By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter
FAIRWAY – The Kansas Department of Transportation, one of the state government’s largest agencies, is proposing to lay off 5 percent of its headquarters work force.
In an email to employees Friday, Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King announced the plan to eliminate about 40 jobs among the 800-member staff working in KDOT’s Topeka headquarters.
No additional layoffs are planned “at this time,” King said.
KDOT employs about 2,700 workers and has a $1.6 billion budget. Precise details about which Topeka jobs will be lost and of the potential cost reductions won’t be known for about two weeks, said Steve Swartz, a KDOT information officer.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, in a Topeka news conference last month and an op-ed piece in Kansas newspapers earlier this week, has suggested further reductions in state employment — such as the consolidation of basic operations — are needed to, in his words, assure “that every state tax dollar is spent efficiently and effectively in the delivery of services and programs to the citizens who need them.”
That sounds ominous for state workers, said Mike Marvin, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, the state’s largest public employees union.
“All that talk we’ve heard since the election (Tuesday’s statewide primary) about smaller government just means fewer government employees,” Marvin said.