State agencies begin planning for possible furloughs

Kansas Statehouse (KSN News)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – State agencies and universities across Kansas are preparing for a possible furlough of their employees early Sunday morning if the Kansas legislature fails to come up with a budget by Saturday night.

According to the Kansas Department of Administration, each agency or university is responsible for identifying essential and non-essential employees.  Essential employees are those who are less likely to be furloughed.

 

Click or touch here to read the furlough FAQ page from the Kansas Department of Administration.

What some state agencies plan to do in case a furlough is necessary.

Among the state offices that will remain open are all state driver licensing offices.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families said in a news release, “DCF contractors who provide services such as Child Support Services and foster care will not be affected by a furlough of State employees. The Kansas Protection Reporting Center will remain fully staffed to take reports of abuse/neglect.”

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism plans to continue providing services in the event of statewide furloughs. KDWP says all state parks, wildlife areas and state fishing lakes will be open. Park offices will have reduced staffing. State park rangers and park managers will be on duty. A state employee furlough would not affect federal reservoirs or campgrounds.  Game wardens and boating enforcement offices also will be on duty; licenses, permits, campsite and cabin reservations also will be available online at http://www.ksoutdoors.com.

Troopers of the Kansas Highway Patrol will not be affected by the furloughs.  However, non-critical KHP employees, such as adminstrative, human resources and information technology employees will be furloughed if necessary.

The Kansas Department of Corrections says it cannot share which employees would be furloughed, However, all KDOC say sall locations and parole offices will remain open for business as usual.

The Kansas Workforce Centers of South Central Kansas will continue to operate as usual.  Those include the two centers in the Wichita area, and other centers in Butler, Cowley and Sumner counties.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will continue to maintain emergency services.  Those include the Epidemiology Hotline, the Environmental Spill Reporting Line, and offices that deal with KanCare, child care complaints, newborn screening, and public water supply testing.

KDHE says the Office of Vital Statistics will not be issuing any birth, death, marriage or divorce certificates, but provider reporting is still required.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services says some consumers, licensing applicants and others who receive services from the department may experience temporary delays.

In a news release, KDADS Secretary Kari Buffett said, “Operations at the four state hospitals will not be affected and patients will continue to receive appropriate care. Individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis will be provided assistance, and we will continue to process crisis exception requests for home- and community-based services.

“Employees directly involved in overseeing the health and safety of elderly Kansans and those with disabilities will continue their duties,” Secretary Bruffett said. “Individuals receiving home- and community-based services will continue to receive the assistance they need to live in their communities.”

The Kansas Department of Transportation said in a news release roadside maintenance and operations will work with reduced staff, but that field crews will be available for traffic control if they are needed to shut down roads in emergency situations, such as flooding or traffic crashes. Routine mowing operations will be suspended. Crews will only remove dead animals from the road if they pose a safety hazard.

KDOT traveler information services, including highway closures, road conditions, camera views, weather information and more, will be accessible. KC Scout and WICHway traffic management centers will continue normal operations. The 511 traveler information phone line also will be in operation.

Road construction projects will continue as usual, but KDOT offices will be staffed by a skeleton crew of workers.

Kansas largest state employees union on the statewide furlough.

Kansas’ largest union for state employees says it will file legal actions against the state if it furloughs workers.

Rebecca Proctor of the Kansas Organization of State Employees said Friday that she will file actions on a number of levels if an emergency furlough of nonessential state workers takes effect Sunday.

Proctor says her organization is prepared to file labor grievances as well as legal actions against the state. She says she also would arrange to bus public workers to rallies in Topeka to pressure legislators.

State lawmakers have been deadlocked over taxes and spending proposals to close a budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Without a budget, the state cannot pay state workers beyond Saturday and all nonessential employees will be furloughed.

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