Contra Costa County Supervisors To Consider Proposed Health Services Department Layoffs
Contra Costa County supervisors this week will consider a proposal to lay off at least 20 employees -- many from substance abuse programs in which the state and county share costs -- in response to a request from County Administrator John Sweeten to reduce the county Health Services Department budget by $25 million for the next fiscal year, the Contra Costa Times reports. Sweeten has asked county departments to reduce their budgets by 10% to 20% to help address an estimated $62 million county budget deficit. County Health Services Department Director William Walker has proposed the elimination of 41 positions, 20 of which are currently filled. The layoffs would take effect June 30.
Walker said that he would inform state officials about the layoffs to allow them time to locate a new provider to continue to offer affected services. He said, "In effect, we're saying the services will still be in place but there will be no county costs." According to Roland Katz of Public Employees Union Local 1, which represents some of the employees that the proposal would affect, the layoffs would eliminate a county driving-under-the-influence education program and close two of the three sites operated by Born Free, a perinatal substance abuse program. The proposal also would lay off employees who screen and direct county residents with substance abuse problems to proper services, he said. Katz recommended that supervisors consider the elimination of management positions before they lay off employees who provide services to county residents. Katz said, "We're not convinced yet they have made that thorough analysis. But we know there will be cuts, and they will include some of the folks we represent" (Felsenfeld, Contra Costa Times, 5/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.