By David Martin

County may initiate hiring freeze


April 19, 2017

With the Sweetwater County Commissioners asking county agencies to cut their budget requests by 10 percent, other means of keeping costs down during the next fiscal year are being investigated.

One of those means is the initiation of a hiring freeze throughout the county. During Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners decided an in-depth discussion about a hiring freeze is needed.

Chairman Reid West said initiating a hiring freeze could either be across the county’s different departments, or the commissioners could be more “surgical” about how they initiate the freeze.

West said some situations he could understand being exempt from the freeze, such as a situation where the Sweetwater County Detention Center would need to hire more guards to maintain its compliance with federal guidelines.

“Yes, we need a broader discussion,” Commissioner Randy Wendling said.

Wendling said the county will have a new building opening during the next year and the commissioners should discuss how that will impact their budget.

Commissioner Wally Johnson said the commissioners should get input from the other elected officials serving the county.

He said any hiring freeze would have to be selective because some positions are too important to leave unfilled. He also said the last option the commissioners should consider is laying off county staff.

Commissioner John Kolb also added input to the conversation, saying they should define what essential personnel are for the county while discussing the hiring freeze.

“It’s time to for us to address a hiring freeze or something else,” Commissioner Don Van Matre said.


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