A already has offered a buyout and is furloughing employees to cope with budget cuts.
"Money is the remedy and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any more coming,” he said. "We’re taking to heart the Legislature’s recommendation to make changes to the agency. OJA will not look the same in five years as it looks today.”
So far, the agency has absorbed $7.5 million in cuts. Additional cuts are expected next year, Christian said. The agency’s other sources of revenues also have decreased. Parents of children in custody are required to pay child support, and those collections are half as much as they were last year at this time, he said.
While all state agencies are struggling to absorb the budget cuts, agency officials and lawmakers should look at the whole picture, said Scott Barger, deputy director of the Oklahoma Employees Association.
"There’s a great need to modernize state government,” he said. "But we don’t think agencies should be overzealous. They should wait and see what the Legislature does. Reducing the beds at the juvenile level may mean that people aren’t rehabilitated and end in the Department of Corrections, costing us more in the long run.”