Painful Layoffs in Monterey
Faced with a $36.2 million budget deficit and disappointing revenues, Monterey County leaders have approved a series of severe cuts that will change the landscape of the county’s governing apparatus.
A total of 13 people were laid off June 5, including the county’s assistant administrative officer. The entire economic development department has effectively been eliminated along with 122 vacant positions countywide, nearly half of them in the Department of Health.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Luis Alejo says the county did everything it could to spare services and employees.
“We were able to keep public safety officers on the street, maintained our health and homeless services and ensured protection of our seniors and children,” Alejo said. The 2018-2019 budget that takes effect next month is a “better budget considering the tough fiscal circumstances of our county,” he added.
Wage increases, changes in state funding, and rising benefit costs have contributed to a 31 percent increase in the county’s expenses over the past five years. Pension costs have increased by $13.4 percent in the previous three years according to CAO Lew Bauman. They are expected to double over the next seven years.
In addition, 2013 legislation that redirected health funds away from counties is expected to cost Monterey another $9 million, according to health director Elsa Jimenez.
Read more about Monterey County’s budget woes and the path to recovery here.