Many State Services Closed on Friday

February 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Starting Friday morning, the public will see another reality to the California budget crisis when state-run offices don't open today.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's a partial list of the state offices closed today:
- DMV offices
- Disability Insurance and public tax offices operated by the EDD
- Departments of Health Care Services and Public Health
- Division of Workers' Compensation
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Fish and Game
- Veterans Affairs
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Employees here tell me they expect people to line up this morning, even though the DMV will not be open. Normally, Fridays are this office's busiest day. That will soon change.

As much as state workers tried to stop the furloughs, they will go on. Reality has sunk in, and now many are worried because taking two days a month off unpaid essentially amounts to a 10-percent pay cut.

"At the beginning, it's gonna sound good; have a three day weekend, but once you get your check, that's gonna feel it I guess," said Fresno DMV employee Maria Patino.

At the north Fresno DMV location, despite what the sign on the door says, starting today, it will be closed the first and third Friday of the month. Employees here say it will take a while for it to sink in.

"They've advertised it in the paper. I just think people don't realize it's actually happening. So, I'm sure it will be really busy and tomorrow we'll get past it and Monday it will be like our Friday. It will be hugely busy on Monday," said Fresno DMV employee Kelly Perkins.

The DMV is just one of several state offices that will be affected by employee furloughs. In Fresno, the downtown state building will be closed every other Friday. So will the four Fresno area Cal-Trans offices.

"Processing may get backlogged a little bit. But, we're not talking about any other type of onslaught of problems. It's just there will be a hiccup in the ability to service the public when it comes to getting normal Cal-Trans work accomplished," said Eric Alvarez of Cal Trans.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said employee furloughs will save the state about $1.4 billion dollars over the next 16 months. About 90 percent of the state's 238,000 employees are affected.

"We understand this is something that's not been done before. I think the administration understands if there's some bumps in the road," said the Governor's Spokesman Aaron McClear.

Areas not affected by the plan include public safety, schools, state constitutional offices and the state unemployment office.

Some DMV workers plan to show up for work today anyway at the main street location in Visalia and the olive location in Fresno to protest the furlough. They said just by closing today $132,000 registrations will not be processed and 100,000 drivers licenses will not be issued statewide.

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