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In response to county budget crisis, Hamilton Co. prosecutor announces furloughs, pay cuts

Entire staff to take 2-week furlough; some longer
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Posted at 2:46 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 14:52:07-04

CINCINNATI — Joining other local government agencies, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters' office will soon furlough employees, some for as long as three months, and issue some pay decreases.

Deters made the announcement in a news release Thursday afternoon. The prosecutor told WCPO he has taken a pay reduction of $50,000 and plans to reduce his salary by another 10%.

"It's one of the toughest decisions I've had to make as prosecutor," Deters told WCPO. "Everyone is taking a two-week furlough especially while these courts are not in session."

Deters said the extended furloughs will mean a roughly 10% reduction in his staff for the next weeks and possibly months. Of his 200 employees, everyone will take a two-week temporary leave, with about 20 whose furloughs will extend longer. That will mean some adjustments to how the office operates, Deters said.

"We have to work leaner and smarter and with less money," he said. "That's what we have to do, and we're going to do our best."

At the same time, though, courts require representatives from his office. "This office is unique in that we literally must staff every courtroom for the judges. We need a minimum amount of prosecutors to be able to do our job."

For Deters, who has spent decades in the prosecutor's office, the furloughs are personal.

"It's one of those things that's very difficult. I've known some of these people 30-plus years, and it's really hard. It really is," he said.

A day before Deters' announcement, Hamilton County Administrator Jeff Aluotto announced that 10% of the county's 2,000 general fund employees would go on temporary leave. The furloughs are meant to fight a looming $40-60 million gap in the county's budget.