Fresno County Ponders Shorter Work Week

April 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
To deal with Fresno County's budget deficit we've already seen layoffs, planned furloughs and the closure of the juvenile boot camp. Now county officials are talking about the possibility of reducing the work week for some employees. County Administrative Officer John Navarette said the cutting is far from over. He said the county's budget shortfall of $32-million actually jumped when departments were asked what it would cost to maintain current services. Navarette said, "When we got that number back the amount grew to about $56-57 million difference or less dollars that we would not be able to accommodate."

A series of county-wide cuts have reduced the budget shortfall to just over $15-million dollars. But some employees will now asked to work just 32 or 36 hours a week to help the county balance the budget. Navarette said, "I don't believe it's gonna be 32, to be honest with you. I think it's not gonna be that drastic."

Beginning in July 4th, 700 county workers will be required to take a week off without pay. They may also be asked to work even less. Supervisor Phil Larson said, "We are going to institute a 40-hour furlough and possibly a 32-hour work week. That's being discussed. That has to be negotiated."

Larson said it also depends on how much federal stimulus money and state funds are received from the county.

Larson has taken a 10-percent pay cut and has laid-off one of his two staffers to help the county save money. Larson said, "We don't have a choice. Every little bit we can save money we gotta look at."

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