Twenty-three jobs have been eliminated at the Texas Youth Commission’s Austin headquarters and 12 other positions will be frozen to save $1.7 million, officials said late this afternoon.
Seven employees are being laid off. The rest of the cuts are in vacant jobs.
Jim Hurley, the agency’s spokesman, would not discuss who was laid off.
“We’re not commenting on any names,” Hurley said, noting that the affected employees were given notice yesterday. “This was middle to top level.”
The layoffs will become effective at the end of November, officials said, and are part of a management reorganization — the fourth in two years at the agency.
In an email to TYC staff announcing the changes, Executive Commissioner Cherie Townsend said:
One of the hardest jobs for any administrator is making tough decisions that affect our friends and colleagues. No one wants to see any of our coworkers displaced; however, we are confronted with the reality that our current funding level simply will not support the number of positions we currently have in the central office.
At a time when our youth population has been reduced by more than 50 percent, we must acknowledge this changing dynamic requires a significant reduction in central office staff to restore proper balance. After an extensive review, I have instructed the Human Resources Department to conduct a Reduction in Force (RIF) and eliminate twenty-three (23) positions from the central office payroll effective November 30, 2008. I have also instructed HR to freeze an additional twelve (12) positions which are tied to the TYC youth population. Unless there is a significant increase in the TYC population, these positions will be eliminated at the end of this fiscal year. This will result in a net reduction in our budgeted central office personnel costs of nearly $1.7 million.
I have done my best to ensure as few people are affected as possible. The good news is that a majority of the positions to be eliminated are empty. However, seven positions are currently filled and those employees will be adversely affected. We will do everything we can to assist those employees in finding new jobs.
UPDATE: Expect more layoffs to come: In the first exceptional item (pdf) in TYC's Legislative Appropriations Request submitted to the Legislative Budget Board in August, TYC proposed to "reduce agency staff by a total of 172 FTEs each year of the biennium, including 120 Juvenile Correctional Officers, 30 Central Office Administrative staff, and 22 Parole Services staff."