County cuts mediation, more

07/29/2010

Fifteen county employees, two low-income health services and $5.4 million were cut on Monday as supervisors scrambled to meet the proposed $437 million budget. Marin Mediation Services was dissolved, but supervisors say some of its responsibilities will be absorbed by the District Attorney’s consumer protection operation. The county gynecology program was also cut from the budget—this service will be picked up by Marin Community Clinic. Union representatives asked the board to draw from a $100 million reserve fund to avoid the layoffs, but were informed that the board does not use one-time funds to pay for ongoing costs as a matter of policy. Barbara Kob, who lost her job as head of the mediation program, says it is a disastrous mistake to put the service in the hands of the District Attorney. “It’s not a difference of apples and oranges,” she said. “It’s apples and zebras.” Cutting the program and transferring one employee to the DA’s office will save the county about $180,000. Supervisors are expected to eliminate more programs, and most likely target similar services and subsidies for the poor.