El Paso County Elected Officials Could Volunteer to Give Up More Pay
POSTED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 7:23pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 7:58pm
Penny Andersen has worked for El Paso County's public defender office for the last 13-years and she says she's never seen the economic situation this bad.
Last spring everyone in her department took a 5 percent pay cut.
This year they're taking 4 furlough days and may have to take another 5 percent pay cut if county commissioners decide it's the best way to balance an $11 million dollar budget shortfall.
"So now we're looking at another 5 percent pay cut. That's like 10 percent of your salary and that hurts," said Andersen.
County commissioner Dan Haggerty has an idea he hopes will make it hurt a little less.
Elected leaders, like himself, are immune to mandatory furloughs or pay cuts.
So he thinks it's only right if they join county employees in any of these cuts.
"More than anything else this represents our good will to say if we're going to keep cutting employees, and we are threatening to cut the employees by 5 percent overall, that we should be first in line to do that," said Haggerty
On Monday commissioners will vote whether to allow elected leaders to volunteer a 5 percent salary cut first, just as many are now doing with two upcoming furlough days.
"I can see that people who work for elected officials probably would like to see them hurting as well but I don't think it's going to make a whole lot of difference," said Andersen.
And while Andersen thinks it's a nice gesture, many employees are still struggling to make ends meet, and it will only get harder if their paychecks get smaller.
Haggerty hopes his plan will help keep the burden off employees.
"Every thing is on the table. We're still considering an across the board budget 5 percent cut for all employees. It could be 4 percent or 3 percent depending on how much cooperation we get from elected officials to lower their salaries."