Placer County chops six jobs

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County issued six layoff notices Tuesday, with five being blamed on an accounting shift at the state level. The Board of Supervisors was told by Principal Management Analyst Therese Leonard that five layoff notices were in the Department of Child Support Services while a sixth notice was to an engineering technician in the Community Development Resource Agency’s engineering and surveying department. Leonard said that a conversion four years ago to a statewide child-support computer system resulted in some functions previously handled at the county level being transferred to state vendors and others made obsolete by automation. Because of those changes the county’s Department of Child Support Services indentified the need to reduce its fiscal staff from eight to three, she said. Leonard added that two of the six employees affected had the ability to “bump back” into the county workforce and there will be an open recruitment for several child support specialists starting this week the “at risk” employees are being encouraged to apply for. Since late 2007, when the county started to feel the pinch of the economic downturn through decreased revenues, it has limited layoffs to 17 by continuing a hiring freeze that has left Placer with 320 fewer employees. In comparison, Sacramento County issued 426 layoff notices this fiscal year, Nevada County had 12 layoffs and El Dorado County had 31, according to Placer County statistics. Still a question mark at the state budget level, county redevelopment agencies may be eliminated but Leonard said the potential loss of 12 jobs in Placer County may not be an abrupt one. “Something is going to happen,” Leonard said. “What we don’t know is what it’s going to be like. While we will be losing some of the 12, it will probably be phased in.” Supervisors provided County Executive Officer Tom Miller with the power last April to issue layoff notices but to report to the board before he did. Tuesday’s notices were the first issued and came with relatively little discussion. Miller had said in April that he was projecting seven employees would be laid off. In other board business: n Bill Summers, a 41-year veteran of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, was honored for his service. Summers, an investigator who has worked on many of the county’s major criminal cases over the past 27 years, is retiring at the end of the month. Staff and audience members gave Summers, the current longest-serving Sheriff’s Office member, a standing ovation. Sheriff Ed Bonner described Summers as “maybe the best employee Placer County has ever had.” n Supervisors adopted a resolution supporting the California Winter Games Committee in a bid for the Tahoe area to host the Winter Olympic Games and proclaim Thursday as International Olympic Day in Placer County.