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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Layoffs Coming at King County

posted by on October 7 at 16:17 PM

King County executive Ron Sims just sent an email to all county employees informing them that there will be “a substantial number of layoffs” due to the county’s projected $90 million shortfall.

From Sims’s letter:

Through hard work, tough choices and innovation we have closed all but $15 million dollars of the gap. However, in the end it was not possible to find over $90 million in program and service reductions in one year without drastically compromising King County’s first rate criminal justice system or dismantling King County’s public health and human services safety net.

Much of the county shortfall, as I reported in August (third item) is due to the county’s formula for determining cost of living adjustment raises, which relies heavily on gas prices. When gas prices increase, employees get big raises—which the county must then figure out a way to pay for. In this case, cuts to health and human services and public health weren’t enough to make up the shortfall.

Sims again:

No one ever expected a financial situation where this unprecedented COLA increase could occur in combination with an overall economic slow down and large budget deficits. I cannot make devastating cuts to public health and public safety and ignore the real dollar impact of a 5 to 6% COLA. We have had positive preliminary discussions with organized labor about possible changes to both wages and benefits but we have not had time to reach any final agreements. I needed to make some final assumptions to balance the budget.

Sims also announced his budget would freeze pay increases for non-union employees and elected officials.

Layoff notices will go out on October 14, one day after Sims’s annual budget speech.

RSS icon Comments


Erica, COLA is only $5 million of the $90 million deficit.

Posted by Sims concerned | October 7, 2008 4:42 PM

Sad news but I do see lots of jobs posted on employment sites for those looking. (networking) (aggregated listings) (matches you to jobs)

good luck to those searching for jobs.

Posted by Rachel | October 7, 2008 5:23 PM

Stop putting pot smokers in the KingCo jail and you'll find $15 million.

Posted by StC | October 7, 2008 6:10 PM

When o when will this stoopid county boot the man out? Anybody but Sims in 2009. The emperor is nekkid, I say.

I think it is ironic that Sims has to go a-begging to the unions when he's sold the county to them for years. Anybody look at the contract for sheriff's deputies? Thanks for another dry fuck, Ron!

Posted by janedoe | October 7, 2008 7:57 PM

You know, if we just stopped growing the Sherrif's budget for police, jails, and courts, the budget would be balanced.

Just saying.

Maybe they could, oh I don't know, stop doing pot busts of medical marijuana clients?

And arrest some white collar criminals and make sure they actually PAY their FINES?

Ta da. Budget balanced, nobody fired.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 7, 2008 9:52 PM

Since you are expert Will why don't you tell us how much King County spent on pot busts last year instead of just making unsupported assertions about the county budget? How much Will? I am waiting for your answer? What is the actual dollar number Will? Waiting?

You see you can't give one because you can't even get the jurisdiction straight. The pot busts you are referring to in a snide manner were executed by SPD in the City of Seattle, different government, different budget. You also conveniently leave out the fact that the County Sheriff's Office is taking an actual 12% reduction this year in its overall budget. Yes Sims did sign a big fact contract with the line deputies and their union but he did that after proposing the huge cut to the sheriff's office. Can't blame the Sheriff or anyone else for that contract, she wanted the power to negotiate it but Sims fought her on it to keep the power.

You say you want the budget of the courts and the jail to be cut too. Exactly how many judges would you cut and how many jail beds, since the jail actually makes money renting beds to the state and to cities, would you cut? How many courtrooms would you shut down? How many jail beds would you close? Can the inmates we don't have room for be kept at your house?

See Will when you actually think about the issues and study the facts, maybe your diarrhea of the mouth will dry up. I won't hold my breath

Posted by All Will Does is post crap on every blog | October 7, 2008 11:03 PM

For those of you whom don't know: Cola means Cost Of Living Adjustment.
That's right folks- not a raise- just the right to live where we work. Strange concept.

I drive for Metro- King County. Our Cola stands at a precident 3%. We haven't received a raise in years. We only increase our wages with the COLA, like most county employees.

I am cussed at everyday. Sometimes spat on, and even have a restraining order against an individual. My job can be gruesome.
Many times it is rewarding. Even on a packed 12- 50 people aren't driving a car every ten minutes during rush hour. Gasoline less spent= none. I bike to work, ten miles,to drive you in an electric trolley.

Ron Sims is cutting the county budget- lets try the Ride Free Area first. Whom does it cater to, and whom does it benefit? BTW, does the downtown Tacoma receive these subsidies?

Posted by Kat | October 8, 2008 12:09 AM

Correction: Tacoma survives without a ride free subsidy from pierce (county) transit. Federal way, Renton, Bellevue, Burien, and even Issaquah businesses seem to do just fine without a ride free area.

Posted by Kat | October 8, 2008 12:15 AM

Small point to ponder -

As the recession/depression gathers force ... this is round one

Think what comes out and is not funded in the next two rounds ... going to be really bad in the county

Bankrupcy? Very possible ... receivership of some kind

Posted by Sam | October 8, 2008 4:09 AM

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