County lays out layoffs

Commissioners will be presented initial round of cuts in July

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to a process for identifying the positions it will cut in response to budget shortfalls.

According to the schedule presented by County Manager Tom Sullivan, an initial round of layoffs will be presented to the commissioners in July.

Layoffs have been considered for months as part of plans to confront a $4.9 million deficit in the county's 2009 budget. None have been made, however, while the county has taken other steps such as instituting a hiring freeze, pay reductions and furloughs.

The uncertainty surrounding layoffs has created some anxiety and frustration among county employees, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak acknowledged.

"At some time we just have to bite the bullet and make decisions," she said.

Sullivan agreed.

"I think it's a tight timeline," he said. "They want to know what's happening sooner than later."

A few county employees attended the commissioners' discussion with Sullivan on Monday. Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland was out of town at a conference, but she said employees in her department are certainly concerned.

"Of course we're all anxious. It's our livelihoods," Weinland said. "It's been stressful."

Sullivan said he would work with department heads during the next month to identify specific positions for elimination. The proposed cuts would then be presented to the commissioners. Fee-supported departments with falling revenues and departments where workload has declined would be the most vulnerable to cuts.

"The whole discussion is right-sizing our county government," Commissioner Doug Monger said.

County officials said they hope this round of layoffs will be enough to balance their 2010 budget. If not, there would have to be an additional round and a reduction in levels of service.

"We're still going to have employees who are anxious and worried about their position until the economy turns around," Sullivan said.

In cutting positions, the county also will consider whether a position performs a core, necessary or discretionary function of county government; what impact cutting a position would have on a department's workload; how recently the position was created and filled; and whether there is shared funding for the position.

The county currently has about 227 employees, about 49 of which have been added in the past decade. Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush warned against assuming that the most recently created positions are the least important. Similarly, Weinland said that although fee revenues have declined in her department, that does not necessarily mean workload has decreased proportionately.

Comments

Suz 4 years, 10 months ago

Those of us who have friends and family that work for the county had hoped that this day would not come. We are sorry for those that this will effect as there is no easy way to take a lay off. The house payment and bills must still be paid. The family must still be fed. We hope that you can find jobs in this economy. We know that it will not be easy. The best that we can hope for is that the county will really take the time to consider each man or woman's job and that the layoffs effect as few families as possible.

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sickofitall 4 years, 10 months ago

Hey, no work..no job. Thats how it works Suz. Those of us who work in the private sector get hachetted alot faster than the government workers. If there is no money to fund the government then what? We can not just employ folks for the sake of keeping a paycheck on thier table. I have been out of work for almost six months now and it drives me crazy that our tax dollars hang on to government employees who really are not needed. Man how do I get a cushy government job? And yes, they are cushy..

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stillinsteamboat 4 years, 10 months ago

How about, like the private sector they put some of the positions up for bid. Some Govt. employees rest on their laurels from days gone by, not necessarily doing the quality work that was once expected of them.

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Suz 4 years, 10 months ago

Wow, no empathy for your fellow man? Fair enough. So, how do you deciced which jobs are needed? Which are the cushy ones and which are not? Are they all cushy? Should they all be laid off? Who should get to decide? The county says they need to make cuts and so they shall. I did not suggest that they don't. They, like every other employer must choose where to cut their budget. I simply wanted to convey to those who do get cut some luck in finding a job. Finding one in this economy may not be easy.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 10 months ago

sickofitall - Maybe you should have went to work for the county a couple of years ago. You would have been there long enough by now that you wouldn't be on the lay off list. And, blame nobody but yourself for not finding employment for 6 months.

stillin - All of the lay offs will be W-2 / hourly wage earning employees. They all filled out a job application and were hired following very similar guidelines to that of the private sector. In fact, the hiring process is more stringent due to the higher volume of applications.

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Suz 4 years, 10 months ago

You have a point there. Will the employee that is no longer doing the quality of work that was once expected of him be the one to lose his job or will it just be the last man or woman hired? This is what I would like to see considered.

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sickofitall 4 years, 10 months ago

Duke Bets..I have been taken the "rare" break to spend time with my family and further my education. I blame no one. I do however despise the government and its infinite inefficiency. I do not feel sorry for them. As I have said in other posts, welcome to OUR world.

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bandmama 4 years, 10 months ago

Hmmmmm..... you know things are not so bad when highly educated folks prefer to sit around jobless for six months and endlessly complain about everything in our little town, instead of picking up an application at Wal Mart or McDonalds,(both by the way, offer benefits), OR do what the rest of us do, get two jobs. Maybe sicko, if you spent your time trying to better your jobless situation you would not be so quick to find fault with OUR world?

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Suz 4 years, 10 months ago

Welcome to OUR world? Just what world do you live in? Do you honestly believe that the people who will get laid off all have cushy jobs? That their jobs are not needed? Waste does not start at the bottom and work its way up. Waste starts at the top and works its way down. Its the people at the bottom that will lose their jobs first. Welcome to OUR world? Thanks, but no thanks.

