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Eye On Olympia

Fish and Wildlife bracing for more than 100 layoffs…

Managers at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have been telling more than 100 workers this week that their jobs may be axed, a victim of the state’s $8 billion budget shortfall.

On the chopping block: biologists, administrative staff, fish hatchery workers, computer technicians, budget people and enforcement officers. The layoffs would begin in April.

“We made every effort to reduce impacts to public service and to our employees, but there’s just no way to absorb a funding cut this large without a lot of pain,” said the agency’s interim director, Phil Anderson, in a statement announcing the plan. He said payroll and other staff costs are about 80 percent of the 1,550-person agency’s budget.

Gov. Chris Gregoire in December proposed cutting $35 million from the agency, which has a two-year budget of about $348 million. About 170 positions are affected by the planned cuts; some are already vacant.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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