67% of Jefferson County's workforce may be placed on unpaid leave

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Commission voted Tuesday not to lay off 207 laborers, but Commission president Bettye Fine Collins said the county will seek to put 67% of the county's 3,000 member workforce on administrative leave by August 1st in an effort to reduce costs.

The four commissioners present Tuesday voted for the unpaid leave instead of laying off the laborers as it had originally planned.  The move allows the employees to keep their health benefits and gives the county the option of reinstating the employees if its financial problems are resolved.

The commission also voted unamimously to suspend merit pay raises.

The commission is cutting millions of dollars from its budget after a judge earlier this year ruled the county's occupational tax unconstitutional.