VDOT announces first wave of layoffs

The Virginia Department of Transportation today began giving first notices of a pending layoff to approximately 600 employees as part of a plan to reduce staffing to 7,500 full-time employees by July 2010. Learn more about the reduction from a Monday-morning teleconference in which Commissioner Dave Ekern explains the rationale behind the job cuts and a VDOT press release.


Teleconference with VDOT Commissioner Dave Ekern


Press release: VDOT details job cuts

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) began today giving approximately 600 employees a first notice of layoff as it works to meet a required reduction of staffing to 7,500 full-time employees by July 1, 2010. These layoffs are an element of the plan announced last year to reduce the agency by 1,000 full-time employees and 450 part-time staff as VDOT addresses a $2.6 billion revenue shortfall.

Beginning Monday, July 27 and extending through Friday, July 31, VDOT will provide initial notice of layoff to employees throughout the department.

“It is very difficult to make these types of decisions that impact our employees, and we do not take them lightly,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT commissioner. “However, we have no choice but to alter our staffing based upon major revenue reductions and long-term changes to the transportation industry.”

This second of three waves of employee reductions will affect work units across the agency but is concentrated in the functional areas of preliminary engineering and construction. Other large employee groups affected will include VDOT’s equipment shops as the agency closes more than half of these facilities due to less equipment needed and improvements in maintenance practices. Additionally, Dulles Toll Road employees will be affected as the agency prepares to transfer the facility to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Oct. 1.

The agency’s first wave of staffing reductions in June reduced 450 part-time positions. The third and final wave of employee reductions needed to reach the agency’s staffing target is planned for this winter.

These initial layoff notifications do not necessarily mean the end of an employee’s career with VDOT. While many employees will receive layoff notices, the agency will use vacancies as placement opportunities for affected employees. The Department of Human Resource Management has also provided VDOT with greater flexibility in applying substitution as a placement option. This will allow those who wish to leave the agency or retire to exchange places with affected employees in similar positions who are designated for layoff.

VDOT estimates that approximately 600 employees will receive initial layoff notifications, but fewer than 300 people will be separated on the designated layoff dates of Sept. 9, or Oct. 24 because a placement for them could not be found. The agency currently employs 8,200 employees.

“Our employees are a critical resource to the commonwealth,” Ekern said. “We have been holding open vacancies since our staffing reduction targets were set several months ago to serve as placement opportunities for affected employees and to use attrition and retirements to reduce the number of employees impacted. While many individuals will receive notice of layoff next week, opportunities available through placements within the agency and elsewhere in state government will significantly reduce the number of employees who will involuntarily leave VDOT.”

VDOT recommended in February a series of reductions to address a $2.6 billion revenue shortfall. These include reductions over the next six years of $2 billion to the construction program, $391 million to administrative and support programs including staffing reductions, and $348 million in reductions to the maintenance and operations program such as reductions to ferry services, interstate maintenance, grass cutting and rest areas.

The department collected feedback on this plan during 11 public meetings in March. It then proposed final recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in May after considering public input and completing additional analysis. The CTB adopted VDOT’s budget in June, finalizing these reductions.

Many of the reduction targets were incorporated into the Appropriation Act passed by the General Assembly, requiring that VDOT meet these targets by certain dates.

For more information about VDOT’s blueprint staffing impacts, visit http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/resources/2009/cm_1_VDOT_Organization_and_Staffing_071609.pdf.

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