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Ark. lawmakers eye restoring some Forestry jobs

Lawmakers are considering whether to restore some of the firefighting positions lost when the Forestry Commission laid off 34 workers this month to make up for a $4 million shortfall.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Lawmakers are considering whether to restore some of the firefighting positions lost when the Forestry Commission laid off 34 workers this month to make up for a $4 million shortfall.

Members of a legislative panel reviewing the commission's finances on Monday asked state Forester John Shannon to come up with a plan for how he would restore some of 14 firefighters in next year's budget. The panel is expected to meet again Thursday afternoon.

The commission initially said the shortfall was caused by a drop in timber sales, but state officials later said the commission was improperly using federal funds to prop up its budget. Gov. Mike Beebe has asked lawmakers for $2.7 million to repay the federal funds and to keep the commission operating through this year.

 

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