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San Mateo County mulls cutting positions

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Eliminating 160 positions in San Mateo County could save an estimated $20 million annually, but union representatives say they are asking supervisors to consider cuts to management positions before those directly serving the public.

Many of the positions proposed to be cut are vacant, county Budget Director Jim Saco said. Nearly 30, however, are filled.

“Some of these positions have been held onto for years,” Saco said. “But cutting that one position now could mean hitting that budget target.”

San Mateo County is facing an $87 million deficit for next fiscal year, Saco said. The county operates on a $1.75 billion budget.

“It’s not getting us anywhere near, but it’s definitely progress in the right direction,” he said.

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American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees spokeswoman Nadia Bledsoe said during budget discussions, the county’s union is looking to make sure management positions are cut as much as service positions are.

“We want to make sure that a department is not top-heavy with employees who do not provide direct services to the public,” she said in a statement. “Currently most departments are so short-staffed from prior cuts and the hiring freeze; it is becoming near impossible to provide the essential services that county residents need.”

Positions are not the only aspects of the budget that are affected, according to county documents.

Saco said the county has asked all departments to help trim $35 million from the overall budget.

San Mateo County is also looking to cut park maintenance and the deferral of capital improvements in public works.

The Human Services Department will need to revisit some cuts to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services program, Saco said, to be sure they are in line with state requirements.

An estimated 5,562 people are currently employed by the county, down 64 people after midyear cuts, Saco said.

Bledsoe acknowledged the county’s efforts to place those in jeopardy of layoffs in vacant positions, but hoped that management positions were cut proportionally.

San Mateo County will need to approve a budget by June 30. The recommended budget will be circulated by the end of May. Budget hearings are scheduled to take place from June 21-23.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com</p>

Reducing the deficit

San Mateo County’s budget is facing an $87 million deficit next fiscal year.

  • 160 positions to be eliminated
  • $20 million in savings
  • $87 million structural deficit
  • $35 million in reductions this year
  • 5,562 total positions
  • $1.75 billion budget

Source: San Mateo County

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