Right now, we are in the middle of the Shelby County budget process. The County Commission is considering a budget during one of the worst economic contractions in US history. About 40 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, nearly one in four workers.
Because of the darkening economic conditions, I believe one of our top priorities should be to avoid cuts to vital programs and to avoid layoffs of County employees.
Unfortunately, however, the Shelby County Commission has voted to do both. I have previously reported on the cuts to vital programs that the Commission has approved, see here. When it comes to the job losses that will accompany these program cuts, the reports are still coming in. However, based on cuts that the County Commission has already adopted, we know this so far: 32 jobs at the Health Department have been put in jeopardy of elimination, 30 jobs at the Fire Department, and 19 jobs in Community Services.
We will keep you posted as this budget process plays out. Suffice it to say for now, unless there are additional changes, dozens of Shelby County employees could see their jobs vanish amid the current public health emergency. This is the wrong approach and the wrong time to put jobs in jeopardy.
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