Georgia agency lays off and furloughs staff due to surprise shortfall

The state agency that regulates the insurance industry and investigates fires is having financial problems, forcing Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens to lay off employees and order others to take furlough days without pay, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

The 216 remaining employees in the agency will have to take four unpaid days off over the last few months of fiscal 2017, which ends June 30.

The furloughs are the first at a state agency in several years, possibly since the state recovered from the effects of the Great Recession.

Hudgens’ agency was among those battered by the recession, seeing his staff cut by about a third from 2009 to 2012 as the state tightened its fiscal belt.

Now staffers with the Office of Planning and Budget are trying to figure out how his agency's finances became a mess. State officials said Hudgens had not, as of Thursday, filed a plan for the furloughs, a requirement for state agencies.

Read more about the problems in the Department of Insurance at