While the Jindal administration has said nothing publicly, more major changes may be in the offing with the merger of departments of three major agencies as a means of further reducing the number of state employees, according to confidential state sources.
A public meeting was held two weeks ago among workers in one of the agencies to be affected by the proposed merger of human resources, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
The immediate goal is apparently to lay off about one-third of the staff of the agencies being merged. Initial reports indicate that DEQ and DNR will merge their human resources and information technology sections.
The move is anticipated to save about $3 million, one source told LouisianaVoice.
Other changes as yet unconfirmed have the human resources section of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) being moved under the Division of Administration along with five departments of the Office of Group Benefits (OGB).
Efforts at creating a state Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 failed and much of the enforcement of environmental violations was left to LDWF and DNR. It wasn’t until 1984 that DEQ was officially created during former Gov. Dave Treen’s administration to relieve the other two agencies of their enforcement responsibilities and moved its offices from the DNR building.