State job reductions spike

Four-month layoff tally higher than any year under Jindal

Nearly 1,000 rank-and-file state employees have lost their jobs since July, bringing the total to nearly 3,200 since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2008, according to a Civil Service report.

The State Civil Service on Tuesday reported 967 state employee layoffs for the first four months of the state fiscal year. The number exceeds the 957 employees losing their jobs in all of fiscal year 2010-11, according to the report.

The Civil Service totals do not include the announced reduction of 1,500 state employees planned for Jan. 21 throughout the LSU public hospital system.

The reductions have occurred as Jindal moved many traditional government functions to the private sector, particularly in the health care arena.

Budget cuts have led to additional reductions in the state workforce.

The report only reflects state employees who are in the classified service.

They are rank-and-file workers who have Civil Service job protection from political interference.

Civil Service does not track layoffs involving unclassified employees, who are subject to hiring and firing at will.

As of Nov. 2, there were 49,448 classified Civil Service employees and 33,948 unclassified employees for a total of 83,396, according to the state government personnel agency.

The numbers reflect full- and part-time employees combined.

The number of unclassified employees — including political appointees — has grown to make up nearly 40 percent of the state’s workforce.

The report is submitted monthly to Louisiana legislators.

It reflects the number of positions targeted for layoff compared with the actual number of people losing their Civil Service jobs.

From fiscal year 2008-2009 through Oct. 31, 5,743 jobs were targeted in agency layoff plans. However, 3,167 employees actually lost their jobs.

A note on the report said the difference in the numbers “can be attributed to targeting vacant positions for abolishment or employees separating from targeted positions prior to the effective date of the layoff.”

Most of the 967 employees losing jobs since the fiscal year began in July worked at Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities facilities.

The layoffs occurred as the state turned the North Lake Supports and Services Center in Hammond and the Northwest Supports and Services Center in Bossier City over to private sector operation.

At North Lake, 463 employees lost jobs and at Northwest, 226.

Civil Service allowed the state health agency to provide a $500 incentive payment to employees who agreed to stay and meet certain attendance standards leading up to the scheduled Oct. 1 takeover.

The next-highest number of layoffs occurred at Forcht-Wade Correctional Center at Keithville, where 60 regular employees lost jobs as well as 16 with probational status upon the facility’s closure.