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Commissioners Say 'No' to Furloughs

Clayton County Commissioners respond to Chairman Eldrin Bell's 2010 budget recommendations, in which Bell called for across-the-board furloughs of all county employees in addition to layoffs. Vice Chairman Wole Ralph, along with Commissioners Singleton, Hambrick and Edmondson, release the following statement:

"In an effort to alleviate anxiety and provide clarity to Clayton County citizens regarding the chairman's budget proposals, we feel it necessary to address the major areas of concern -- employee layoffs and furloughs -- and the negative impact such actions would have on services, especially in the area of public safety.

We believe that protection of life and property is the highest priority of any government. In our opinion, by recommending layoffs in addition to furloughs of all full-time employees -- including those in police, fire, sheriff and ambulance services -- the chairman's proposals increase the risk of loss of life and property. Therefore, we do not intend to support the chairman's call for across-the-board cuts in personnel.

Rather, we believe that by working with the chief of staff, the finance director and other county staff, we can identify a combination of measures designed to produce a budget that will not require layoffs and furloughs of employees, especially those involved in protecting our lives and property. Those measures could include some increased revenue, an increase in employee contributions to their benefits package, and continued reorganization designed to improve efficiency.

It is important that the decisions we make address our current economic circumstance without sacrificing the safety and well-being of our citizens, and position our county for the future. We must look at services provided and weigh their value versus cost to the community. Clayton County taxpayers presently pay approximately $8 million annually to subsidize C-Tran. C-Tran will cause on-going budgetary pressure. Therefore, we will ask the taxpayers of this county to vote on the continued funding of C-Tran in September. Our financial review will not be limited to C-Tran. We intend to leverage every taxpayer dollar to its maximum benefit.

Finally, we would like to say thanks to the hundreds of citizens who have called and asked that we take a stand for public safety in this county. We want to let you know that your voices have been heard."

Wole Ralph

Vice-chairman

Gail B. Hambrick

Commissioner

Sonna Singleton

Commissioner

Michael L. Edmondson

Commissioner