State workers bracing for cuts

December 10, 2010 9:29:59 PM PST
Friday was the first of many anxious days for workers in nine state departments.The departments will be merged into just three in what the governor says will be a big cost savings for taxpayers.

It's a drastic move to help with a major deficit.

Workers say they don't know how many will go or when, they just know it's inevitable and they're trying not to dwell on it.

"If we concentrate on what we don't know and what might happen, you know, we're going to become very depressed, we're going to become worried and that's not going to help us," state worker Maxine Evans-Armwood said.

Evans-Armwood, nor any of her co-workers, say they can afford to lose their jobs. And Secretary of Juvenile Justice Linda Hayes isn't kidding about understanding how her employees who love their jobs feel.

"I sympathize with them," she said. "I am doing a job that I love."

It may or may not be comforting to know the one who might be deciding who goes could lose her job too.

When Juvenile Justice merges with Corrections and Crime Control and Public Safety, there will be only one secretary and two will have to go.

"What we have to keep in mind is the mission of the department and the fact that we all still do have a job, and that there are many people in the state of North Carolina that have not been employed as long as we have and so I think that is the morale builder that I must give to all my employees," Hayes said.

She says she knows that no matter what she says, employees will still worry and the process of merging nine state departments into three will be difficult and painful if they are going to save money doing it.

"I do not know their budgets and so I know that in our budget we are extremely lean," Hayes said.

State workers say they know that, but they also know that the recession means finding a replacement job will be extremely difficult.

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