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These state agencies lost the most workers

State workers protesting layoffs.
Matt Ryan
State workers protesting layoffs.

Former Governor David Paterson warned that New York State was approaching a fiscal crisis in a televised address in July of 2008. From when Paterson took office in March of 2008, to the end of his term, the state laid off thousands of public employees, and encouraged others to take an early retirement.

Of the state's major agencies, these ten took the biggest cuts to their workforce, according to numbers provided by the State Division of the Budget.*

  1. Department of Environmental Conservation 20.7%
  2. Office of General Services 20.4%
  3. Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation  19.5%
  4. Office of Children and Family Services 15.8%
  5. Department of Transportation 15.0%
  6. State Education Department 13.9%
  7. Division of Parole 12.0%
  8. Department of Health 11.2%
  9. Department of Motor Vehicles 10.6%
  10. Office of Mental Health 7.4%

*Final employment numbers from December 31, 2010 are an estimate. Numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.
Only three agencies saw their staff grow. They were all logical choices in bad economic times: the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Taxation and Finance, and the Department of Labor, which grew by 16%.

We'll be following up on the biggest loser, the State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), to find out how staffing cuts have impacted its operation.

Cuts to the agency in December got extra attention following the firing of DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis, after an internal memo he wrote on the cuts' impact on the agency was leaked to the Albany Times-Union.

The agency is at the heart of debate over drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Opponents of drilling have said the agency's not up to handling the volume of inspections and permitting drilling would require in the wake of cuts.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.