in Houston, Texas
Texas state government payroll shrinks -- a bit
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011, 10:07AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
time card

State government in Texas shed almost 3,700 full-time and 970 part-time employees over a year ending in May 2011 in anticipation of the Legislature’s $15 billion in cuts to the 2012-13 state budget, the Texas Tribune reports.

Agencies trimmed just less than 1.2 percent of the state payroll of 310,941 full-time equivalent positions in state government in fiscal 2010.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice dropped more than 2,000 full-time positions from the state’s biggest agency, according to the Tribune analysis of all agency reports submitted annually to the State Auditor’s office.

The agency lost 1,000 of those jobs because the funding for them wouldn’t be there, Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the department, told the Tribune. The other losses were counted by not filling vacant positions, she said.

Several state agencies reduced their full-time employment counts in this way, according to an earlier Texas Watchdog report. At Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, where just eight people were actually laid off, 372 full-time positions were either vacant or filled by temporary help. Another 100 positions in investigations and information, also dropped, were also vacant.

Of the 172 full-time equivalent positions dropped at the Texas Department of State Health Services, 104 of those positions were already vacant, and 68 others were offered different  jobs in the department at their current salaries.

The Tribune said the Department of Rural Affairs reduced its workforce by the biggest percentage over the one-year period, expected because the Legislature abolished the troubled agency and split its responsibilities between the Department of Agriculture and the General Land Office.

And while its report to the auditor will show those job losses over the past year, many of those employees are now getting General Land Office paychecks.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of time card by flickr user TheGoogly, used via a Creative Commons license.
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