Merging 4 agencies seen as way to cut red tape, not programs

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said consolidating four state public health agencies into a single department will improve efficiency, eliminate red tape and keep benefits programs intact, but it's not giving a projection on how much money it could save, and a spokesman said any layoffs will be minimal since the administration's already pared back employee complements.

The Wolf administration made its first public comments on the plan Monday. The administration notified agency employees Friday, but gave no details.

Wolf is scheduled to issue a new budget proposal in eight days that must address a massive projected deficit.

Under the plan, the departments of Human Services, Health, Aging and Drug and Alcohol Programs would merge into the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Legislature must approve the plan.

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