The Hall County Board of Commissioners approved its Expense Reduction Plan and discussed details of the employee furloughs, part of the plan, at its Thursday meeting.
Interim County Administrator Charley Nix said after discussions this week with department heads, everyone agreed that shutting down all county offices for one day every month is the simplest way to handle the newly approved one day per month furlough for all county employees.
He said rather than trying to coordinate hundreds of schedules and departments that often work together, the best way to handle the mandatory day off without pay is for offices to completely close one day a month.
"We’re trying to take a day and attach it to an already existing holiday," Nix said. "It takes a negative and makes it a positive."
Nix said the public shouldn’t be inconvenienced by county offices being closed an extra day before or after a holiday when they normally would be closed.
The furlough will save Hall County about $1.7 million.
Along with the employee furlough, the Expense Reduction Plan includes other cost-saving measures, such as eliminating unplanned overtime, eliminating promotions to fill vacancies and offering voluntary layoffs.Those who choose to leave voluntarily will quit working for a specified time, but will be able to keep benefits and be guaranteed their position back after that time period has ended.
The county also will extend previous money-saving efforts such as the hiring freeze for noncritical positions and a hold on capital purchases.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for achieving its recertification from the state.
LaGrange Police Chief Louis M. Dekmar presented an award to Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic and listed the criteria the office had to meet to get the certification. He said the Hall County Sheriff’s Office exceeded those requirements.
Of more than 700 law enforcement agencies in the state, less than 100 have achieved state certification, Dekmar said.
"The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is an outstanding agency that provides superior local service (and) enjoys tremendous community support. Its success is because of the strength of its employees and the leadership of its sheriff," Dekmar said.