MoDOT Passes New Plan That Will Cut 1,200 Jobs
JEFFERSON CITY - MoDOT commissioners unanimously passed a new plan, termed as the 'Bolder Five-Year Direction', Wednesday afternoon that will cut a total of 1,200 jobs and more than a hundred facilities in Missouri. You can watch MoDOT's press conference on the decision here.
Commissioners listened to presentations from delegations for about four hours before going behind closed doors and voting on the issue.
MoDOT director Kevin Keith said the agency began cuts a year ago and 400 jobs had already been cut. He said that meant 700 more jobs would still have to be cut. Many of those jobs were cut through attrition rather than layoffs, and Keith said many of the remaining jobs may be cut by the same means.
Keith said the largest number of employee cuts would be in Jefferson City. That number could be around 400 jobs. A Jefferson City MoDOT employee told KOMU 8 there have been a lot of rumors going around and that employees fear for their jobs at this point.
MoDOT estimates cutting 1,200 employees could save about $212 million, while cutting 135 facilities could save an additional estimated $41 million. MoDOT would also get rid of 740 pieces of equipment and more for a combined savings of half a million dollars.
But when the delegations had time Wednesday to address the commission with their concerns, many representatives said they didn't like the plan as is.
Phil Tate, an economic development official in the Kirksville and Macon areas, spoke on behalf of Macon County. Tate said the commission was not transparent when it created the new plan. He said MoDOT didn't ask for input from leaders in the region, and didn't give them enough time to address their concerns before the vote.
Wendell Bailey, a former congressman from Willow Springs in south-central Missouri, agreed with Tate that the commission was not transparent and that rural areas would be disproportionately affected.
"The whole system has been secretive. It's behind closed doors. The commission goes into executive sessions. We never hear what the commissioners are saying to each other," said Bailey.
While most delegations spoke against the plan, there were some delegations supporting it.
Larry Burk from Burk Bridge Co. in St. Louis told the commission he supported the plan. He said, "It's an absolute necessity." Burk said told the room that everyone is making cuts, even school boards. He said it was just a matter of time before it affected this sector.
The commission will vote on the plan late Wednesday afternoon.