Park rangers, probation officers and workers with child
protective services workers will lose their jobs. Sheriff's
deputies could too. There will be hundreds of layoffs in all,
helping close what started as a $180 million deficit.
The hearing started with hours of
number-crunching. Officials were trying to figure out how much
money they could put back into the budget. That came out to
around $23 million to shift around. The sheriff got most
of it but still faces another round of deputy
layoffs. The District Attorney and Probation departments took
big hits too. And when the final budget came up for a vote,
Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan announced she would oppose
MacGlashan: "This budget tells
the residents of the unincorporated area, you're on your
own. Public safety is most fundamental reason for having local
government, and I cannot vote for a budget that causes this county
to fail in meeting that fundamental responsibility."
Supervisor Jimmee Yee jumped in to point out that the Board
had put $22.5 million out of the $23 million available for
restorations into the sheriff, DA and probation departments.
Yee: "I think this board has
done very good as far as providing what little money we have
available primarily to public safety."
But Supervisor Roger Dickinson said he would also vote no
- for the completely opposite reason of MacGlashan.
Dickinson: "This budget, in my
estimation, tells those who are the most vulnerable in our
community - the young, the old, the sick, the poor, that they are
the forgotten, overlooked and continue to have no presence of any
significance before this board."
I support public safety too, Dickinson said - but the county
can't abdicate all its other responsibilities to exclusively fund
At that point, the budget was up in the air. One more no
vote would send everyone back to the drawing board. You could
feel the tension in the room. Then, Supervisor Don Nottoli
said he wasn't planning to speak before he voted - but now felt
Nottoli: "Yeah, there's a lot of
compromises in here. And the bottom line is, is that there is
not sufficient funding. There's lots of things I could
certainly take a stab at and say, I don't like it, we oughta do it
differently. On the other hand, I think we have a
responsibility to approve a budget, to meet our fiduciary
responsibilities and to do it in the best way possible."
And Supervisor Susan Peters echoed those remarks, adding her
disappointment about the two no-votes.
Peters: "I think we have done
our duty with the money that we have. And I will vote for
this. I'm not excited about it. I wish we had another - a
lot more money to spend on things important to us. But we have to
do the best we can. And I wish we were all going forward
Then, moments later:
Clerk to the Board of Supervisors:
"Three aye votes, Supervisors MacGlashan and Dickinson voting
no, motion carries."
And in those few seconds, Sacramento County's nightmare budget
process came to an end - at least for a few months.