Scores of state offices, including the eight regional offices of the Washington State Patrol, will be closed Friday for the second of 10 state furlough days. The unpaid furloughs were ordered by the 2010 Legislature to help save $70 million in personnel costs by next June 30.
Lawmakers specified that certain public safety, public health and revenue-generating activities would continue on furlough days. That’s why state troopers will continue to patrol highways, 9-1-1 dispatchers will answer emergency calls and detectives will work cases Friday, though state patrol administrative offices will be closed.
Similarly, state liquor stores, which generate money for state coffers, will be open, although offices of the state Liquor Control Board will be shuttered.
And although state employment offices will be closed, local WorkSource offices and the unemployment claims call center will remain open.
Driver license offices will be closed Friday, however, and the ripple effects of those closures are likely to be felt early next week.
“We want customers to be prepared for higher-than-normal wait times if they visit an office immediately following a closure,” said Liz Luce, director of the Washington Department of Licensing. “I encourage customers to check the DOL website to see if they can renew or replace a driver license or ID card, obtain a copy of their driving record, and renew their vehicle tabs from the comfort of their homes.”
All Department of Health offices will be closed to the public, but services provided by child protection workers, community corrections officers, and emergency public health and patient safety workers will not be affected by the furlough day.
Under the law, the governor’s office is required to close on furlough days. However, other statewide elected officials were given the choice of submitting plans for reducing payroll costs in lieu of closing for the day. The secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, state auditor, attorney general and commissioner of public lands have submitted such plans and their offices will remain open.
State colleges and universities were required to submit plans for reducing payroll costs in order to avoid office closures.
Further furlough days are scheduled for Sept. 7, Oct. 11 and Dec. 27, and, in 2011, on Jan. 28, Feb. 22, March 11, April 22 and June 10.
A full list of agencies covered under the furlough law is available at http://ofm.wa.gov/layoff/agency—list.pdf.