Concern at State-Run Agencies

February 17, 2009 7:33:38 PM PST
The threat of layoff notices is causing more concern at state-run agencies in the Valley. But there are still questions about who may be losing employees. Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger threatened to lay of 20,000 state workers if a budget proposal was not reached by Monday.Those threats became a reality. Lynelle Jolley, with the California Department of Personnel Administration said, "Today, 54 state departments issued what are called layoff warning notices to their least senior employees. These notices tell them that in 120 days, they could be effectively laid off."

The DMV and CHP are among the few departments who are exempt. Instead, the notices were sent to 54 agencies run by the state's general fund. That includes the department of corrections and rehabilitation, fish and game, and mental health.

"Think of it more like the valley fog. Nothing is clear here." Hrair Messerlian works for the SEIU Union, which represents about 10,000 state workers throughout the Valley.

Over the weekend, the union reached a tentative agreement with the state that is supposed to keep those workers safe from layoffs. But, the agreement hasn't been made official. He says, "We have language in our tentative agreement that is protective to the members of SEIU from layoffs. So, we don't know, we don't know for sure."

Cal Trans employees are also working under a cloud of uncertainty. Officials there tell us they won't be receiving layoff notices from the state. But, there are several road projects that could be affected by the budget delay.

Jose Camerena with Cal Trans said, "None of our projects have been halted, but three projects in the central valley are in trouble of being halted." That includes the 180 east extension and Mooney Boulevard in Visalia.

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