Hundreds of county workers could face layoffs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Hundreds of county workers could face layoffs

In what could be a radical decision to balance the Shelby County budget, A C Wharton may be forced to layoff hundreds of workers.   

According to high-ranking administrators, Wharton called in all of his division directors Tuesday morning. They said he told them they might have to lay off up to 300 employees across the board to balance the budget.

"Certainly we're going to have to look at personnel to make the cuts that we have to make," commissioner Mike Carpenter said.

Just last week, Wharton warned county commissioners his proposed $1.13 billion dollar proposed budget for next year had a deficit of more than $20 million.

Commissioners told Wharton they would like to see a balanced version of the budget.

"The mayor is going to give us a balanced budget.  We'll be able to consider the pros and cons," Carpenter said.

With more than 80 percent of the budget required by law, the two options to balance the budget were either an 18 cent property tax increase or layoffs.

"We all know that the city of Memphis is talking about a tax increase and we certainly don't want to double up," Carpenter said.

All divisions would be effected, from community and health services to public works and corrections.

However, commissioners have not yet voted on a decision.

"If in fact it is determined that jobs will be lost, I think that we'll do that in a way that is compassionate," Carpenter said.

With the uncertainty, they have not ironed out details on how employees would be transitioned out of jobs.

The mayor was in Nashville Monday.

On Saturday, he will show county commissioners the updated budget during a pre-budget retreat, when they will crunch numbers in a high-level budget review.

The fiscal year begins July 1st.

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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