Office of Juvenile Justice Addresses Mid-Year Budget Deficit
Baton Rouge, LA -- The Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice is taking steps to eliminate a projected $9.8 million shortfall in its current year operating budget, as all state agencies identify ways to save money during this mid-year budget crisis.
OJJ has identified and implemented a number of cost-saving measures and continues to identify additional areas in which to trim costs. Several cost-saving measures were announced in the agency’s proposal to the Streamlining Commission.
Cost-saving measures that have been implemented or pursued include:
* Suspension of merit pay raises as of January 1, 2010
* Fleet reduction of 23 vehicles
* Non-essential travel eliminated until further notice
* Video and telephone conferencing to be utilized for meetings
* Emergency purchases only will be approved
* A hiring freeze is in place (excluding secure facility direct care staff)
* Coordination of services with other child-serving state agencies
* Reduction or elimination of duplicative, underutilized or underperforming contract services
* Reduction in the cost of secure care through energy conservation, and more efficient staffing patterns resulting in a reduction in overtime expenses
* OJJ seeks to capture educational funds by allowing MFP funds to follow youth in secure facilities
The agency has 153 fewer employees today than at this time a year ago. In December 2008 OJJ had 1,340 employees and today has 1,187 employees, located in three secure facilities and 13 offices throughout the state. Elimination of vacant positions and downsizing Jetson Center for Youth resulted in the reduction of the 153 positions.
“OJJ is actively seeking cost-saving measures to reduce operating costs in a variety of ways, through use of existing technology, privatization of certain services and a common sense approach to the use of scarce resources,” said Deputy Secretary Mary L. Livers. “But we must be mindful that such measures do not compromise our core mission to maintain public safety and provide effective services to adjudicated and at-risk youth,” she added.