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8,900 state layoffs are imminent

By By PAT BAILEY

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - A spokesperson for the State Budget Department says Governor David Paterson's recent announcement to lay of 8,900 state employees was no threat, and that this Summer those layoffs will happen.

State Budget Spokesman Matt Anderson, says 8,900 state employees' salaries will save roughly $481 million in the budget over the course of two years.

According to Anderson, the goal is to completely eradicate the state's $16.2 billion deficit by April 1.

The layoffs will come from all the state agencies the Governor oversees, Anderson said.

According to Anderson, the Governor does not have the authority to hire and fire all state employees, but only the 70 or so agencies he oversees.

For example, Paterson does not oversee elected offices such as the Attorney Generals or the Comptrollers.

The Parks and Recreation Department is one example of an agency Paterson does, in fact, oversee.

Under the layoff plan, each of the 70 agencies will have to come up with their own plan of which employees will stay and which ones will be cut. Roughly 90% of those agencies are union-based.

However, the Governor is not singling out just unions - Anderson said non - union agencies will also see cuts.

Anderson says there are 141,000 employees in the 70 agencies, and that the 8,900 layoffs are equal to about 6% of that workforce.

Last October, the Governor met with each union-based agency and asked them all to not take their 3% annual raise.

On top of that, each union was asked to have their employees defer one week's worth of pay in order to save money in the budget.

According to Anderson, no state employee was to take a salary cut. Anderson said every union has rejected the offer, and no union has come back with a counter offer.

Anderson says the Governor will listen to future counter-offers if they are made within a timely manor.

NEWSChannel 2 has contacted several state unions, including N.Y.S.C.O.P.B.A., who represents corrections officers, among other workers.

A spokesman for the union says he is unsure how this will affect them, since they have been without a contract and negotiating for two years.

Anderson says the layoffs will take effect this Summer.

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