The Pittsburgh office of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is closing as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to recover from its $3.25 billion budget deficit.
Six insurance department employees were notified that the Pittsburgh Regional Office, which houses a number of state agencies, will be sold, according to Melissa Fox, a spokeswoman for the PID.
The office closing is part of a statewide plan to cut costs, including the furloughing of four insurance department employees and 315 other state workers, state officials said.
The functions of the insurance department office in Pittsburgh, mostly consumer-oriented, will be assumed by the office in Harrisburg, Fox told IFAwebnews.com.
“The cost to move our agency along with the others, which see significantly less consumer foot traffic than our consumer offices in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, was not justified,” Fox said in an email.
The Pittsburgh office employees, primarily consumer service investigators and clerk typists, were each offered the opportunity to move to the Harrisburg office. One employee chose to retire, one chose to shift to the Harrisburg office and four others chose not to relocate, meaning they were furloughed, Fox said.
The Pittsburgh office number will ring in Harrisburg for a period of time, then be eliminated, Fox added.
Naomi Wyatt, Pennsylvania’s secretary of administration who announced the cuts Nov. 16, said making the reductions now saves money, allowing the state to preserve 100 other positions that would have been in jeopardy in January.
The insurance department employs 312 people, meaning the furloughing of four people accounts for about 1% of its overall staffing, according to Wyatt’s office.
To trim its budget, the state cut another 450 jobs earlier this year and eliminated another 2,200 vacant posts in its current budget cycle, which ends June 30, Wyatt’s office reported.