Road commission cuts up to 20 employees for several weeks
The Grand Traverse County Road Commission will be cutting 10-20 employees at the end of the month.
According to Road Commission Manager Jim Cook, the cuts come at the end of March, the slowest time of the year for road commissions.
Between 10 and 20 employees will be cut for about 4-6 weeks as an "efficiency and cost cutting measure."
Cook says the spring frost this year and road temperatures will delay and serious preservation and maintenance on roads.
"Our priority is customer service and fixing roads," Cook said. "If we can save money during less productive times of the year to focus our dollars on fixing roads, it is a positive choice for the residents of Grand Traverse County."
The employees are aware the cuts are coming, but will be receiving the official notices on Thursday. Cook says the cuts will begin at the conclusion of the March 28 workday.
"It is typical that construction workers are laid off during less productive times of the year," Cook said. "April will be wet and, with the frost issues, it will be May before we can do any real road maintenance or preservation projects. If you consider how wet last fall was, October could be another less productive time of the year. We are anticipating between $100k and $150k savings as a result of these seasonal layoffs."
Union Representatives at Teamsters Local 214 declined to go on camera but provided a statement over the phone:
"The employer definitely has the right to lay people off if there are budget concerns," said Bob Donick. "However they cannot, at least in the opinion of the union, they cannot use seasonal employees if there are regular employees laid off."
Cook says that they would call back regular employees first if they needed to, but that there will already be adequate staff to maintain pothole patching operations and address emergencies.
Mechanics will not be impacted.