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County Board of Supervisors approves cost-saving measures including hiring freezes

Coronavirus Kern County
Posted at 5:14 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 20:14:43-04

BAKERFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to approve cost-saving measures amid COVID-19 including hiring freezes, suspending non-essential spending, and a freeze on flexible promotions.

"We're already in the worst economic downturn in this country since the Great Depression of the 1930s," said County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop. "We are right in the middle of the largest spike of unemployment of all U.S, history by quite a large margin."

During its afternoon meeting today, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved several steps to cut costs as the county says revenue losses could hit between $39 million and $72 million this fiscal year and $31 million and $82 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Kern County unemployment has been projected to be above 30% according to the County Administrative Office.

Alsop said these measures could change in the coming month and federal, state, and local officials work to maintain the economy amid the coronavirus.

Short-term changes include across-the-board salary reductions, mandatory furloughs and early retirement incentives, according to the county.

The County Administrative Office said they are also looking at freezing all step increments through June 30, 2021. these salary reductions would not begin immediately but postpone future salary increases.

Longer-term actions could include a restructuring of the employee compensation model, increasing employee retirement and healthcare contributions and eliminating retirement supplements and stipend programs.