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County cross trains workers to cut costs
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"People would rather vary their job duties than lose jobs," she said. "All department heads are trying very hard not to cut jobs. There are no fiefdoms anymore, no pride."

For example, public works employees will take on extra mowing for other facilities, while administration officials will handle file management for planning and zoning.

Morgan said the county doesn’t have even $1,000 of unassigned money in this year’s budget, as departments are doing away with any contingencies in an effort to keep employees.

"The $10 (margin) here, the $100 there, is all gone," she said. "If nothing unforeseen happens, we’ll survive. But it will take longer to meet citizen’s needs."

Once a list of employees that must be cut is created, it will be sent to the county attorney’s office to make sure it does not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Some department heads have expressed concern that commissioners may try to interfere in cuts, choosing one employee over another, but Morgan said the cuts will be made by her, Administrative Officer John Middleton and the department heads.

"If a job does not specifically give a person human resources responsibility, then they can be held personally liable if they get involved," Morgan said.

If an employee does not agree that he should be cut, he can appeal to Morgan. If he remains dissatisfied, suing the county is the final option. Because that liability can be huge, Morgan said it’s important to have trained professionals making the decisions.

The board of commissioners, however, will have to approve the final list and a board member does have the right to object to a cut. She added that no cuts are being considered because of poor job performance, only because of financial constraints. The official fiscal year 2012 budget will be approved at the board’s July 19 meeting.