Supervisors OK cutting 600 county jobs


The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to cut nearly 600 jobs from San Diego County’s workforce in the 2010-11 fiscal year, part of a package of spending reductions to be fully considered next month.

The job cuts represent 3.6 percent of the county’s workforce, which would be reduced to the equivalent of 15,826 full-time positions.

Supervisor Greg Cox called the reductions “painful” and said he was not optimistic the budget picture would improve in the coming year.

“I don’t think any of us look forward to the fact that we’ll have less employees next year,” Cox said.

Many of the jobs to be removed from the books are vacant.

Approval came following an initial look at the proposed budget for next year, which Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard said will have a spending decrease of 3 percent, to $4.86 billion.

The county has shed 10 percent of its employees in the past five years, Ekard said.

County public safety agencies, which suffered the biggest share of cuts in recent years, would be spared the ax in 2010-11. Instead, the proposed budget calls for spending decreases in agencies ranging from Health and Human Services to libraries to support that county offices provide each other, such as human resources and technology.

Eric Banks, interim president of the Service Employees International Union Local 221, which represents county employees, told the supervisors his members are “over-stressed.”

“The folks I represent are doing more with less,” Banks said.

He said the public deserves to have it quantified how long they’ll have to wait now for county services to be provided.

Managers who spoke at the supervisors’ meeting conceded it will take longer for building permits, inspections and health services, among other things.

The proposed budget is likely to be altered in the coming weeks as more information is learned about potential revenues. That process could begin as early as Friday, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to issue his “May Revise,” an updated look at California’s budget picture.

The county, like many local governments, depends on the state to fund programs.

Paul McIntosh, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, warned the supervisors that he does not expect good news from Sacramento.

The supervisors are scheduled to begin budget deliberations on June 14.