INDEPENDENCE CO., Ark. (KAIT) - More and more people are being either laid off or furloughed from their jobs. While it is unfortunate, it is something that is becoming more common for even top officials.
That effect is being seen directly this week in Independence County with payroll cuts for county officials and employees.
“I’m trying to avoid possible cuts that would take a single bite of food off of a family’s table," Independence County Judge Robert Griffin said.
During a 15-week period, the judge says the county could save $150,000 to a quarter-million without any negative impacts on the employees.
Many department heads and those under them are having shifts cut down to even part-time so that they can qualify for unemployment under the CARES Act.
That way, according to Griffin, they are able to still receive half of their income from the jobs they are still doing and the stimulus checks can cover the rest of what they are missing.
This all started Tuesday and he says it was best to do it now before those negative impacts started showing for the employees and the county.
“We are hoping to cover the shortfall through this method. Through this method, when we get back and we start restoring the economy the pressure won’t be on the quorum court to have to cut positions because we don’t have huge reserves that we can pull out of to overcome something like this, nor do other counties," Griffin said.
And, because those employees will be furloughed, they will still be able to receive their benefits.
These partial cuts will also fall on the Sheriff’s office. The department posted on Facebook saying “the citizens of this county will be protected as normal; however, other operations have ceased until further notice.”
Griffin says this is 100 percent designed to help the county achieve a balanced budget by the end of this crisis and at the same time, it’s a way to deal with the needs of the families impacted.
Now, Griffin did add he cannot guarantee this will work in the end, but he believes making this decision now will help solve most of their budget deficiencies that they are facing.