County, employees issue statement on layoffs
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. – Representatives of Douglas County and the employees’ association issued a joint statement Tuesday that the new budget will reflect “numerous layoffs,” but both sides hope to come to terms to avoid the job cuts.
Under state law, the county must present a balanced budget to the state by June 1. Commissioners have set a special meeting for May 16 to adopt the fiscal year 2011-12 budget.
“Douglas County will adopt its final budget for fiscal year 2012 that will likely reflect numerous layoffs county-wide as a consequence of revenue shortfalls in the general fund and other funds,” Assistant County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said Tuesday.
He said the county and the Douglas County Employees Association began negotiations March 30 for a new contract after the current agreement expires June 30, but they haven’t come to terms.
He said the county and the employees’ association remain optimistic an agreement will be reached in time to avoid the layoffs otherwise effective July 1.
“We know the county has financial challenges, and we know we have to help,” said DCEA President Dominick Macaluso. “Right now, it’s simply a matter of determining the best way to do that.”
County commissioners have asked elected officials and department heads to reduce their budgets by 5 percent across the board to help erase the anticipated $3.5 million shortfall in the county’s $123 million budget.
At the May 5 commission meeting, Mokrohisky said the 5 percent across-the-board reduction as requested would cut the deficit by $1,767,162, the equivalent of 14 full-time positions.
Mokrohisky said cuts offered by departments and elected officials as of that date totaled $1,713,948.
Commissioners ordered departments to take the full 5 percent.
Negotiations are ongoing with three unions including the employees association, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Protective Association, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Protective Association, Sergeant’s Bargaining Unit.
“We have hard working and dedicated employees that provide important services to the public, and we have a strong desire to avoid layoffs that are driven solely by budget constraints,” Mokrohisky.
He said there are 12 full-time equivalent filled positions in the general fund that would result in layoffs. There are six FTE additional positions that would remain vacant.
In addition there are six full-time positions that would result in layoffs due to the county providing services in a more cost effective manner.
“For example, we are working to finalize a contract that would allow Carson City to provide signal light maintenance services in Douglas County which result in one layoff and a cost reduction of approximately $40,000 per year, but would not be a reduction in service,” Mokrohisky said.
“These initiatives are being pursued because they allow us to continue to provide a high level of service to the public, but at a cost savings.
He said nonrepresented employees who will be laid off have been notified or will be shortly as county policy requires 60-day notification.
Represented employees will be notified by the end of May as the employee contracts require 30-day notification.