LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
FRANKFORT — Budget cuts are forcing the elimination of 20 uniformed positions in the Kentucky State Police held by contractual employees known as Trooper Rs.
KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer informed the officers and commanders Friday around noon, calling it “a very painful day.” The cuts will directly impact eight of the 16 KSP Posts.
In addition to the uniformed officers, other contractual temporary employees, mostly in records departments including some who work on applications for concealed carry weapon licenses, will see their hours reduced or terminated.
Brewer said the agency hopes to save at least $200,000 in those records departments.
He said KSP is facing a budget shortfall in Fiscal Year 2014 of about $5.8 million because of a combination of rising costs.
The required contribution to the employee retirement plan has doubled over the past five years while federal funding to the agency has dropped from about $31 million a year to $14.8 million.
KSP has reduced its fuel consumption by 11.5 percent and reduced its mileage by 3.5 million miles during the state budget crunch, Brewer said, but escalating fuel costs nonetheless cost KSP $900,000 more last year than the year before.
Brewer said the state budget office “has worked with us every way they can, and I don’t envy them their jobs, but as you know 90 percent of our budget is personnel and fuel. There were only so many options.”
But for Brewer, the option of terminating the contracts with the Trooper Rs, veteran state police officers who came back on one-year contracts, is especially painful. The program was his idea and it saves the agency training costs of new officers while providing veteran officers for duty.
The impact of the cutbacks will be temporary for the 904-officer uniformed force, Brewer said, because a 62-cadet class of new officers is scheduled to graduate in November. The Trooper R contracts include a 30-day notification clause but the officers will also be given compensatory time they’ve earned during those 30 days.