A cost-cutting plan to lay off 117 Texas state troopers has been nixed, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced Thursday, February 16, 2018.
A state commission in December approved a plan to do away with a program — and the people employed through it — that rehired retired troopers who already were drawing a pension.
The program was created in 2002 to help hiring at DPS, which was struggling to fill vacancies at the time. Last year, officials argued that the program no longer was needed.
However, the affected troopers did not want to lose their jobs, said Jack Crier, executive director for the Texas State Troopers Association.
DPS direc tor Steven McCraw announced Thursday in an email to all DPS employees that the so-called retire/rehire program would not be eliminated and that state lawmakers said DPS could “pursue an alternative option to fund these positions.”
Texas lawmakers “have made it clear that it was never their intent for DPS commissioned officers to be terminated to address the budget and position reduction requirements,” McCraw wrote.
McCraw added that any troopers who left DPS in anticipation of the cuts “will be afforded an opportunity to return to the department.”
It was unknown at press time Thursday how many troopers already had left the agency in anticipation of the cuts.
Crier said the troopers to whom he spoke were relieved to hear Thursday’s news.
“A lot of members called in about this,” Crier said. “We had to talk to a number of legislators about this.”
DPS unions had criticized the plan to end the program, saying the layoffs might be discriminatory against older officers, especially after DPS hired 97 new troopers the same week it announced the end of the retire/rehire program.
By Katie Hall – Austin American Statesman, February 15, 2018