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Move to save 10 Essex County jobs fails

Absent Minerva supervisor was swing vote

Jobs were a major sticking point for many supervisors during the budget process, and a main topic at the Dec. 5 public hearing on the proposed 2012 spending plan.

Jobs were a major sticking point for many supervisors during the budget process, and a main topic at the Dec. 5 public hearing on the proposed 2012 spending plan. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— An effort to save the jobs of 10 Essex County employees fell short Dec. 27.

Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow, who moved the resolution to re-instate the 9.6 positions affecting 10 employees, said that he was surprised more supervisors did not vote in favor of the measure.

“It would cost us money to get rid of these people,” Morrow said. ”I think this is pretty much done now unless we could figure out another way.”

Morrow said that if the resolution would have passed, he was going to suggest using the money budgeted for unemployment and other benefit funds to pay for the positions. His motion included further discussion on employee funding at the board’s Jan. 3 meeting.

Minerva Supervisor Sue Montgomery-Corey was absent from the end of the annual meeting of the Essex County Supervisors, where supervisors voted by a weighted total 1,448-1,395 against a resolution to pursue saving the 10 positions eliminated from the 2012 budget.

Corey’s 64 weighted votes, while absent celebrating Christmas with family, were counted with those against the measure. In Essex County, in order to have the weighted vote count, representatives must be present to cast a vote; otherwise, it is listed as absent and counted as a no vote.

Had she been present for the vote, Corey said she would have voted to approve the amendment and keep the county positions and the resolution to save the jobs would have passed by a tally of 1,459 in favor to 1,384 against. In all, 1,422 weighted votes are needed for a simple majority.

“I respect the thought process behind the other supervisors’ decisions and how they came to their votes, but I am disappointed with the outcome,” Corey said.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors’ Layoff Review Committee finished its task of eliminating 10 positions after the first meeting Dec. 19, along with the elimination of 11 positions that had not been filled during 2011.

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