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Citizens wary of DEC layoffs, impact in dispute

Bassett said the plan will require the elimination of another three positions at the agency. These cuts would be on top of the cuts already made during last spring's state budgeting process that forced the closure of the APA-run visitor interpretive centers. She said the APA workforce would be reduced to 56 employees.

Regardless of the exact number of eliminations - especially at DEC-the cuts have local leaders and environmentalists concerned.

Besides her protest over the DEC cuts, Sayward said she doesn't think the elimination of another three APA jobs is appropriate either.

"I hear from people all the time, the difficulty of getting answers and the turn-around time at the Adirondack Park Agency," she said. "I would only guess that with fewer employees, it's only going to get worse."

Adirondack Council executive director Brian Houseal said he was also concerned.

"We have no idea how it's going to impact the Forest Preserve," he said.

Assuming the budget office's figures prove accurate, the total workforce reduction will reduce DEC's statewide ranks to 2,926 employees.

The Civil Service Employees Association has already filed a suit against Paterson because of the layoffs.

Paterson argues he had no choice but to layoff state employees, because the employee unions would not accept concessions in order to achieve the $250 million workforce savings he was seeking. The state remains in a current-year multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

The reduction of another 2,000 employees equates to about 1 percent of the state workforce.

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