I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Budget Cut Meeting in Recess Until April 29, 4PM

The vote on a list of recommended cuts that was supposed to occur Monday April 21st will not happen until Tuesday April 29th. While most of the Board have studied the proposed cuts in-depth, some lingering issues remain. I, like my counterparts on the board, continue to receive phone calls and emails from constituents regarding these cuts. I would like to hear more before I vote. I am of the opinion that the general public should be heard, and lingering issues need to be addressed before the vote is taken to accept the proposed cuts. Also, some last minute edits were made to the staffing allocation table, and the revised version was put in my office just yesterday, the day of the meeting. I need more time to go through that document. With lingering questions, last minute edits, and a lot of angst over these cuts, I felt it to be prudent to request that we recess the meeting for a week--giving all of the board ample time to look at the revised staffing allocation and the personnel planning document. My fellow board members agreed, voting 5-0 to re-convene the meeting April 29th at 4PM. Hopefully, the meeting on April 29th will be short, focused, and to the point. I believe that at this stage, everyone is aware that no more easy decisions remain. Drastic cuts will be made, students will be impacted, and many positions will be eliminated. My shared wage concession proposal fell on deaf ears, and so therefore the students will not be held harmless, and some employees will lose their jobs. Of course I would have preferred to achieve savings via wage concessions rather than cutting student programs. I voiced that position at the table, and my proposal was shot down. Now that I know my proposal will not fly, I feel it is important to move forward with accepting the recommended cuts because I feel that at this stage the Administration and Board should move forward with a unified voice. Hopefully, no new issues will spring up between now and April 29th to dissuade me of this perspective.

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