Oklahoma Tourism Department furloughs employees

Saturday, May 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ More state workers are being furloughed to offset deep cuts in the state budget.

The Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation announced Friday that it would force 513 of its 1,160 employees to take unpaid days off, making it the fifth agency to do so.

State agencies were told earlier this month that they would have to cut budgets in May and June by 16.8 percent.

The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission and the Tax Commission also have furloughed employees to make up for lost funding.

``Yesterday, the Legislature passed our agency's appropriations bill for the next fiscal year and addressed our current funding problems,'' Jane Jayroe, Tourism and Recreation Department director, said in a memo sent to all employees late Friday.

``As a result of the state's budget shortfall, we do not have the necessary funding to complete our current year ending June 30, and it will be necessary to furlough employees.''

All employees except those making less than $20,000 a year will be furloughed in June, the memo stated.

Division directors will decide how to implement the furloughs to minimize the impact on services.

Doug Enevoldsen, the agency's deputy executive director, told the Tulsa World's Capitol bureau that some employees will be furloughed a few hours a day.

The agency's deputy director, division directors, assistant directors and park regional managers will be furloughed for two days without pay in June, said Jayroe, who will work without pay for the entire month.

``People at the top took the biggest hit,'' she said.

Even with the furloughs, no parks or resorts will be closed, Jayroe said.

``This is our peak season,'' she noted.