Shutdown could lay off 1 in 6 Hennepin County workers

Posted at 4:10 PM on June 27, 2011 by Paul Tosto (0 Comments)
Filed under: Counties

About one in six Hennepin County workers is at risk of being laid off due to the budget stalemate at the Capitol, MPR News reporter Laura Yuen says.

That's roughly 1,400 workers, many concentrated in the county's department of human services and public health, which provides services from food support to restaurant inspections.

Yuen writes:

County board chairman Mike Opat says it's tough telling workers that their lives could be disrupted in the middle of summer.

More than 100 of the employees facing layoffs staff the county's licensing centers that handle drivers licenses, hunting and fishing licenses and passports. The county will likely close most or all of the seven centers, and is busy making signs that say, "Temporarily closed due to the state government shutdown."

It's unlikely that all 1,300 workers would be ultimately laid off, Opat added.

In addition, 89 layoff notices have already gone out to the county's public defender's office, which is funded by the state and county, said county spokeswoman Carolyn Marinan.

Yuen also notes that Hennepin County will vote Tuesday on whether to temporarily close most or all of its licensing service centers if state government shuts down Friday.

"The seven county centers process applications ranging from motor vehicle tabs to hunting and fishing licenses. County officials say if the state databases that process the information go dark, the service center staff won't be able to do their jobs."


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