Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 8:47 pm | Fair 49º


Santa Barbara County’s Furlough Program Seen as Statewide Model

Other counties and cities in search of a fiscal solution want to know more about the 64-hour pay cut.

Santa Barbara County employees taking a 64-hour pay cut as part of a furlough program approved by the Board of Supervisors to help balance the county’s budget have garnered statewide attention from leaders throughout California as role models for civil servants during these turbulent economic times.

“We’re getting a lot of calls from other jurisdictions,” county Executive Officer Michael Brown said. “The governor’s office, the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Orange County and several others all want to know what we’re doing and how we did it.”

He said that “a lot of credit is due to the county’s work force” for recognizing the need and taking positive action to be a part of the solution. The 64-hour pay cut will help save about $10 million in salary expenditures. The money saved will be used to help preserve county programs and services for the public while also preserving jobs, Brown said.

As part of the furlough program, the county will close most nonessential business operations for eight days between Dec. 22 and Jan. 4. The county also will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

“The public’s safety was first in our minds as we developed the furlough program,” Brown said. “Law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services will not be impacted. Our sheriff’s deputies will be on patrol. Firefighters will be there to put out fires, and paramedics will be responding to medical emergencies.”

The county’s Public Health Department and the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Department will operate on modified schedules for various public services and clinics. The county’s animal shelters also will be on modified schedules, and the Public Works Department’s recycling and refuse stations will remain open.

Click here for a complete list of closure information.

About 80 percent of the county’s 4,200 employees are participating in the pay cut and furlough program, according to Assistant County Executive Officer Susan Paul. Brown and Paul, as well as all of the county’s executives and managers, are participating in the furlough, she said.

Paul, the county’s human resources director, and her team have been working for the past several months with union leaders and department directors to finalize the details for a program that was approved by the Board of Supervisors in October.

“We picked the eight days around the holidays as this is traditionally a slow time for the public doing business with the county, and it represented the least disruption to services,” Paul said. “It keeps us accountable and maintains our commitment to customer service for the public.”

William Boyer is Santa Barbara County‘s communications director.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >