WAYNE COUNTY (WXYZ) — Wayne County will be laying off or furloughing 227 employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, there will be 606 open positions left unfilled in the county.
The move is expected to save the county $30.3 million, and the decision was approved by the County Commission after negotiations with employee bargaining units.
“This is a difficult but necessary step to help balance the county’s budget in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “I thank Commission Chairwoman Bell and her fellow commissioners for ratifying my administration’s recommendations to reduce costs during this emergency.”
The furlough will last at least 90 days, officials say, but could be extended for 150 days depending on the status of the pandemic.
Furloughed employees will keep their health insurance.
“I also want to thank the members of local unions for working with the County and agreeing to participate in unpaid furloughs for some of their members,” Evans said. “I also want to express my disappointment that our largest union did not accept unpaid furloughs instead of layoffs as we all work to balance the County’s budget during this public health emergency.”
The county announced a projected budget deficit of $152 million earlier in April, adding that the pandemic has caused a financial strain on the economy. Officials say the deficit could amount to more than 20 percent of the county's projected revenues.
The layoffs come after Evans ordered a hiring and spending freeze for the county on Monday.
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