By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
With layoffs looming for some Jefferson County employees, at least one office will be able to maintain its staff.
Circuit Clerk John Scott announced Friday that one of his employees has volunteered to work 32 hours per week in order to protect two other employees who were scheduled to be laid off next week.
“I had one of my employees approach me and offer to take a voluntary layoff to help the two least senior people in my office keep their jobs, and one employee volunteered to go to a 32-hour work week to avoid any layoffs in my office,” Scott said.
Charlotte Modlin is the employee being credited for taking fewer hours, which has been endorsed by the American Federal of State and County Municipal Employees union. Another employee, Mia Bernard, volunteered to take a reduction of a 32-hour work week, which was not necessary. As a result Modlin and the two people slated to be laid off, will work 32 hours per week.
Scott said the move has also received the blessing of County Board Chairman Robert White.
“He [White] was on board with it 100 percent,” Scott said.
Scott said the acts of sacrifice by his veteran employees makes him proud.
“It caught me off guard. It welled up a lot of pride in me that I have employees that are that concerned about their fellow workers, and concerned about the office and the citizens of Jefferson County. They knew with the reduction of two people with as busy as this office is everybody was going to suffer — the staff, the courts and the citizens. I’m very proud of them. It makes me feel good,” Scott said. “Compromise and working together is how good government should work to benefit the taxpayer.”
With the reduction in hours for those employees, Scott said he is disbursing the workload in the civil department to other employees and himself.
“I’ve already been putting in extra hours in trying to prepare for these upcoming layoffs,” Scott said. “Obviously, we’ll be in better shape with them staying 32 hours, but it’s still going to be burdensome to the office with the reduction in hours.”
Dorothy Porter, administrative assistant at the Jefferson County Animal Shelter, previously agreed to a 32-hour work week.
There are nine employees in the Circuit Clerk’s office — the same number that existed during Scott’s two terms.
“Gene Bolerjack was here for 18 years, and I’ve been here going on seven and there’s always been at least nine full time employees,” Scott said.
Countywide layoffs are expected to be implemented on Friday. Most of the layoffs — caused by the departure of ICE inmates at the Justice Center — are in the sheriff’s department where 28 people have received layoff notices, including four deputies, 23 correctional officers and one dispatcher. Layoff notices were also given to employees in the state’s attorney and supervisor of assessments offices. No layoffs will occur in the county clerk’s office since two people have recently vacated positions.
White said previously he hopes the situation can be reversed by reestablishing the housing of ICE detainees at the Jefferson County Justice Center, and that the issues can be resolved by the next full board meeting Jan. 28.