The Monroe County Council is imposing a hiring freeze on all county employees until budget discussions for the 2011 budget year conclude.
A 15 percent decrease in income tax revenue will mean significant cuts in the county’s budget. Council President Geoff McKim released a letter last week asking department heads to voluntarily refrain from filling any open positions. Tuesday’s action from the council makes McKim’s suggestion mandatory. Councilman Vic Kelson said the freeze is an effort to protect against hiring employees only to axe those positions just five weeks later during budget discussions.
“Council needs to be able to have the option of leaving vacant positions vacant,” Kelson said. “Once some one is hired council is then faced with the choice of a position that perhaps we could live without but with a person in it now we’re facing the choice of laying someone off, taking away their livelihood and paying unemployment.”
Kelson called the measure a time-out from hiring non-essential staff. Some positions — such as those of police officers — are exempt from the rule.