2013-10-03 / Front Page

Tough county decisions are delayed until Oct. 29

After hearing two hours of impassioned appeals, the county board of supervisors put off a decision on employee layoffs and furloughs until a special meeting on Oct. 29.

On Tuesday, county manager Rick Benson recommended the immediate layoff of county extra-help employees along with a cut on funding for local visitor centers. If the board of supervisors had endorsed the move, it would have likely shut all county branch libraries along with the Mariposa and Coulterville visitor centers.

Multiple speakers pleaded with the board on Tuesday afternoon not to allow county libraries to close. Other department heads, along with Sheriff Doug Binnewies, asked supervisors to spare their operations.

Along with the Mariposa library, county branches in Yosemite Valley and El Portal are now serving as critical communication hubs for National Park Service and Delaware North Companies employees, retired CAL FIRE employee Orlando Virgil told the board.

"Now those employees are using library terminals to file for unemployment (benefits)," he said. "Shutting them down is going to create an unusual hardship for these workers."

If the federal government shutdown extends to Oct. 29, the board will consider halting all discretionary spending as well as well as layoffs for extra-help workers and Friday furloughs for close to 400 county employees. 

Several supervisors on Tuesday spoke in favor of a wait-and-see approach before settling on any cuts.

"We need to take a step back, evaluate, and not make the situation any worse," supervisor John Carrier said.

Read the Thursday, Oct. 10 MARIPOSA GAZETTE for more on local fallout from the continuing federal government shutdown.

--Erik Skindrud/GAZETTE Editor

Mariposa County Supervisors include, from left, Merlin Jones, John Carrier, Janet Bibby, Kevin Cann and Lee Stetson. Photo: Mariposa CountyMariposa County Supervisors include, from left, Merlin Jones, John Carrier, Janet Bibby, Kevin Cann and Lee Stetson. Photo: Mariposa County

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