More layoffs for Harris County

March 10, 2010 2:38:31 PM PST
Eyewitness News was the first to bring you details of layoffs in Harris County. This morning we learned dozens in the county's Information Technology Center will be losing their jobs. Employees with the county's Health Department met throughout the afternoon about the budget problems. At the county internet technology center, computers and wires may take up most of the space, but it's the people who make them run. But with the latest round of budget cuts, there will be fewer people doing the job.

"We'll have to do a staff reduction to realign to support the needs of the county," said Bruce High, Harris County's Chief Information Officer. "It is tough."

High says his budget was slashed by $2 million, so his department will need to cut 10 percent of its staff of 278, sooner rather than later.

He said, "Every pay period we go through is an amount of money that we won't see back."

While High insists taxpayers won't notice a difference in service, it's likely you'll notice other things around county buildings -- perhaps some overgrown landscaping, or dirtier windows.

"We're scaling back on things like janitorial, landscaping, windows and pressure washing facilities," explained Harris County Facilities Director Kevin Hoffman. "All these types of things are on the table as we consider what to do to adjust to this budget."

Hoffman says his budget is also down $2 million, and he'd much rather water fewer lawns than lay off workers, though long-time county employees seemed resigned to the impending changes.

"I hate to see it happen, but we do what you got to do," said Harris County employee Karen Urie.

The health department is still trying to decide who will be out of a job, but it's clear that everyone in Harris County will need to find some ways to save money.

"It's just a sign of the times," said Chief JC Mosier with the Precinct 1 Constable's Office. "We're all going to have to do our part to tighten up the budget strings that we have."


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