County can't guarantee next paycheck

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County workers got paid Friday, but county commissioners said they cannot guarantee future pay checks will be paid.

"It is armageddon," said Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Carns. "When you start talking about the items right now. You can't get any worse than this other than putting a lock on the front door."

Acting Finance Director Travis Hulsey said Friday the county is facing tough times. "We are looking at the start of month with two million dollars," said Hulsey. "At the end of the pay period and the remainder of the month."

News of pay problems upset county workers Friday.

"When I came to the county, a secure job, it was supposed to always be there," said John Burgett, a worker in Roads and Transportation. "Now this is coming on. I don't know what to do about it."

The county and the Jefferson County Employees Association set up information sessions earlier this week for job training, counseling, unemployment benefits and health insurance. Still, Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said administrative leave will save jobs.

"I hope they do understand at least we are giving them a way that they will have a job to come back to if the legislature decides this or Alabama Supreme Court," said Collins.

Commissioner Carns said if the county fails to get a new occupational tax, county employees now on leave could lose their jobs.

Jefferson County workers said they are considering their options.

"I climbed trees as a profession," Burgett said. "I'm going to have to climb and cut trees, I guess."