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Monday, May 23, 2011

Florida's DCF to cut up to 2000 jobs


by Bill Cotterell

Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins told employees Monday the welfare agency will eliminate about 500 jobs in a $48 million cost-saving initiative for the fiscal year starting July 1.

In an email message to staff, Wilkins said the department will emphasize the work of front-line employees who serve needy Floridians. He said consolidating some “back office” administrative functions, improving automation and simplifying some processes will accomplish the required belt-tightening.

“Gov. Rick Scott and our lawmakers have vowed to trim the state budget while maintaining a level of personnel that will allow critical services to remain undisturbed,” Wilkins wrote.

Doug Martin, legislative affairs director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said DCF can’t cut $48 million and 500 administrative posts without affecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens. AFSCME represents state office workers and lobbied unsuccessfully against the budget cuts during the past legislative session.

“One of the big parts of ‘accountability’ is the word ‘count’ that’s in there,” said Martin, citing Scott’s frequent statements that he wants voters to hold him accountable. “If you don’t have anybody minding the store, the state gets ripped off. I’m sure the vendors and outside contractors will love to have fewer administrative employees in DCF.”

The 2011 legislative session eliminated more than 4,500 authorized positions in the fiscal 2011-12 budget. It is not known how many are filled, or will be filled on June 30, but budget planners estimated 1,350 layoffs.

“We think it will be more like 2,000 before they’re through,” said Martin.

The Department of Management Services Annual Workforce Report says DCF had 12,797 employees as of last June 30. About one-fifth of the state workforce is based in Tallahassee.

“As I have said before, we will not balance our budget on the backs of front-line workers who are acting as first responders for children, adults and families in need,” Wilkins wrote in his employee memo. “By consolidating many back office services, improving automation and simplifying many of our processes, we will be able to reduce approximately $48 million from our operating budget which translates into the reduction of nearly 500 positions statewide.”

Wilkins said “this has been a frustrating period of uncertainty” and praised employees for their “professional focus” on serving the poor and other needy people. He said the layoffs do not reflect on the employees.

“We anticipate that some of these employees will be able to stay with the department, performing other duties,” he wrote. “For those who will not be able to remain, we are providing transition assistance.”

DCF’s personnel office has created an Internet site for employees to look for other jobs and the department will work with the Agency for Workforce Innovation’s regional boards and Department of Education to help with placement. Wilkins said affected employees will receive notice this week, outlining insurance options, accrued leave time and other information.

He said the layoffs will be effective June 30.

Read more: DCF to eliminate 500 jobs | | Tallahassee Democrat

1 comment:

  1. DCF? What arrogant assholes...............promote marriage and family and protect children.......lead investigator had affair with ex wife. We have 2 children. Don't want to sound like a winer, because I am over it. Just wanted to put it out there. Her fault, but for a person to take an oath to promote families helps in busting one up. Just saying. What comes around comes around. Hope you can find a job.