Update on the County Budget Process and Layoff Discussions

No one knows at this point what the result of the layoff talk will be in our Office. As many of you know, Ed Burnette has told members in various site meetings that he tendered a 2007 budget to the County Board that includes possible layoffs. Here is what we know at this point:

  • Burnette was directed to provide a budget that cut the Office expenses by 17%.
  • The County Board is seeking ways to cover a gap in their operating budget.
  • Burnette’s resulting budget proposed the elimination of many jobs from our Office: Burnette told one group of members the number was 158 employees, while other information indicated that the number was 99 employees.
  • The County budget will likely not be finalized until the end of February, and like all political budget processes, the specifics of the budget will change greatly before then.

During this budget process, your Union Executive Board will seek to express the drastic effects of the proposed budget: gutting about 1/3 of our attorneys means that the County is turning its back on its most needy citizens, the poor who deserve quality legal representation. Further, this short-sighted plan will end up bursting the County budget because of expenses the County will incur in providing constitutionally mandated legal assistance to needy people who will not have access to public defenders if drastic cuts are implemented. We will provide more information as the County budget process progresses.

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