The layoffs in question affect those employees first notified of layoff status in 2015 due to the closure of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex (WSRC). Ultimately the layoffs were placed on hold during litigation brought by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 ( AFSCME).
“We are now implementing the September 2015 layoff,” the letter from John Terranova, deputy director of CMS Labor Relations, states. The letter indicates the layoffs will take effect Jan. 31.
A total of 54 DNR positions were originally planned for layoff in the August 2015 notice from the governor’s office to AFSCME. Those IDNR layoffs included staff at the Illinois State Museum sites, the Division of Forestry and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex. However, the January 11 letter from John Terranova, Deputy Director of CMS Labor Relations indicates that the Forestry and IL State Museum layoffs have been rescinded for some of those targeted positions. It does not appear that the AFSCME members at the WSRC will be so lucky.
When contacted for clarification or the situation surrounding the employees of the WSRC Ed Cross, Director of Communication for IDNR offered the following statement;
“While these positions at the World Shooting Recreational Complex (WRSC) are being eliminated, employees are transitioning to other positions in the agency. The shooting complex will continue to operate under a new management plan and these changes will ensure it runs more efficiently, saves taxpayer dollars, and remains open as a world class facility to shooters from across the world.”
Currently open at WSRC are the ramps and lakes for fishing; the shooting complex will also continue to book and host specific organized shooting events, and other events such as wedding receptions, home shows, health fairs etc. at the main event center. The campground remains closed, as do the opportunities for the public to use any of the shooting ranges, the archery range, etc.
The WSRC was closed after the 2015 Grand American. That closure caused the American Trapshooting Association to explore other sites and options for the Grand American and AIM championships, but ultimately an agreement between ATA and IDNR allowed the grand to continue at the WSRC in 2016. The 2015 closure did however result in the loss of the Scholastic Clay Target Program’s college competition.
What isn’t clear at this time is how those events will be staffed, and how the routine maintenance of grounds and facilities will be handled after the layoff and elimination of the IDNR positions at the WSRC.
There has been speculation by some close to the shooting complex that work will be performed by non union, short term, contractual employees on an event by event basis, although that particular plan was not confirmed by any IDNR spokesperson.