Job Cuts: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad warned Iowans there would be layoffs. According to this email from Chuck Palmer, the new director of the Department of Human Services, those layoffs are on the way. Here’s an email sent out to employees.
I am sharing important budget news with key legislators today and I want to give you the same information.
I’ll start with the most sobering news. Our latest projections show that our budget for fiscal year 2012 will support 4,777 positions. That’s 5 percent fewer than the 5,029 funded positions today. Nearly half of the shortfall will be managed by keeping funded positions vacant, including positions that we expect will be vacated in the coming months. The remaining positions will be laid off, for a total reduction of about 230 funded positions. Our current hiring freeze will continue indefinitely, with only the most critical positions being considered for filling.
We are making a couple of assumptions. One is that policymakers will not appropriate funds to cover the costs of negotiated salary increases. For our agency alone, the salary adjustment portion is about $8.9 million. In order to honor our contractual obligations without a funded salary adjustment, we will need to eliminate about 136 positions, or a little more than half of the expected 230 reduction in positions. The remaining reductions are due to provisions of the governor’s budget recommendations, which we assume will pass, and due to budget-cutting legislation approved by the Legislature last spring.
You may have read that there are efforts in the Iowa Legislature to appropriate amounts lower than the governor recommended for our agency. It will be up to me and our other leaders to explain the consequences of even sharper cuts, and you can be assured that we will do so.
It is quite clear that a budget impact of this size will have unavoidable consequences for the work we do. Of course we will continue to look for ways to be more efficient. And of course our priorities will be to protect the most vulnerable Iowans who depend on our care.
The most significant impact will be in our field operations. Of the total 236 positions that we need to reduce, about half – an estimated 135 – will come from field, including income maintenance workers and social workers. Of these, we estimate that about 56 field positions will remain unfilled and, depending on the vacancy level, another 79 will be laid off. Caseloads for IM workers could exceed 800 per worker, compared to just under 700 today. Caseloads for social work case managers will also rise.
There will also be staff reductions in general administration, the child support recovery unit, the juvenile facilities at Toledo and Eldora, and the resource centers at Glenwood and Woodward.
We are assuming that the governor’s proposed supplemental for this fiscal year will also pass, meaning we will be able to keep our commitment to avoid critical cuts at our mental health institutes that would otherwise occur almost immediately under budget-cutting legislation (SF2088) approved last year.
As we evaluate our core mission, we anticipate going forward into FY12 with two changes at the MHIs that will have an impact on number of employees. At Clarinda, the geropsychiatric unit will be reduced to 20 beds from the current 29, and the substance abuse treatment unit at Mount Pleasant will be reduced to 25 beds from the current 45. Our core mission at the MHIs is to provide acute psychiatric help for adults and children. Those capacities will remain approximately the same, with a slight increase at Clarinda.
Our service area managers, superintendents, and other supervisors have been briefed on the projected impact of this budget, and I’m relying on them to give you the specifics. We assume that the budget picture will be complete by April. Assuming our assumptions are verified, we will begin the layoff notification process in May for implementation in July.
As always, I will do the best I can to keep you up to date regarding budget developments.