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SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s office has good news for more than 100 Department of Justice employees warned earlier this year that their jobs were in jeopardy: Never mind. There will be no job cuts, the office announced Thursday, at least not this year. A late-afternoon e-mail addressed to all department employees stated that “effective immediately, we are terminating the [layoff] process initiated by the DOJ earlier this year.” The message, from Lockyer deputies Steve Coony and Rick Frank, said the jobs were saved as “a direct result of substantial savings projected for the current fiscal year by each of the legal divisions.” The two added that those savings “are in turn attributable to the diligent work of the division chiefs, coupled with the active cooperation of all professional staff.” DOJ administrators had originally told employees in July that a “perfect storm” of revenue and expenditure issues “brewing for more than a decade” could force layoffs of 118 deputy attorneys general and 167 support staff by the end of 2004. The numbers were later cut in half. An August e-mail from Coony and Frank said “permanent dollar savings” realized through “higher-than-anticipated retirements and other voluntary terminations,” had helped the department reduce a shortfall originally estimated at $10 million. Rank-and-file deputies said the layoff notices sent out to new hires with two or fewer years of service were an added blow to already low staff morale. The latest memo to DOJ staff wasn’t all good news. Coony and Frank warned staff that the department is not “out of fiscal danger” and could not afford to “return to business as usual.” Instead, the two deputies said they would meet with employees in the next six weeks to discuss “short-term hardships and sacrifices concerning both workload and staffing levels, at least for the remainder of the current fiscal year.” Members of CASE — the California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment, which represents deputy AGs — have been in contract negotiations with management for the past year.

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