Layoffs begin in Summit County
November 24, 2009
Officials in the Summit County Courthouse have begun laying off employees as shrinking tax revenue has forced department heads to tighten their belts.
Two full-time building inspectors were laid off in the Summit County Community Development Department this week. Additionally, an employee in Public Works and a nurse in the Summit County Health Department were expected to lose their jobs so the budget can be balanced.
Community Development Department Director Don Sargent said building inspectors Curt Allen and Tom Costanzo were laid off this week.
"It’s based of the workload demand commensurate with the number of staff we had available," Sargent said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We were overloaded with staff in building."
Costanzo had worked for Summit County for about 15 years and Allen was a courthouse employee for nearly four years.
"We were directed to look at our department needs, the longevity of our staff and our organizational needs," Sargent said.
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The number of building inspections in Summit County has been in decline for about nine months, Sargent explained.
"That’s where we saw the need to cut the most," Sargent said. "I really felt frustrated myself having to do this and I know the two individuals were frustrated and saddened that it came to this."
They are off the job, but the former building inspectors will receive pay and benefits through December, Sargent said.
"It’s tough right now for anybody to find a job out in the workplace and particularly in construction and building," Sargent said.
Meanwhile, Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan would not say who was laid off in his department.
"Anybody that works with you, you’ve got a relationship with them. So it is more than just an economic decision, there are a lot of personal factors involved," Callahan said. "He will be on the payroll through the end of the year but he will stop working at the end of November They’re trying to soften the blow a little bit."
In his eight years overseeing Public Works, Callahan said nobody else in his department has been laid off for budget reasons.
"It’s a reflection of how tight the budget is," Callahan said. "It’s always a challenge, but you’ve got to live within the means that you have."
A spokeswoman for the Summit County Health Department said she was unsure which employee might be laid off this year.
The Summit County Council is scheduled to finalize next year’s budget following a public hearing Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse in Coalville.
Spending this year is tight because revenue from sales tax has declined due to a slowdown in tourism during the recession. Officials have projected an operating budget for Summit County for 2010 at just over $47 million, which is about a two percent decrease in spending, according to Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier.