Budget Problems Cost State Workers Their Jobs

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DES MOINES, Iowa–Channel 13 has confirmed that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has eliminated eight jobs after continued problems with the state budget.

DNR sent out an email to staff Wednesday outlining the reductions.

“Due to a $1.2 million dollar reduction in our general fund budget, plus increased salary costs, the following changes to our staff and table of organization will be implemented:
 Forestry – The Bureau Chief position is eliminated and the Forestry Bureau will be dissolved. All other Forestry Bureau positions will be preserved and will be reorganized under the Parks Bureau, Wildlife Bureau or as a section within the CRD. 
Environmental Services Division – The AFO Coordinator position is eliminated. AFO Coordinator duties will be absorbed by the Field Services Bureau. The State Geologist position within the DNR is eliminated. The State Geologist duties will be transferred to the University of Iowa under a contract with the DNR.
DNR Magazine – The Art Director position is eliminated. Duties will be absorbed by other Communications Team staff.
Environmental Health and Safety – The Safety Officer position is eliminated. Environmental Health and Safety duties will be transferred to each individual section supervisor throughout the Department.
AmeriCorps – DNR participation in the AmeriCorps program has concluded. The Program Manager position is eliminated. The Program Assistant position is reassigned to the Parks Bureau.
Trails – The Trail Crew program has been eliminated.
The existing hiring freeze will remain in effect until further notice.
 Please know that these changes are being made strictly due to budget conditions. Thank you for your continued hard work as we move forward with these changes and serve the great people of Iowa.​”
Despite the fact that the agency is eliminating personnel, DNR spokesman Alex Murphy said in a statement, “I would also like to make it very clear that the organizational changes made will have no impact on the services that we provide to the public or other agencies. We will provide the same great services Iowans have come to expect from the DNR over the years.”
 The state of Iowa is dealing with a projected budget shortfall of around $350 million. State leaders have already made several rounds of emergency budget cuts as projections haven’t met expectations. The Branstad and Reynolds administrations have blamed the struggling farm economy, while Democrats contend tax cuts have taken away too much money from available resources for state programs.
It is likely Governor Reynolds will have to call lawmakers into special session to shift money from reserves to make up for the shortfall for the fiscal year, which ended June 30th.
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