The New Year brings layoffs to ten Sedgwick County administrators. Commissioners accepted a plan from the county manager to shave $5.3 million from departments.
The New Financial Reality Plan eliminates 18.5 positions worth $797,000. It also eliminates nearly $2 million in pay raises, and cuts money to capital improvements, fleet costs and technology.
After cuts leveled by the state, Sedgwick County manager Bill Buchanan says the county will receive $3.2 million less in funding than anticipated, forcing them to cut another 1.6% across the board from departments.
Buchanan says, "It has been agonizing and painful to come to these conclusions."
Sedgwick County commissioner Tom Winters says, "I'm going to be supportive of these proposals today. I don't like any of them, but I'm not sure there's an alternative."
Commissioners thank legislators for the crisis.
Sedgwick County commissioner Carolyn McGinn says, "I've always felt like, perhaps the job was not done last April when it should have been. Then, it ended up being put onto the Governor and it was after we passed our budget, which gives us no choice at all."
Sedgwick County commissioner Ben Scortino says, "Our message to our legislators, I hope, by the fact that we didn't join the lawsuit and what have you, is that we don't want to aggravate the problem. We're willing to take on our fair share of the solution."
The plan spares public safety, including the sheriff's department, fire department, 911 and EMS. So, despite the tough financial times, at least residents don't have to worry about their safety.
As for the employees who were laid off; the county is giving them 30-day severance packages, two months of medical coverage, counseling and help in finding another job.