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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State’s printing department announces 15 more layoffs

Brad Shannon McClatchy-Tribune

Layoff notices have gone out to 15 employees at the former Washington state Department of Printing, the latest round of cutbacks that will shrink the 68-person operation to less than half its 2008 size.

The reductions in force, which take effect Feb. 1, are in addition to the abolishing of two vacant jobs, according to Curt Hart, spokesman for the Department of Enterprise Services. The cuts represent about 25 percent of the workforce at the Tumwater-based printing and imaging operation.

DES took over the state’s printing operation in October 2011 as part of a consolidation of five state agencies into three – including the formation of DES as a successor to General Administration.

“This has been going on before the consolidation (into) Enterprise Services. It all reflects the change in the digital age. There is just less demand for offset printing,” Hart said Friday. “We’re working on whether we can place people in other vacant positions in other areas of the agency or other agencies.”

The printing operation also has been the target of efforts to privatize printing, and the 2011 reform legislation that created DES had language requiring the Office of Financial Management to consider three state functions for possible contracting out to the private sector. Those included hosted Web services, mail delivery outside Thurston County and printing.

“You never want to celebrate someone getting fired. But you should celebrate that the bill is doing what it was intended to do – for the state to save money where it can on noncore functions of government,” said Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, who sponsored the agency merger bill in 2011.

Michael McKinlay, manager of the printing and imaging program, said layoff notices went out Jan. 6 to the 15 employees whose jobs are being eliminated. Of those, nine were represented by labor unions, and one was a supervisor.