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Update on Surplus Notices
March 1, 2012
As you know, in December 2011, the Department released a report that identified a need to focus efforts on treatment of patients in State Hospitals, enhancing safety and security for staff and patients, and increasing fiscal transparency and responsibility. That effort identified a number of program concerns, including the fact that without changing course, the new Department of State Hospitals would exceed its budget authority by $180 million next year. To rectify that gap, the Department identified a number of program and staffing changes. This includes adjusting treatment team staffing ratios, as well as a number of other changes, about which we notified the Legislature, media, unions, and the public by posting the full report on the Department's website. The reductions bring us down to our actual budgeted authority. Unfortunately, it also meant the Department needed to reduce approximately 250 positions that are currently filled by employees.
In order to effectuate full budget year savings of these positions, the Department needed to submit a layoff plan to the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA). Employees who currently occupy those positions must be notified and placed on State Restriction of Appointment (SROA)/Surplus status for a minimum of 120 days. In order to allow time for that minimum notice period to occur, those employees must be placed on SROA/Surplus by March 1 for a June 30, 2012 effective date. SROA/Surplus status provides preferential hiring to State employees facing layoff.
The Department submitted a layoff plan to DPA on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 for their review and approval. It is anticipated that DPA will provide approval fairly quickly. In the meantime, the Department sent out SROA/Surplus Letters on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 to the least senior employees identified in each impacted classification. Because of the manner in which layoffs occur, it is necessary to also send SROA/Surplus notifications to three times the number of employees potentially targeted for layoff, such as those who may have lower seniority and thus be impacted by targeted employee's demotional paths. The SROA/Surplus notices they receive will not differentiate in which category the employee falls, because that information will not be known for certain until final seniority scores are completed.
It is important to be aware that the Department's submission of a layoff plan does not mean there will be a layoff. It means we are meeting the notice requirement to allow the Department to have one. Further, SROA/Surplus notices are not layoff notices. If a layoff becomes necessary, a separate notice would be given only to those employees specifically impacted, 30 days prior to actual layoff.
Please be aware that it is our hope that layoffs will not be necessary. We value each of you, for your service and commitment to the public, and to the vulnerable segment of the population we treat in our facilities.