Construction slow down triggers Nevada County layoffs |

Construction slow down triggers Nevada County layoffs

A decline in new construction and remodels has forced the county to eliminate nine positions, nearly one third of its building department staff.

Two other positions also are being eliminated in the environmental health department because of the loss of new well and septic tank permits ” bringing the total to 11 county positions.

“We have done everything we can to carry the employees through the downturn,” said Steve DeCamp, Community Development Agency director who oversees six departments.

“The downturn has been very deep,” DeCamp said. The construction market took a “nose dive” last fall, he said.

The building department is attempting to find new jobs for the eight people whose positions were eliminated. In the other cases, vacancies are not being filled.

Though building staff has managed to stay whole in recent years, it’s not the first time the county has had to cut positions in other departments.

“We’ve eliminated positions like this before. We do it periodically if certain funding streams dry up,” said county executive officer Rick Haffey.

Cutbacks of a similar scale occurred in 2004-2005 because of an economic downturn and reduction in state funding, Haffey said. About 25 positions were eliminiated in 2002-2003, he said.

Further county cutbacks are not anticipated “in the near future,” Haffey said. He added, however, that the county is keeping a close watch on the state budget shortfall proceedings.

The cutbacks come only months after across-the-board pay raises were granted to union and nonunion workers, as well as mangers including Haffey.

He defended the raises as a means to remain “competitive” in the job market and not lose workers to other counties.

The latest round of county cutbacks were not announced.

A reader notified The Union of the cuts after reading an article about the county district attorney’s office planning to relocate from the courthouse to a new private building in downtown Nevada City for $9,645 per month.

“How about an argument against leasing office space when eight layoff notices were issued last week in the building department alone,” the reader said.

County supervisors meet today at their regularly scheduled meeting at the Rood Center to consider the DA’s lease agreement.

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