More layoffs likely in county’s future

Long talked about budget cuts became a reality for Spokane County officials on Thursday as 40 to 50 county employees received layoff notices. County officials say more layoffs are on the way.

The economy has taken a toll on what Deric Martin loves to do. Martin has been a deputy prosecutor for the county since February of 2008.

“There’s not another type of legal work I’d want to do besides being a prosecutor,” said Martin.

But on Thursday Martin received a layoff notice from the county along with many others.

“I and seven other deputy prosecutors were told today by our employer, the county, that we were being laid off because of budget cuts,” he said.

It was a round of layoffs that Martin and others working for the county saw coming. Tim O’Brien. Spokane County’s Labor Relations Director, said there were 24 layoff notices between the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Facility, six in the parks department, one in the facilities department, eight in district court, and one in risk management.

Martin says the cuts will undoubtedly negatively impact public safety in Spokane County.

“The first effect is going to be individuals, people who are burglarized, people who have their cars broken into, people who own businesses and experience shoplifting and vandalism,” Martin said.

In the Prosecutors Office where Martin works, eight deputy prosecutors will lose their jobs and four prosecutor’s support staff have been notified of potential layoffs.

“In terms of the number of cases we’re going to be able to file, the number of cases we’re going to be able to bring to trial, the number of cases we’re going to be able to give our proper attention to — I think there’s no way but for it to take a hit under this system,” he said.

Martin said he took 12.5 percent pay cut and watched while other co-workers had their hours reduced to part-time. Despite the cuts, Deric says it’s all about showing up to the job he loves.

“It’s a type of legal practice you can be proud of, it’s the type of legal practice that really makes you feel like you’re making a positive difference,” said Martin.

The layoffs are scheduled for New Years Eve, that is unless unions and managers reach agreements on concessions in wages or work hours.