MoDot Proposes Closing Macon Office

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MACON - MoDOT's North Central Engineers traveled to multiple offices in the district's 14 counties Thursday. They met with employees to discuss new changes after MoDOT proposed nearly $500 million in budget cuts over the next five years.

MoDOT's plan to consolidate its 10 district offices into seven has caused a stir. If all goes according to plan, MoDOT will close offices in Macon, Joplin and Willow Springs by December 2012.

MoDOT officials said layoffs will be a last course of action. First, they hope to move current employees to other positions and locations within the department.

MoDot Assistant Engineer Kevin James said the current plan dates back to the 1920's.

"There's been a lot of changes during that time. That's kind of let us take a step back to decide what would be the most efficient way to run our operations today," said James.

MoDOT Macon employee Anthony Zuccarini said some in the office will have a tougher time moving than others.

"If you're not tied down in this community then it's not going to be hard to move. For those who have children in school and things like that, it's going to be tougher," Zuccarini said.  

Macon's City Administrator Allan Muncy said closing MoDOT's office will be detrimental to the city's economy. He said a loss of 80 jobs in a city of 5,600 would be harmful to the community as a whole, especially to local retailers.

"It puts a hurt on everything from shopping at local businesses to enrollment in our school district, everything," said Muncy.

MoDOT has had an office in Macon since the 1920's. The city plans to host a forum Monday evening to create a strategy in opposition to MoDOT's proposal.

MoDot Proposal