Government
2:01 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

County Controller's Office Could Sustain Layoffs Due to Budget Cut

The Allegheny County Controller's office is warning of possible layoffs it would sustain if County Council passes the 2013 operating budget proposed by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

At Council's Budget and Finance Committee meeting Wednesday, Deputy County Controller Amy Griser said her office could be forced to lay off as many as twenty employees if the 10 percent cut goes through. Griser said the Fitzgerald plan would put the County Controller budget at $5.7 million, roughly $650,000 less than the current allocation.

"We know that there are going to be some union increases, potentially some health care premium increases," said Griser. "We've been crunching numbers and trying to see where we can save, but if that number is ultimately adopted by this Council, there could be upwards to twenty layoffs in the Controller's office."

Griser said the Fitzgerald administration has not given any consistent recommendations as to how County Controller Chelsa Wagner should deal with the 10 percent cut. The deputy controller said she's never seen this level of scrutiny in the budget process after nine years in county government.

"We certainly welcome it, and I think that it's a good process, other than I'm not sure I understand why the Controller's office is being singled out, especially when it represents less than one percent of the total operating budget," said Griser.

An alternate budget proposal from Councilman William Robinson would give the Controller's office $6.1 million.

"Although that is $250,000 less than the current year adopted budget, through some austerity, some cutting, and some savings that we have been able to find, it will be difficult, but we think we can live within that appropriation level," said Griser. She said that funding level would allow the office to keep all of its employees.

A third budget plan from Councilman Michael Finnerty would give the office roughly $5.9 million for the year, which Griser said would still result in some layoffs. At Wednesday's meeting, Council voted to hold off on most specific budget talks until next week.