Oregon Lawmakers Scale Back Corrections Layoffs

May 23, 2012

Oregon lawmakers have been pressing state agencies to cut back the ranks of middle managers. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to do that. But they scaled back a proposed round of layoffs at prisons because of safety concerns.

The Department of Corrections had submitted a budget-cutting plan to eliminate 81 positions, including more than 50 prison lieutenants. Lawmakers instead told the agency to scrap just 21 jobs by this summer. House Democratic leader Tina Kotek said the original proposal was too much, too soon.

Tina Kotek: "I am concerned about the safety issues within the system by reducing the number of supervisors. It's a challenge of safety for the staff, safety for the inmates."

Most of the positions that were eliminated in other agencies were already vacant. Republican state Senator Fred Girod said, why stop at middle management?

Fred Girod: "I think sometimes you need to cut upper management. You don't want to cut all the worker bees at the bottom."

Legislative budget-writers said scrapping the jobs will have an even greater impact on the next full budget cycle, which starts next year.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network