Hardin Co. commission votes to lay off 60 percent of workers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Hardin Co. commission votes to lay off 60 percent of workers

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By Julia Bruck - bioemail

HARDIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Leaders in Hardin County make some tough choices. 

The State of Illinois owes Hardin county $250,000.  It may not seem like a lot of money, but for one of the smallest counties in the state, it is a large part of the reason many will soon be without jobs.

On this day Hardin County Treasure, Kim Lamar works on payroll.  However, come the end of the month Lamar will have no money to pay county employees.  In preparation for that day, county commissioners announced layoffs across the board.  This means, 60 percent of county employees will be out of work April 30.  However, that is not all.

"I've never heard of this, elected officials are going to work on a voucher.  We are not even going to pay them," County Board Chairman Wayne Eichorn said.

Eichorn said they have taken several measures to avoid staff cuts, including borrowing money.  Commissioner Larry Steward added the county also delayed vendor payments in order to keep employees.

"We tried to choose the local people to pay them and make payments to vendors that we owe.  But salaries, we tried to keep our payroll up to pay the people," Steward said.  

Eichorn said they hoped those efforts would keep folks working until Illinois paid up.  However, those dollars still have yet to arrive.  This means come May 1 County Supervisor of Assessments Joyce Austin will be without a deputy and to keep the county functioning, will work for free.  

"I intend to do my job to the best of my ability.  But how long can I afford to do that I don't know," Austin said.  

County commissioners say they plan to move the states attorney's office into the courthouse to save on utility dollars.  At the same time, commissioners may close the courthouse a few days a week as another effort to keep utility costs down.

However, once the money runs out at the end of the month, the question remains just how long elected and appointed officials can do their job for no pay, before they will have to look somewhere else.

Hardin County commissioners also said the sheriff's department would operate with a skeleton crew in order to maintain the jail and public safety.

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