Since shortly after the first of this year, employees have shared their concerns with my office about rumored plans for layoffs due to mismanagement by Pima County's administration. The current status of Pima County's finances was predictable and wholly avoidable.
Over the years, Supervisor Miller has offered solutions to avoid the layoffs that appear to be in the works. From offering plans to trim nonessential programs and expenses, to suggesting a hiring freeze, Supervisor Miller had hoped common sense solutions would be considered by her fellow supervisors and County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.
Rather than consider humane and common-sense alternatives, the majority of Board members and Mr. Huckelberry sought bond approvals from weary and cash strapped Pima County residents. Despite the fact that the residents cannot and will not support incurring more debt, County leaders spent hard-earned tax dollars promoting efforts to raise taxes.
Even after voters soundly rejected a bond package in the November 2018 General Election, Mr. Huckelberry called on the Board to approve a speculative investment scheme in Kino Sports Park. The scheme was approved by the Board while knowing that layoffs were planned.
"It is extremely unfortunate the problem of excess headcount in the Pima County department of transportation wasn't addressed long before it became necessary to take action that results in disruptive employee layoffs," stated Supervisor Miller. "I have proposed reducing the headcount in the department of transportation for years because the majority of the pavement preservation work was outsourced. The department of transportation budget had grown to $43 million for salaries and overhead. It makes no sense to have grown the department to the point that HURF/VLT monies meant to be used for road repairs were simply funding the department salaries and overhead."
"I submitted a plan last year to accomplish this same result through attrition vs hiring more employees as retirements occurred. I proposed a hiring freeze as well as moving employees to other jobs as retirements occurred. Had this plan been implemented funds could have been reallocated or employees relocated to other departments without the need for layoffs. This lack of planning coupled with the continual nonessential spending has caused the need for employee layoffs."
"I am deeply saddened for the employees whose lives have been devastated and I only wish this could have been done differently," concluded Supervisor Miller.
The chart below shows the HURF and VLT monies received by the County since 2015: