Layoff notices for more than 100 Connecticut Judicial Branch employees were handed out on Thursday, the job reductions are due to issues with the state budget.
On Tuesday, 126 Judicial Branch employees were laid off, which brings the total number of state employee layoffs to 500.
"Obviously, we are trying to strike the right balance and working very hard to do it," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.
Malloy released his revised midterm budget adjustments for the fiscal year 2017 on Tuesday. His new adjustments were to close the $922 million budget deficit without raising taxes.
To reduce the budget, the governor said he is proposing cuts to the state workforce by 2,500. Malloy said the 2,500 number is not strictly layoffs with the rest will be made up of retirements and an unfilled positions.
The layoffs for the Connecticut Judicial Branch go into effect on June 24 before the start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The layoffs were based on seniority.
“As we are all painfully aware, the State budget crisis is very real and very severe. Although a state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016, has not yet been finalized, we have no reason to expect the approval of a final budget under which layoffs will not be necessary. The budget cuts we face are simply too large,” Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers and Judge Patrick L. Carroll III said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Rogers and Carroll said these “staff reductions and the expected budget cuts” will also “change how and where the Judicial Branch conducts its business.”
“We are currently developing plans to close courthouses and offices, and to consolidate the staff and operations into other locations. To leverage our reduced workforce, we will be realigning and transferring the court business being conducted in some court locations to other court locations. We are also looking at reducing and eliminating programs that provide vital rehabilitative and treatment services to juvenile and adult offenders. We have no choice given the magnitude of the proposed budget cuts to the Branch,” Rogers and Carroll said.
Many of the positions will be cut from juvenile detention programs. However, crime in Connecticut is at the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Case loads are down due in part because the de-criminalizing small amounts of marijuana.
The judicial layoffs come on the heels of hundreds of layoffs at four state agencies.
On Monday, there were layoffs from two Connecticut agencies. In total, there were 165 layoffs from Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Department of Children and Families on Monday.
There were 59 DMHAS workers that received pink slips, which is expected to save $15 million. However, it was a much bigger cut at DCF. There were 106 DCF workers that received pink slips, which is expected to save more than $12 million. The layoffs included union and non-union workers.
Most of the layoffs are at the juvenile training school, according to Ben Barnes, who is the Secretary of the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.
Last week, the Department of Correction commissioner Scott Semple sent a memo to workers that stated as many as 147 workers could lose their jobs due to the budget issues. That number is lower than projected.
The governor and legislative leaders have been struggling to balance a budget and close a projected $900 million deficit. State worker wages, salaries and pensions make up 40 percent of the state budget.
The Democrats budget falls short of what's needed to fix the state's $922 million dollar deficit and Republicans have yet to come forward with a full budget.
State unions are fighting back with ads urging lawmakers to save jobs and programs.
"We have taken great pains to keep this well balanced as possible and to maintain the systems in place that we have to help people to the greatest extent we can," Malloy said.
The governor said he's still willing to negotiate and look at alternatives and he's encouraging leaders from both parties to put their ideas on the table. A meeting with the governor and legislative leaders is expected this coming Tuesday.
To read the full budget proposal, click here.
For the fact sheet on Executive Branch workforce reductions, click here.
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