San Diego County is considering cutting hundreds of vacant positions and more than 60 staffed position in an attempt to present a solid operating plan for 2010 – 2012.
"There’s nothing in this budget that I’m excited about,” Supervisor Greg Cox at Tuesday's meeting where the county's chief administrative officer presented the board with a budget "smaller in dollar and in work force."
The budget of $4.86 billion is 2.9% less than the current year’s budget. The proposed operating plan calls for closing out 592 vacant positions and eliminating 66 full-time positions including the county’s Tuberculosis screeners who work with Yvonne Silva.
“Please think and reconsider the impact on this decision,” Silva told the board Tuesday. “Removing a front line unit would definitely interfere with public safety.”
If the staffers are cut, clerks from other departments who have not been properly trained will be screening residents for TB, according to Silva.
The unit is just one of those that will be impacted. The plan calls for 3.6% decrease in work force from last year’s staff.
Cutting positions impacts workers according to SEIU Local 221 spokesperson Eric Banks. “People are overstressed. People are going on stress leave and we’re seeing a real impact on county services,” he told the board.
“We do have a budget reserve. We could use that for the short term to plug this as well and keep these programs going,” Banks said referring to $700M the county has in unallocated reserves.
A point that was addressed by Supervisor Dianne Jacob who explained those reserves help the county maintain AAA credit rating that in turn saves the county hundreds of millions of dollars.
“It’s easy to look at different pots of money and say ‘Go spend that one-time money on ongoing expenditures’ and it’s not the right thing to do,” Jacob said.
Supervisors will consider the operating plan and will hold public hearing on the proposed cuts beginning June 14.