Sonoma County, local governments cut payrolls 4.7 percent in 2010

Payrolls for city and county governments in Sonoma County shrank last year, along with the size of the workforce, according to a data released Tuesday by the state Controller's Office.

Officials said the $32.2 million reduction in public wages and the slashing of 453 jobs came in response to the economic downturn, which reduced property and sales tax revenues.

"We had fewer resources," said Chris Thomas, a deputy Sonoma County administrator, prompting "cuts to services and workforce."

Jennifer Phillips, Santa Rosa's assistant city manager, said local governments throughout the state were forced to lay off workers and eliminate vacant jobs.

"I know of few cities that didn't have significant decreases in staffing," she said. "That's how we addressed the fiscal crisis."

There were 1,129 local government public employees earning $100,000 or more last year in Sonoma County, down from nearly 1,200 in 2009.

Sonoma County, by far the largest local agency, cut payroll spending to $288 million last year, down 7.8 percent from $312 million the year before, according to wage reports compiled by the state Controller's Office.

Thomas said the county had eliminated 350 positions in the past two budget years, fewer than the 479 job reduction cited by the controller's report. But the county also eliminated a number of temporary positions funded by federal stimulus money.

Mandatory time-off-without-pay policies adopted in 2009 and continued last year helped the county cut wage spending by $24 million, he said.

Santa Rosa's payroll was $101 million last year, 2.4 percent less than in 2009.

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