What may the future hold for OSP?
With the May revenue forecast set to be down by $3 billion and with the Governor’s budget exercise to cut $27 million within one year, the Oregon State Police may look a lot different if these cuts are realized. The Oregon State Police’s budget is dependent largely on the State’s General Fund.
The Oregon State Police Superintendent, Travis Hampton, shared the below information with his employees Monday , May 11, 2020.
I want to communicate the plan we submitted to the Governor (DAS), detailing how we would sustain a $27 million general fund cut within one year. Please keep in mind, this is a budget exercise to gather information and there is nothing below that has been set in motion. I will detail the proposed reductions within general batches in the organizational chart- although funding allotments do not place positions neatly in one category. Your Bureau leadership has the option of breaking this information down in subsequent messages and they are all welcoming/ expecting questions.
Agency Position Reductions
Field Operations and Police Services Bureaus
Reduction of 102 positions in Patrol, F&W, Criminal and Professional Staff
Suspends Operations in 9 patrol offices and removes the Patrol Division funded positions in McMinnville, Prineville, St. Helens, Albany, Hermiston, Grants Pass, Government Camp, La Pine and Tillamook.
Six total F&W positions removed from Albany, Tillamook, McMinnville, and La Pine
Relocates all outside division personnel with associated locations to nearby offices
Removes all positions within the Dignitary Protection Unit
Removes all positions within the sworn firearm investigative unit (FICS Troopers)
Public Safety Services Bureau and Superintendent’s Office
Reduction of 39 positions in HQ support, IT, CJIS, Central Records, Human Resources, Office of Professional Standards and Dispatch
Oregon State Fire Marshal Bureau
Partial funding impact of 1 position
This bureau is almost entirely funded by a dedicated funding source, so the general fund reduction exercise has very little impact.
Forensic Science and Pathology Bureau
Reduction of 39 positions in our Forensic Laboratories and Pathology operations
This exercise suspends our pathology operations in Central Point and Springfield
This exercise does not call for suspending operations of any forensic laboratories, but severely impacts all forensic disciplines
Gaming and Employee Services
Reduction in 18 positions in Fleet, Oregon State Athletic Commission, Procurement and Training
This Bureau’s sworn operations are primarily funded by Lottery and Tribal Gaming dedicated funding sources, so the general fund reduction exercise does not directly impact many of the assigned personnel- but I would anticipate similar reduction exercises for these funding silos.
These reductions, while dramatic, is a budget exercise. Now we do the hardest part, we wait for something beyond our control- the May 20th revenue forecast that will give us an idea what type of scenarios we are truly looking at.
If the revenue forecast is really bad, do we take these reductions immediately?
The revenue forecast is just the start. The Governor can direct full allotment reductions or direct partial allotment reductions. The Governor and Legislators can use some of Oregon’s “rainy day” funds to patch the funding gaps or utilize a combination of reductions and fund restoration.
What about Federal stimulus, I hear Oregon received a large sum?
Oregon received about $1.6 billion that can be used for Coronavirus relief. We can’t use these funds to backfill funding for government- only for expenses incurred. We are capturing this information to bill hours and equipment where we can, also applying for as many grant opportunities as we are able. There is the possibility of the funding rules changing and a subsequent federal spending bill, but right now these funds don’t offer much relief for our shortfall.
Why did you pick my office for suspended operations and not another?
These reductions were agonizing for agency leadership and while necessary, one of the most heartbreaking aspects of my leadership experience. These are not position numbers, but members of my OSP Family. I had to reach a reduction total of $27 million dollars and that means people- there are 199 men and woman represented on this reduction list. While I will do everything in my power to restore every job in this exercise, I had to submit a plan that provided a framework for rebuilding the agency if we were to take the reductions.
All the stations on this list are located where I could reassign tenured members to neighboring offices- without making them move, pull children from their schools or having a spouse quit work to relocate. Remember, if I close Office “A,” there will be a mixture of tenured and less tenured staff. This office reduction will require layoffs in Office “A,” “B” and “C.” Tenured members of the suspended offices would land at the neighboring patrol office.
Will there be layoffs, don’t hold back on us?
Team, there is no crystal ball for this job, but times like these deserve straight talk. I don’t know how Oregon government could sustain these type of reductions and not experience layoffs at some agencies. I expect the end-result will look like a blend of reductions, utilization of reserves and potential for federal relief. If our agency will be spared to a degree, or face more drastic reductions, we likely won’t know for many weeks. Our reduction plans reflect a July 1st date of action, from a budget perspective.
How can my unit expect to function with these reductions?
I am not a fan of the “thin the soup” model of reductions, which is exactly what an allotment cut is- take the reduction and expect the same service. If allowed, I will advocate for suspension of some OSP services to maintain an adequate service level in other workgroups. This is last resort and takes legislative approval, but I want to be transparent on this, I would look to build this agency around our core mission- the protection of people, property and natural resources.
So this means 199 people may face layoffs? Am I one of them?
I’ll say it again, this is a planning exercise- a hypothetical, and this is not a layoff notice. In reality, reducing 199 positions at the offices would result in far more positions facing layoff. Back to my Office “A” example, that office has tenured employees that would bump less tenured employees. A senior trooper, for example, is budgeted at the equivalent of 1.3 recruits. So if I displaced 3 senior troopers, 4 recruits would face layoff to retain these more expensive employees and hit my budget cut target. These lists contain executive managers, lead workers and other higher earners that make this ratio to junior tenured employees even larger. The scenarios are endless, complex and almost unimaginable to fathom- so I hope you understand individual questions will be very hard to process at this point. Leadership is in constant contact with our labor unions and this process is well defined. If layoffs were inevitable, the communications would be individual specific and in cooperation with our labor leaders.
What should I do?
Focus on today’s problems, try not to borrow from tomorrow’s. Take care of your health and maintain the safety aspects of the job. Leave the worrying to me and know I have your best interests at heart.
Hang in there and look out for each other.