Tulare County to Consider Suspension of Furlough Program for Fiscal Year 2011-12

August 25, 2011

Tulare County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau announced today the 40-hour furlough program could be suspended for Fiscal Year 2011-12 pending approval from the Board of Supervisors during September’s budget hearings, and subject to any meet and confer obligations with the County’s bargaining units.

“Tulare County is in a position to suspend the furlough program due to a small increase in our fund balance that provides one-time funds,” Rousseau said. “We appreciate the patience of all our employees during these tough financial times and are hopeful this proposal to suspend the furlough program can be of assistance to them.”

Rousseau said the increase in fund balance is enough to suspend the furlough program for Tulare County’s 4,000 employee workforce this fiscal year only. County employees will still be impacted with the elimination of the sick leave buyback program and step and merit increases for Fiscal Year 2011-12.

“Suspending the furlough program enhances public service, while allowing our employees to receive their entire salaries,” Rousseau said.

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved the 40-hour unpaid furlough program for themselves and County employees for the last three fiscal years – including the current 2011-12 Fiscal Year. The 40-hour - equivalent to five 8-hour days in one fiscal year - unpaid furlough equates to a 1.923 percent salary reduction and approximately $3 million in savings countywide.

If the Board of Supervisors approves the suspension of the furlough program, employees will be reimbursed for the furlough-related deductions that have been taken this fiscal year and the deductions will discontinue for the remainder of the year. If approved, the Board’s decision would be effective immediately for unrepresented employees; however, on August 24 the County requested to meet and confer with affected bargaining units over suspending the furlough program for represented employees.