Fifteen percent of the people who run our state parks system are losing their jobs.
The state has 715 people who manage and maintain state parks and historic sites. But the economy will cost more than 100 of them their jobs.
Natural Resources Department spokesman Travis Ford says Missouri’s parks system is financed with a special one-tenth of a cent sales tax. But income from that sales tax is expected to be five million dollars less in this fiscal year than it was just two years ago.
Ford says it will be at least three weeks before the parks division can announce exactly how many employees will actually leave and which jobs will be left open. Employees have rights to appeal their layoffs, move to a presently vacant position, or kick somebody out who has less seniority. He hopes there won’t be more cuts.
Ford says it’s too soon to tell what services will be affected at what parks. He says some “less critical” services that are reduced or eliminated. He says it’s going to be a challenge for the parks division to fulfill its mission. But Ford says a top-notch parks system is a state priority.