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Forest Service employees are set to receive a pay raise, with the agency expecting to hire nearly 400 new employees and trim about 1,000 jobs in its customer service branch, a source with knowledge of the plans told Bloomberg.
The service branch is responsible for managing service customers and providing customer service for government agencies, colleges and universities.
A Forest Service spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the expected increase in staffing.
The agency said the hiring moves were made to align the service branch with the needs of the broader agency, which includes a new office in Portland, Ore.
Forest Service said in a statement it was able to hire 4,000 new employees during the fiscal year that ended March 31.
It also said it expects to add about 2,000 to 2,500 employees in the coming years, as part of the Forest Service’s broader expansion efforts.
The new hires will help offset a $7.5 billion budget cut the Forest Services announced last year that includes a 30% cut to the Forest Fund, the program that funds the service’s employee pay.
Last month, the Forest Corps said it would cut about 1.5 million square feet of office space in the next year.
That would represent a 7% cut from the previous year’s budget, and about one-third of the agency’s total office space at the time.
The Forest Service also has been trying to reduce costs by cutting back on overtime.
“We want to focus on the customer,” David Rader, chief operating officer of the service, told a Forest Service workforce event in January.
“The customer is the service that we are delivering.”
Last week, the service announced a plan to hire 200 more employees, as well as an additional $1 million in pay raises, to help offset budget cuts.