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Employees of a state tax agency are going to get to keep their jobs, thanks to the cooperation of their fellow workers.

Five employees of the Board of Equalization and Assessment were expected to be among the nearly 2,000 state workers being laid off to help combat a $1 billion state budget deficit.

But other employees at the agency approached managers and asked that they survey the staff to see who would be willing to give up a few days pay to save jobs, said Ramon Rodriguez, assistant director. A notice went out to all employees last week.

In all, 279 of the board's 560 employees agreed to take one to three days off without pay, making the agency's budget stretch a little further, he said.

That wasn't the only example of job-saving at the board. Eleven management-level workers saved two other employees' jobs by volunteering to give up a week of vacation pay.

Despite such actions, Rodriguez said two employees are taking early retirement and three employees will have to be laid off.

The board oversees the local administration of property taxes.

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