Fresno County Announces Layoffs and Other Changes

Fresno, CA, USA Fresno County health care worker Josephine Sanders sat quietly while she learned she would receive a cut in her salary. She cares full time for an 89-year old senior citizen. "When you reduce us to minimum wage that means that we have less to take care of them with," said Sanders.

County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to accept administrator John Navarrette's recommendations for saving money in the budget.

March 6th the public works department must eliminate 9 positions and layoff 21 employees. Behavioral health must eliminate 2 positions and cut contract providers costs by 10%. Probation must reduce overtime and faces possible layoffs. The sheriff's department faces layoffs as well and must stop training court deputies because it is not within their budget. Sheriff Margaret Mims says her department was previously reimbursed for this training.

"So in the past they paid it," asked Supervisor Susan Anderson. "In the past they had paid that," said Mims. Anderson: "And we didn't know that they weren't going to pay it this year?" Mims: "That is correct."

Navarrette said reductions in department budgets have to be made now or Fresno County could suffer nearly $32 million in losses next fiscal year.

"I bring you this number as the worst case hopefully so that we can prepare," said Navarrette.

Supervisors said they are trying to respond to this financial meltdown conservatively.

"I'm not a believer we're gonna pull out of this downturn for a period of time," said supervisor Judith Case.

If the budget is not reduced there could be possible furloughs and salary cuts across the board next fiscal year. Two departments were given extensions for two weeks...they are the assessor-recorder and county clerk. They will have to come back here and explain why they cannot make any more changes to their offices.


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