Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Minnesota Department of Corrections lays off 48 employees in wake of coronavirus


Renee Jones Schneider - Star Tribune

Minnesota Correction Commissioner Paul Schnell, shown at a March briefing about coronavirus preparations.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections has laid off 48 employees to meet "unforeseen budget shortfalls" related to the corona­virus pandemic, officials said.

In an e-mail to state legislators last week, a senior staffer explained that compounding factors such as contractual salary increases, ballooning overtime for officers and loss of revenue from the agency's industrial MINNCOR program were to blame for a $4.2 million deficit. Balancing the budget would require a reduction in staffing.

"[The] DOC set aside 1.5% of all work unit budgets a year ago to help prepare for the anticipated salary increases," Safia Khan, director of government relations, wrote ahead of the special session. "But COVID-19 was an unexpected shock to the global economy, and the DOC is experiencing the fallout."


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