Layoffs avoided?

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

JACKSON – Vacant job positions may help Northampton County government avoid layoffs required by their budget.

Last week, County Manager Wayne Jenkins requested the Board of Commissioners authorization for a committee working on the reduction in force to analyze a scenario that would transfer employees into vacant county government positions, possible avoiding layoffs.

The county’s current budget, approved last month, included a reduction in force of five positions totaling $153,000 in salaries and benefits.

“We do have currently some vacancies within county government,” Jenkins said. “I would ask you to consider authorizing your manager and the committee we’ve put together to analyze those positions, by position, and where possible a transfer can be made within county government to a vacant position, we can avoid actually having to lay somebody off.”

Jenkins said the committee would like to use this process up through early fall and then take a look at the situation again.

“Possibly by that time either existing vacancies or those positions that may become vacant, we possibly could work through half of a year without actually physically laying somebody off,” he said.

Jenkins asked for guidance on the issue from the board.

“What you have just suggested I have no problem with it and I think it would work out very well,” said Commission Chairwoman Virginia Spruill. “I would say yes move forward with it, but that’s my suggestion. Anybody agree with that?”

Her fellow board members indicated they were in agreement.

The board gave consensus for Jenkins and the committee to move forward with the process.