TRUMBULL COUNTY Layoffs at top of meeting agenda

Some departments have put off layoffs.
WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners were expected to approve today layoffs for 37 employees and to announce even more pink slips at departments not under their direct control.
Layoffs at the child support enforcement agency, 911 center, maintenance department, vehicle maintenance department and building inspection department are on the agenda for the commissioners' regularly scheduled meeting this morning.
Layoffs for other departments headed up by elected officials also will be announced, officials say.
Other department heads, however, are waiting until commissioners produce an up-to-date budget before sending any employees home.
"I didn't want to give anyone a pink slip and then not have to lay them off," said county Treasurer Christ Michelakis.
Last week, commissioners passed a budget calling for massive layoffs from nearly every county department. The 0.5 percent sales tax increase approved last Wednesday, however, makes that budget obsolete and should reduce depth of cuts.
Expected layoffs
Today, commissioners were to approve pink slips for 19 of 30 employees at the maintenance and vehicle maintenance departments; four of nine employees at the building inspection department; six of 67 employees at the child support enforcement agency; and nine of 33 employees at 911.
Sheriff Thomas Altiere already has issued pink slips to 47 of his 142 employees.
Budget cuts passed by commissioners last Monday would require laying off 10 of the 17 workers in the treasurer's office, Michelakis said. He said he expects a new budget, which factors in the sales tax increase, will allow some of these people to stay.
Clerk of Courts Margaret O'Brien said she also is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Other money-saving ideas
A few departments have found ways around furloughs. Auditor David Hines said that some in his office will switch to four-day workweeks to save money.
In the commissioners' office, three nonunion employees have cut back to a four-day week, and clerk/administrator Roselyn Ferris will take a temporary 25 percent pay cut.
The auditor, treasurer and prosecutor, who form the county's budget commission, were to meet today to formulate a revised estimate of 2003 revenue county commissioners will use for a new budget.
The new estimate is expected to reduce the $8 million budget shortfall down to about $3.5 million.