MDC Belt Tightening to Include Facility and Services Reductions

By Missouri Dept. of Conservation

First posted on 09-30-2009

Cost cuts include closing 13 field offices and reducing hours at nature centers.

As part of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s recently announced efforts to cut costs by an estimated $7.5 million annually, the MDC will close or end its lease agreements for 13 office facilities throughout the state by July 2011. The Department will also reduce hours of operation at some other facilities over the next year.

The office facilities slated for closure by July 1, 2011 are:

· Liberty Field Office in Clay County

· Brookfield Maintenance Shop in Linn County

· Sullivan Public Contact Office in Franklin County

· Ironton Field Office in Iron County

· Van Buren Field Office in Carter County

· Marble Hill Field Office in Bollinger County

· Fredericktown Field Office in Madison County

· Farmington Field Office in St. Francois County

· Branson Field Office in Taney County

· Little Dixie Conservation Area Field Office in Callaway County

· MDC Field Office in the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in Howard County

· Long Branch Field Office in Macon County

· Hartell Conservation Area Field Office in Clinton County

“The majority of these locations have six or fewer employees, and most of the staff spend the majority of their time out in the field,” explained Department Director John Hoskins. “It just makes sense to have them work from other MDC facilities in the region or even from home. In other locations, it simply will save in the long run to house staff elsewhere.”

In addition to reducing facilities, the Department will reduce hours of operation at six of its seven nature and education centers from as many as seven days per week to five days per week.

“By reducing the number of days of operation, we can achieve considerable savings in utility and staffing costs,” explained Hoskins.

He added that specific changes will be determined over the next year. “We will continue to work with staff to carefully determine how we can best balance our need to reduce expenses with our commitment to provide quality conservation services to the people of Missouri.”

Hoskins explained that the Department’s need to cut costs is both a reaction to the economic downturn and also part of its long-term goal of better balancing staffing costs with other expenses.

“Simply put, less revenue means we need to reduce expenses and staffing levels, which means we must adjust the number of facilities we have and the levels of services we can provide,” explained Hoskins. “We have to live within our means just like our fellow Missourians.”