8 Fergus Department of Health office staff receive furlough lettersPublished 11:00am Thursday, October 10, 2013
ST. PAUL — Eight workers in the Fergus Falls Minnesota Department of Health office were sent furlough letters and may be laid off for the duration of the federal government shutdown. The workers are part of an inspection team, according to a Department of Health official.
State officials have notified 96 other health department workers that they might be laid off because of the shutdown.
The employees are in positions that are partially paid for by federal funds.
The state isn’t furloughing them just yet but it has to give three weeks’ advance warning.
The employees in danger of being furloughed are ones doing preventative work and tours of health facilities, according to communications director Mike Schommer.
He is hopeful the shutdown is solved soon and no furloughs are necessary, but he said the department will still conduct its highest priority business.
“If the layoffs do become necessary, we’d still be able to conduct investigations if someone made a complaint,” Schommer said.
A memo went out to the employees on Monday. It advises them that they could be laid off if the federal stalemate isn’t resolved before the state runs out of money for those programs. They are told they would be brought back when the impasse ends.
Last week, state budget officials said there were more than 3,000 similarly situated employees whose jobs could be in danger in a protracted shutdown.