Inyo County government still has considerable money problems and has broached the subject of potential layoffs with employee bargaining groups. Today an item on the Board of Supervisors agenda speaks to layoff discussions and the layoff of three positions.
Item 13 from Personnel asks the Board to give directions to initiate layoff discussions with employee representatives. County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said, “We have notified all bargaining units to meet and confer on the impacts of layoffs.” The CAO said that Service Redesign has saved $600,000 but more is needed to reach the savings goal of $1.5 million to balance next year’s budget. Carunchio said there are ongoing efforts with other cost saving measures. County officials have said layoffs are a last resort. Carunchio said Inyo has only laid off three people in the last nine years.
Item 13 also deals with seeking authorization for the layoff of three positions in the Social Services Wrap Program. This is not about County budget problems. Carunchio explained that the program was State funded and designed to intervene in families in which an “at risk” youth was going to be placed out of County. They worked to keep the youth here with the family, and the program actually saved money. It was funded by State dollars, not the General Fund.
However, the caseload has now dropped so low that it does not justify paying for the positions. So the positions of Probation Officer II and Senior Social Worker Supervisor II are slated for layoff. The employees in those jobs, Carunchio said, have already been placed in new County jobs. The third Social Worker position is vacant and will not be filled.
Other items on the Supervisors’ agenda include a 5% salary increase for Water Director Bob Harrington and 80 hours of paid administrative leave per year. At 11 am, the Water Department planned to conduct a workshop on water-related legislation currently under development by the State of California. At 11:30 am, the Planning Department scheduled a public hearing to update the Conservation and Open Space Element of the General Plan with an Energy Efficiency Chapter.
At 1 pm, Public Administrator/ Public Guardian Patricia Barton planned to conduct a workshop on her services and case load. Last week, under Service Redesign, Health and Human Services talked about taking over some of Barton’s department’s duties. A team, including Barton, had studied this issue. Barton had cautioned the change. The County Administrator accused her of “sandbagging” the Service Redesign efforts to close the serious budget deficit and asked her to come back with a workshop this week.