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New Mexico plans deep cuts to state’s human resources jobs

October 2, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state of New Mexico plans to cut full-time jobs in human resources across state government by more than 30 percent.

The State Personnel Office said the goal is part of a plan to move human resources bureaus from various departments into one agency, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported last weekend.

State Personnel Office director Justin Najaka recently told lawmakers the goal is to go from 348 full-time staff working in human resources to 240.

Najaka told the Legislative Finance Committee the state would “right size” human resources staffing by leaving vacant positions open, reassigning personnel and cutting jobs.

“We have not laid anybody off,” he said.

Najaka told lawmakers the move will make state government more efficient. Human resources staff with expertise in particular fields can assist with personnel issues across state government, and various departments could speed up what can sometimes be lengthy civil service recruitment processes.

The office finished combining the human resources services of 37 state departments last month, Najaka said.

The initiative drew scrutiny as ran into unanticipated costs, missed deadlines and when dozens of human resources staff were moved into a part of the state archives building that other officials wanted to use for storage of historic records.

Critics have said there is a benefit to keeping human resources staff spread out among different state government departments, particularly for state workers who do not work in the New Mexico’s biggest cities and for employees who want face-to-face relationships with administrators for dealing with issues including family leave or grievances.

“Human resources support and assist workers in a variety of issues. Cutting them back is not a great idea,” said Robin Gould of the Communication Workers of America Local 7076, which represents who state workers in human resources.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com

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