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State agencies grapple with personnel moves to meet budget

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State department heads have taken different approaches to achieve the $2 billion in budget cuts mandated by Gov. Rod Blagojevich for this fiscal year.

The Department of Children and Family Services cut 179 positions and planned to transfer 127 workers to vacant spots in more-urgent areas.

The Department of Human Services cut 73 jobs, drawing protest from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which said the plan will hurt children and poor families.

The Department of Natural Resources announced it would lay off 39 workers, which meant closing 13 state historical sites and 11 state parks. Attorney General Lisa Madigan laid off 19 staffers, while Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias cut six jobs in his office and planned furloughs for others.

Secretary of State Jesse White took a spread-the-pain approach, trying to meet his $18.5 million in mandated personnel cuts by ordering everyone on staff to take two unpaid days off in 2008 and two in 2009. A spokesman said White hoped to keep layoffs to a minimum. Comptroller Dan Hynes ordered nonunion employees making at least $60,000 to take five unpaid furlough days before next June 30, and planned to offer some buyouts.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Kelley Quinn told the Associated Press that the cuts were difficult but necessary, adding that officials were working to minimize the repercussions.

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