DEC Commissioner's Firing Sheds Light on Staffing Concerns

ALBANY, NY (10/22/2010)(readMedia)-- The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) has been sounding the alarm on the latest round of state work force reductions and the negative affect they will have on state services for months. Now, one of the governor's own commissioners has raised a red flag and it appears to have cost him his job.

"Eleven thousand, three hundred eighteen (roughly 100 jobs each week), that's how many state executive branch jobs have been eliminated since the governor declared the state was in a fiscal crisis more than two years ago," said PEF President Kenneth Brynien.

"State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis knows first-hand how work force reductions affect vital services. Yet, when Grannis voiced those concerns to the Paterson administration he found himself out of a job," Brynien said.

"DEC is in turmoil as a result of drastically reduced staff at a time when numerous critically important environmental issues need to be addressed," added Environmental Program Specialist and PEF Executive Board member Wayne Bayer. "Without adequate professional and competent staff there is the potential for serious harm to public health and safety."

"The issues raised in the DEC memo released to the public are not new to the professional staff. We have been telling the Legislature and governor for years our staff shortages are resulting in drive-by inspections and triage management. Any additional cuts will prevent DEC from fulfilling it's mission, and statutory and regulatory responsibilities," Bayer added.

PEF will continue to fight further cuts to services and seek to restore the damaging cuts that have already occurred, including those at, but not limited to, the DEC.

"As a union, we know this is not the New York we want. The new governor, the Legislature and the public must decide if this is the New York they want," Brynien said.

PEF is the state's second-largest state-employee union, representing 58,000 professional, scientific and technical employees, including 1700 at the State Department of Environmental Conservation.