Merced County offices close for final furlough

Some Merced County offices and departments will be closed for furloughs next week, but officials said these are the final furlough days for the county.

“All the furloughs are expiring, so this is the last round of furloughs that we have,” said county management analyst Mike North. “While we’re still being careful, furloughs were only negotiated for the two years.”

Departments will be closed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for furloughs, North said, and on Wednesday for Christmas. Critical and mandated services such as public safety and social services programs won’t be affected by the furloughs, he said.

Departments that will be closed for furloughs next week include animal control, the district attorney’s office, parks and recreation and the public defender’s office.

All county offices will reopen Dec. 30 but will close again on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.

The Board of Supervisors approved labor agreements in November 2011 that implemented furloughs for noncritical county functions over a two-year period. The move saved the county about $2.5 million a year, according to county Chief Executive Officer Jim Brown.

The furloughs resulted in a pay cut up to 5 percent for county employees, but most of those salaries will be restored on Jan. 1.

“At this point, the county’s budget is looking a little better,” North said. “The economy is still a little uncertain and we are definitely being cautious over the next year or two.”

For more information about the furloughs, visit the county’s website at