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Thread: Furloughs as a way to meet budget?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Furloughs as a way to meet budget?

    South Carolina has been hit hard by the economic and housing slowdown as well as the high price of gas this past summer. Too many governments, including the State, rely on "growth fees" such as impact fees, building permits, deed filing fees etc. to meet budgets. Most governments are reporting between 5-8% shortfall this budget year.

    So far the following governments plan on furloughs (forced unpaid leave or unpaid federal holidays) to get by this budget year.

    Berkeley County
    Charleston County School District
    Medical University of SC
    SC State Forestry Commission
    SC Juvenile Justice Commission
    Clemson University/Extension Services

    Coming orignally from the north this is unheard of in the public sector to me. It is not a popular remedy with employees. The sentiment by these governments right now are "people should be happy to have a job". The strong resitance to raising taxes is the culprit here.

    Has anywhere else been hit with furloughs this year or in early 2009 to meet budget constraints? What other options are there? Why did it come to this?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Many Cities and Counties in California are doing this exact same thing. There has been talk about state employees talking at least 1 furlough day a month for 2009 to help ease the state's massive budget shortfall. Even the private sector is getting in this (including my company to help reduce costs).

    Other options include just strait laying off people, increase of property/sales taxes, increase various muini fees such as sewer/water etc but in a tough economy all that does his hurt people even more don't you think?

    I guess each state is different. I know California is in this mess because our legislature in inept at at comprise and it does what it can to create a budget through borrowing at "gemicks" when the reality is we have tied our own hands through ballot box initiatives and heaven forbid we raise sales tax. I mean seriously, what is a half-cent to when most people are buying the basics now a days? Since the economy is in the tank our budget is as well since it is tied with the boom and bust of wall street. Good topic through.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I think in many instances, it is simply just the easiest way to cut cost. Should I review my entire budget and go through each line item to see where I can cut cost?

    No.......I'll just force people to take days off and then leave early and go to the bar.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    To start we laid off 3 building inspectors. Now we are talking about having another 2 or 3 work 4 days a week instaed of layoffs.

    My brothers company went to 4 day weeks.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  5. #5
    maudit anglais
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    Ontario did this in the early 1990s. They are still nostalgically referred to as "Rae Days", in honour of the then premier.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Lots of furloughs here in the DC area, I think Montgomery county Md will be putting their folks out to pasture for a total of 2 weeks. Lots of lay offs as well but yes the general feeling is we will take furloughs over layoffs.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    Coming orignally from the north this is unheard of in the public sector to me.
    I have a good friend that works in the IT department for the state of Michigan. He's had to work a lot of "free days" for the state in the last couple years as Michigan has struggled with their budget. They have also had what is referred to as Payless Paydays. Yeah, you're right, it's not very popular with employees.
    Maintaining enthusiasm in the face of crushing apathy.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    The sentiment by these governments right now are "people should be happy to have a job."
    They should be. Our CM has talked about furloughs as a last resort. We are aggressively cutting fat and capital projects first.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlannerGirl View post
    Lots of furloughs here in the DC area, I think Montgomery county Md will be putting their folks out to pasture for a total of 2 weeks. Lots of lay offs as well but yes the general feeling is we will take furloughs over layoffs.
    Same sentiment in Fairfax County, VA, where 1 furlough day has already been approved (Jan. 2, 2009), with the possibility of more to come (only with Board of Supervisors approval) during the year.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    In my previous job, they talked about moving to a 4-day week and paying accordingly. This was after cutting all the department's budgets to the bone. In the end, all departments had to layoff at least one person and this was 3 years ago. I didn't fill one of the building inspector's positions because the work had dried up, so my department ended up being down 2 people. The person who replaced me, I've heard, is making $5,000 to $10,000 less than I was.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Google News search on government furlough day jan 2 -

    The number of news websites reporting this approach.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    My old office laid off two building inspectors and one planner and now are talking 4 day weeks. They're also still facing the possibility of more layoffs. They're all really nervous and the office is empty. Funny thing, no other department in the county laid off people...

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