TOPEKA — Dozens of seasonal employees at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism were laid off the week before Christmas, the department said Monday.
Department spokesman Ron Kaufman said 75 seasonal KDWPT employees were told last week that their last day of work for the department was Friday. He said they would receive their final paycheck in early January. Seasonal employees work fewer than 1,000 hours a year.
The cuts include five employees in the department's information services division, three in law enforcement, 14 in education and 53 in fish and wildlife, he said.
"This was just something we didn't want to have to do, but we had to," Kaufman said.
He said the layoffs were needed to address budget cuts that pushed three of the four departments over their salary caps. He said law enforcement was $187,000 over, information services was $35,000 over and education was $120,000 over its cap. The department's fish and wildlife division came in under its salary cap, Kaufman said. But he said many of its employees are college students who work only in the summer.
"It's kind of the perfect storm between the salary cap and the timing here. We're basically halfway through the year and we have to be able to project ahead to the remainder of the fiscal year which ends June 30," Kaufman said.
KDWPT Secretary Robin Jennison is moving to eliminate 157 seasonal positions to accommodate the agency's constricted budget. Of those positions, 75 were filled. Jennison also has said he plans to urge the 2014 Legislature to reverse reductions in the agency's seasonal workforce, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Kaufman said the department could also hire back some of the employees "within our budgetary requirements." But he did not know how many or when they would be rehired.
The Associated Press