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greenwash 4 years, 10 months ago

I can think of plenty of employees long and short tenured that should be sent packing.Hopefully the decision makers whomever they are, will make the right cuts.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 10 months ago

The budget had grown rapidly in recent years so the county could pull out a 2005 budget to see how to provide adequate government service at this reduced funding.

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sickofitall 4 years, 10 months ago

Hey its tough times for all. I just dont see why Gov. jobs are hanging on long after private sector jobs have been lost. Actually, I do see why. But thats not the point. Steamboat is not building anything. So, why have a planning department, building department fully staffed? Yeah, Suz, I got empathy for fellow man but not government waste. Nope, I do not want to work at Mcdonalds, you are G.dam right! F&$#% Mcdonalds, what kind of American are you!Ive come to far to go back that way. Luckily I do not HAVE to, not yet. Instead, I have decided to spend needed time with the Fam and better myself so when things do pick up I wont be working at Mcdonalds. Why dont they write an article about the private sector that has been hit so hard and stop coddling the government workers. I think that this economic downturn sux, and what do the Feds do? They turn around and give the banks MORE of our hard earned money without being accountable for any of it! The banks created this mess and we give them more friggin money! Dare I say that the Govnmt. has way too much pork and the only good thing is we will trim it off. As far as SBS goes, I see my property taxes double in 4 years. I see my water bill double, and now I expect to see services decline, why? because the City is still broke the county is broke but we continue to see the cost of services increasing..where does our money go? I could seriously just limit government to building roads and bridges, thats it! Because they seem to fail at everything else. I do not see what is wrong with getting an education while the economy sux. Why not Better yourself when you have the time? Or I guess I could work at Walmart!! F&*$# Walmart if thats all you got fine, but that should be a last resort job for any competant American worker, as a nation we are better than that. Because when times get better and they will, I want to come out swingin'. I will not post on this again. :)

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downtown 4 years, 10 months ago

Umm the waste starts at the top and the cushy jobs of "managing" Mainstreet and the Chamber. They are responsible for bringing sales tax revenue. We need a different approach to needs of Steamboat. The regular people of Steamboat that make the Boat are left behind!

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callguinness 4 years, 10 months ago

sick - "I could seriously just limit government to building roads and bridges, thats it!"

Really thats it hmmm. Well I hope nobody ever breaks into your house, steals your car, wallet, points a gun at you, hits you while they are drunk driving. Now lets just say that because these people never get caught that we don't need any way to hold them accountable. I also hope that you never get hurt, break a leg, have an allergic reaction, heart attack, choking, car accident, fire in your house, child falls and hits their head. Because the government is going to cut back to only building roads and bridges. I guess you must work from home, because you don't need your roads plowed in the winter time. I will continue because you obviously don't see the good of the government.

So now on the off chance that you might agree that we need Police, Courts, Jails, Fire, Ambulance, Snow Plows lets try and see where the money to support them and building bridges and roads might come from, TAXES. Well how do we collect taxes, ummmm we need some one to assess the value of the land/improvements, we need people to collet those fees The roads are paid for by the people driving on them so we need to deal with cars and collecting money from them, DMV. Courts collect fees and fines from the people who break the law, not enough to cover all the cost of running a court system but at least its something, however people don't really pay to stay in jail.

I hope by now you get the point, if you don't then you most likely never will. The purpose of government is not to make money it really is to hopefully not lose money. The reason for government is that there is no profit in the most core services, Police, Court, Jail, Fire, Ambulance, Snow Plow, Road & Bridge. The places where money comes in are to support these services, all of this takes people, to have it happen at all it takes smart people, so they need to be paid at least decently.

Why does government lag behind the private sector you ask. Well I believe it has to do with not wanting to get rid of core services, because people want to be voted into the lead positions again. To keep the core services running you need a lot of people behind them.

Post on here or not I'm betting you at least skimmed what I wrote.

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ybul 4 years, 10 months ago

How about seeing what is the most efficient way to deliver the desired outcomes. Building inspections could be accomplished by bonded licensed engineers. Ambulance service is a private company in most places. Jails could be privately run and those in prison could grow their food, cook it and potentially make something to pay their way. Snow plowing could be contracted out as well as maintenance.

Police/Fire and courts are all that I see a need for the government to do. Lift up/horizons can provide assistance to those who have trouble helping themselves. Those who can help can lend a hand through those organizations. To state the government needs to do it, lacks the observation that only 25% of government funds make it to helping out others, where most good charities funnel 75+%.

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callguinness 4 years, 10 months ago

ybul, I understand what you are saying, however. This is a free market, if an ambulance service IE AMR, Pridemark, Rural/Metro could come in and make money here they would. Privately run jails are being tried in some places, but they are heavily backed by government money. If someone could do the snow plowing for less than what it cost the government now and still turn a profit they would. Problem is they can't. The numbers don't add up here to do these things.

In major metropolitan areas, with many more people, some of these services are viable, just not in small communities.

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bandmama 4 years, 10 months ago

Just in case sicko cant resist this post.... FYI, life lesson number one, any job that pays the bills and supports the family, if it be Micky-D's for Wal-Mart should not be beneath you. If it is, then you need to sort out your priorities. Shame on you for the highhanded insults to the working class!

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