Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida prisons officials want to trim budget through attrition, not layoffs

Plans call for saving money through attrition as corrections officers retire, by not moving inmates to private prisons, and laying off some administrative workers.

Associated Press (2003)

Plans call for saving money through attrition as corrections officers retire, by not moving inmates to private prisons, and laying off some administrative workers.

TALLAHASSEE — Top officials overseeing Florida prisons said Friday they will not lay off correctional officers as part of this year's $3.6 billion budget crunch, dealing a setback to Gov. Rick Scott's plan to overhaul the system by firing hundreds of those workers.

Edwin Buss, new secretary of the Department of Corrections, said that rather than layoffs, the agency will leave positions vacated by officers unfilled.

"Through attrition, as people retire, we won't fill their positions," Buss said in an interview.

The agency employs about 21,000 correctional officers with about 350 jobs turning over each month. By that math, 4,200 correction officers jobs would be eliminated in one year of attrition.

Republican Sen. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees money for criminal and civil justice, said he will release a plan next week that will not move inmates to private prisons, thus eliminating the need to fire correctional workers.

"It is unwise to do that when you already have thousands of beds that are unoccupied at the state-owned facilities," he said. "When it comes to correctional officers, there won't be any layoffs whatsoever."

Scott has proposed eliminating more than 600 correctional officer positions and using the proceeds to pay for a wide array of new programs to teach inmates to become more productive citizens.

Another side has yet to weigh in on the debate: the House.

Fasano's budget plan would include Scott-recommended layoffs for administrative workers and some higher-ranking employees, like deputy and assistant wardens, he said. And some correctional officers could be transferred or reassigned as part of consolidating regions.

Fasano said he will release his plan for committee discussion Tuesday. He expects to cut $300 million to $350 million overall.

He also plans to trim the budget of the First District Court of Appeal by 6 percent as punishment for its "bad behavior" in building the courthouse known as Tallahassee's "Taj Mahal." The cutback would result in five layoffs. The other four district courts of appeal will be spared from cuts, he said.

"We will endeavor to perform our constitutional mission with whatever resources the Legislature is able to provide," First DCA Chief Judge Robert Benton wrote in an e-mail.

Times senior correspondent Lucy Morgan contributed to this report.

Florida prisons officials want to trim budget through attrition, not layoffs 03/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump says 'we can use peace' during meeting with Pope Francis

    Religion

    VATICAN CITY — President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.

    Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. [Associated Press]
  2. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its

  3. Adam Putnam calls for special session on medical marijuana

    Blogs

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam wants state lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee in a special session to finish the work on medical marijuana that they started but didn't finish earlier this month.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is a candidate for governor in 2018.
  4. We Tried That: Working on a food truck for a day

    Cooking

    What we tried: It seems like everyone and their mother wants to open a food truck.

    Carlynn Crosby prepares food at the Empamamas food truck in the Cigar City Brewing parking lot in Tampa this month. For a variety of reasons, food trucking is not for the faint of heart.
  5. Local child welfare non-profits lose funding as Eckerd Kids focuses on keeping children out of foster care

    News

    When it comes to getting children out of foster care, the non-profit group Directions for Living has one of the best records in Florida.

    Eckerd Kids