;

Laderta, who spoke at a news conference yesterday afternoon, said the state expects 181 people to leave their jobs for reasons other than layoffs by December. About 56 to 60 employees will retire.

;[Preview]  Layoffs
 

State Workers Layoffs To Begin

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The Lingle administration hopes the state will not have to lay off any more employees, but more state job losses are an option, she said.

“;The budget gap gets wider by the day,”; she said.

Laderta said she did not know the exact savings from the layoffs because her department needs to calculate various factors, including the cost of vacation time and unemployment insurance.

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The second round of layoffs next Friday covers non-civil service and civil service employees, she said. The discharges are across the board and range from professional to clerical employees, she said.

Most are occurring in the departments of Human Services with 190; Health, 96; Labor, 20; and 14 each in Land and Natural Resources and Public Safety, Laderta said.

The reduction is considerably less than what Lingle previous announced in August, when the administration planned to lay off 1,100 employees as it faced a budget shortfall of $786 million.

Laderta said fewer people are being laid off because of the voluntary departure of other employees from state service.

In the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, major cuts are being made in the office of language access offering interpreter services and the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health office, department spokesman Ryan Markham said.

Markham said services of both offices will be curtailed, and the emphasis for now will be compliance with state and federal laws.

He said the offices might provide services once the economy rebounds.

“;But to get through this, we're going to have to retract,”; Markham said. “;We're going to provide core functions and do the best we can.”;

In October the Hawaii Government Employees Association agreed to a two-year contract including 18 furloughs days for the remainder of fiscal 2010 through June 30, and 24 furlough days for the fiscal year from July 1 to June 30, 2011.

The state is still negotiating with United Public Workers, which represents blue-collar state employees. Calls to both unions were not returned yesterday.