Archive for Monday, January 9, 2012

USDA to close Food Safety Inspection Service office in Lawrence

January 9, 2012

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to close its Food Safety Inspection Service office in Lawrence, part of a larger plan to save the department $150 million annually.

The announcement came Monday evening from Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary, as he outlined a “Blueprint for Stronger Service” that calls for operational cuts and the closing of 259 offices, labs and other operations spanning 46 states, a U.S. territory and the nation’s capital.

The Food Safety division is closing five of its 15 district offices, including the Lawrence office at 4920 Bob Billings Parkway. The closings are to occur in phases to be completed by Sept. 30, 2013.

The division describes itself as responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

USDA said that both improved technology and work-share agreements had reduced the need for having 15 district offices.

“The USDA, like families and businesses across the country, cannot continue to operate like we did 50 years ago,” Vilsack said, in a statement announcing cuts and closures throughout the department. “We must innovate, modernize and be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

Comments

frankfussman 3 years, 2 months ago

How many staff there? How many layoffs?

Lawrence Morgan 3 years, 2 months ago

Frankfussman asks a good question: how many staff? How many layoffs? This should be one of the first questions a journalist should ask - but it is nowhere in the article.

mfagan 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, those are excellent questions. Unfortunately, I couldn't ask them of folks in the office, or at USDA in Washington, because the information came out after business hours. I also don't know yet whether there will be layoffs, or whether folks who work there will be offered transfers to other USDA offices or, potentially, other federal posts. Such information wasn't included in the information released Monday. The stuff I saw noted that the overall plan, when fully implemented, would save $150 million annually -- "and eventually more based on future realignment of the workforce." We'll have to see what that means. I'm also not sure where the services for Kansas and Missouri will be transferred. Some district offices slated to remain open include those in Des Moines, Iowa; Springdale, Ark.; Dallas; Denver; and Chicago. Sorry I don't have all the answers. I wish I knew more. I also hope all the affected employees, and the people and businesses they serve, make it through all this OK. I'll see what I can find out Tuesday. - Mark Fagan, Schools reporter

mfagan 3 years, 2 months ago

Eight people work in the Lawrence office, a USDA spokesman says, and all eight will be offered the opportunity to transfer within USDA. - Mark Fagan, Schools reporter

newmedia 3 years, 2 months ago

What?. Guess folks will have to use a little common sense when washing, cooking, and preparing their food stuffs. Now where did I leave my alfalfa sprouts and goats milk?

Bob Burton 3 years, 2 months ago

This is a tremendous saving for the USDA -- equals .02% of there budget!! But I guess we can say it is a start.. Keep warm & have a wonderful day..

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 2 months ago

The taxbase could support the USDA facility if there weren't so many people on welfare and other entitlement programs.

gccs14r 3 years, 2 months ago

$150 million is probably what we spent per day just on bullets in Iraq for a decade. This country has some messed up priorities.

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