WatchSonoma Watch
Sebastopol to cut general fund spending 2.3 percent

Sebastopol city employees have agreed to a pay freeze and to contribute a greater share of pension and health care costs in exchange for additional paid time off as part of new contracts with City Hall. The city also plans to dip into reserves and cut funding to eight local nonprofits.

Federal workers brace for government shutdown

As budget talks moved slowly in Washington, 1,600 federal employees in Sonoma County are preparing for the possibility that the government may shut down this weekend. Many of them will be spared from unpaid furloughs, thanks to their essential military or safety roles. But others may have to face the news that they may be sent home or their paychecks delayed.

97 teaching jobs at risk in Sonoma County

More than 97 teaching positions across Sonoma County could be eliminated next fall as school districts seek to weather reductions in state financial support. Today is the deadline to notify tenured and probationary teachers that their jobs are at risk. Many districts are choosing to impose up to eight furlough days rather than pink-slipping more employees.

Santa Rosa DMV wait times actually improving

It may be hard to believe, but wait times at the DMV are showing signs of modest improvement, following a period in which the lines seemed to grow longer by the month. Last month, 14 percent of customers waited more than an hour, down from 16 percent a year ago. The agency attributes the improvement to the end of furlough days.

Two more unions at Santa Rosa City Hall accept furloughs

Middle managers and city engineers agreed to take unpaid furloughs to help the city balance its budget. But city workers are losing patience. “We’ve given our last drop of blood,” said Dave Gossman, who represents 190 workers in Operating Engineers Local 3.

County government gears up for extended holiday closures

Many county offices will be closed or reducing their hours over a two-week period around Christmas and New Years as part of an effort to trim county labor costs. See which offices will go dark over the holidays.

Final group of county workers accepts furloughs

Mechanics, heavy-equipment operators and building maintenance workers this week became the final group of Sonoma County employees to accept a cost-saving — and job-saving — deal. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 agreed to a package of mandatory days off without pay, salary freezes and a halt in staff development spending.

Santa Rosa council praises employees for accepting furloughs

Members of the Santa Rosa City Employees Association were lauded by the Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday for agreeing to take the equivalent of one unpaid day off every month to help the city balance its budget. The city hopes to use the agreement as a model for concessions from other union workers.

Santa Rosa’s largest union approves furloughs

The vote was overwhelming: 93 percent of its members agreed to take one unpaid day off every month. The one-year contract will reduce pay for members of the Santa Rosa City Employees Association by 4.6 percent.

Santa Rosa strikes deal on furloughs with largest union

The City of Santa Rosa and the leaders of its largest union have struck a tentative deal calling for workers to take one unpaid furlough day per month, a concession long-sought by city officials struggling to close a $3.8 million deficit. City officials hopes the deal will jump-start ongoing negotiations with other unions.

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