Troopers to take unpaid time off - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Troopers to take unpaid time off

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  All Georgia State Troopers will be furloughed at least one day a month for a year to meet the Governor's order to cut state agency budgets by 5%.

State Patrol leaders say they hope to maintain as high a profile as possible, but they know the cutbacks will affect their presence on Georgia roads.

The more than 800 Georgia State Patrol Commanders and Troopers found out Thursday that they are being furloughed at least one day a month through next June 30th. During August, the end of busy vacation travel through the state, Troopers will be furloughed two days to meet previous three day furlough requirements.

GSP officials say they had already cut more than 14% of their budget, and now five more percent means cutting into work hours and pay.

"About 82% of our budget is in personal services," said Director of Public Information Gordy Wright. "So at some point the budget cuts begin to get into people, and that's what's taking place here. Furloughs have become inevitable."

GSP Commanders have been told to use good judgement as they schedule these furlough days, to minimize the effect on public safety.

"We are going to maintain as much of a presence on the roadways as possible. But we do realize in some areas when the furloughs take effect there could be a slight notice in reduction there. But we are going to try our best to maintain service, as high as possible," Wright said.

Troopers base pay after training graduation is $35,741, but now all troopers will lose 11 days pay. GSP Officials say Troopers understand unless the economy improves, the next step could be layoffs.

The furlough program will hit all GSP Troopers, including special wreck investigators, and motorcycle units.

Radio communication operators are the only workers not affected because part of their salaries are now being paid by federal stimulus money.

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