MontCo Cuts 10 Jobs, Suspends Voter ID Program
Moves intended to 'increase efficiency' expected to save county up to $500K annually; Voter ID issuance program distributed just 68 identification cards
Montgomery County on Thursday eliminated ten positions in its Assets and Infrastructure department, which was formed last May through the amalgamation of the Public Property, Roads and Bridges, and Parks and Heritage Services departments. The ten positions are in the Public Property and Roads and Bridges divisions and comprise about $560,000 in annual salary.
Montgomery County Board of Commissioners chairman Josh Shapiro said the job cuts in Roads and Bridges are part of a move to consolidate the management of the more than 150 bridges and 90 miles of roads owned by the county. The cuts in Public Property are the result of efforts to "crosstrain" that division's employees and "increase efficiency." The moves are expected to save the county between $300,000 and $500,000 annually, Shapiro said, "depending how further reforms shake out."
"We know that each position represents an individual who is losing his or her job," Shapiro said. "Each one of these actions tears at me personally and causes me to lose sleep ... we understand the consequences, and we do not make these moves lightly or in a cavalier manner."
Among those who lost their jobs is Assets and Infrastructure deputy director Donald Colosimo, who took a $4,000 pay cut when Roads and Bridges moved into the new department. Colosimo, who earned $72,000 per year, had been with the county for 17 years.
Commissioner Bruce Castor said the moves were part of the administration's efforts to deal with the "excesses of the previous administration."
"The financial needs of the county are so great that the medicine necessary to correct them is going to be difficult to swallow in the short term. This is something that I believe is necessary for the execution of good government," Castor said.
Voter ID program to be suspended
The county also announced the suspension of its Voter ID issuance program, which it launched under the auspices of its Parkhouse nursing facility earlier this month. The day after the program was announced, a Commonwealth court judge issued an injunction against the portions of the state's controversial Voter ID law that would have required voters to display identification before casting ballots on Nov. 6.
"All indications are that no appeal will be taken prior to the election," said county solicitor Ray McGarry. "In fact, the Commonwealth has spent considerable sums of money updating their advertising campaign to let people know that no Voter ID card will be necessary on Election Day this year."
Only 68 county ID cards were issued through the program, McGarry said.