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Calaveras County Workers Face Furlough Days

Calaveras County employees will take the first of five furlough days on Friday, Sept. 3, making the Labor Day weekend a four-day holiday of sorts.

The Board of Supervisors approved the furlough days in June to balance a tight budget. The board said they want to avoid employee layoffs. The furloughs will save the general fund $250,000.

Human Resources Director Francine Osborn negotiated with the employees´ unions to come up with furlough dates.

After meeting with department heads Thursday afternoon, Tom Mitchell, county administrative officer, said, “Sometimes you just have to take a hit for the team.”

But there´s concern among the county´s team of some 500 employees.

“It runs the gamut,” Mitchell said. “Some people were excited because they have long weekends and other people are concerned with how they´re going to pay their bills. It really depends on people´s financial situation.”

That doesn´t mean the county´s higher-paid employees aren´t affected.

“Just because you make more money doesn´t mean you do a better job managing your finances,” Mitchell said.

“Staff´s reaction has been widely variable,” Rob Houghton, Public Works Department director, said. “Some folks are displeased because of the money part and some of them are less affected by it.”

“I´d love to have the day off,” Houghton said. But the furlough, for him, is more of a pay cut he said.

“I´m still working 50 to 60 hours,” he said. “I just only get paid for four days that week instead of five.”

Not all offices will be closed on the furlough.

The District Attorney´s Office and Probation Department will have limited staff available, Mitchell said. The Sheriff´s Department, jail, dispatch, landfills, transfer stations, Recorder´s Office, Superior Court, and Council of Governments will be fully operational. Some of those operate on state money.

“A majority of the people who are having to work will take a different day off,” Mitchell said. But that´s up to the department head to determine, he said.

Mitchell plans to take a second look at furloughs before the next one rolls around.

“We will be reevaluating the impact it´s had on the public and staff to see if we need to take another look and make some other recommendations,” he said.

The four remaining furlough days are scheduled to take place Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving; Feb. 18, the Friday before President´s Day; March 25, Good Friday; and May 20, Frog Jump Friday.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Vanessa Turner. For more Calaveras news, click:calaverasenterprise.com