Dec 4, 2009 10:44 PM by Bea Karnes
Pueblo County Commissioners approved a plan to furlough county employees at their meeting Friday morning.
All full-time employees will be required to take 12 unpaid days off in 2010, at the rate of one day per month. The county estimates this will save $2.2 million next year.
"Pueblo County has been somewhat fortunate for the past few years, we'll been in a much better financial situation. Right now the inverse is true." said John Cordova, Pueblo County Commissioner. Cordova says the county has already put a halt on new projects, including the proposed judicial complex. He says furloughs were the next best option, given the financial challenge. "We could lay people off and we don't want to do that," said Cordova.
Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder Gilbert Ortiz says he's already making plans to lessen the impact on the public in the motor vehicle department. "We're not going to have those furlough days on Mondays or Fridays since those are our peak times in our office," said Ortiz.
At the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Kirk Taylor says more than 200 workers will take holidays off as usual, but won't be paid for them. Those who work in the jail or patrol the streets will be scheduled off one day each month. Sheriff Taylor says he's committed to maintaining a high level of service, but he'll have to do it with fewer deputies.
The commissioner's decision to require furloughs comes just months after a News First 5 investigation of alleged wasteful spending by two commissioners. One commissioner said on camera that Pueblo County was in great fiscal shape, and money was not a concern.
Commissioner John Cordova, Commissioner Anthony Nunez, Commissioner Jeff Chostner, Sheriff Kirk Taylor, County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz and several other elected officials have decided to take furlough days as well.