Nine Door County employees, out of an original eleven scheduled to be laid off to meet a shortfall in the county budget for next year, will keep their jobs because a majority of their co-workers voted to make contributions to their health insurance & retirement funds, even though they didn’t have to. The employees, members of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees are operating under a contract approved before the state legislature limited collective bargaining rights. The action was supposed to give units of government the ability to make up for lost state revenue by requiring employees to pay more for their benefits. Door County Administrator Mike Serpe attempted to get the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission to consider a county request to revisit the matter of insurance & retirement benefits, but the commission essentially begged off. With that in mind, Serpe put together a list of eleven individuals who would be sacrificed to meet budgetary needs. News of the layoffs came Monday & the union voted 41 to 17 to make the concessions. The two staffers who will be laid off, work for the community programs & social services departments.
Speaking of layoffs, the Highway Department will be laid off “en masse”, on three occasions during the year to save money & forestall layoffs. Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej will decide when the entire staff will be on what amounts to short term unpaid leave.