The first county union to decide on wage concessions has chosen unpaid holidays to save the job of one employee.
Twenty-four deputy county sheriffs voted unanimously Monday night to take five unpaid holidays, said Deputy Charles E. Nelson, treasurer of the Fraternal Orderof Police Lodge 106, which represents the deputies.
Nelson said the concession will cost members an average of about $550 each.
For that price, the deputies saved the job of one of their members who would have been laid off had they voted to oppose concessions.
"It hurts," Nelson said. "None of us did it glady, but Ihave to say it was done willingly. We can't afford to have any layoffs in the sheriff's department. We recognized the county executive isbetween a rock and a hard place."
County Executive Robert R. Neall will honor the union's vote, said Louise Hayman, a spokeswoman for Neall.
"We will consider it a final decision, and we will respect their wishes," Hayman said. "We are delighted with their decision."
Neall has asked each of the county's six unions to accept furloughs, unpaid holidays or a 3 percent pay cut to avoid layoffs. He has said he will honor whatever decision each union makes.
The concessions are part of a $20.8 million cost-cutting plan to cover state aid cuts and a drop in county revenue.
Neall has given the unions until Nov. 5 to decide. Other unions have scheduled meetings later this week and early next week to consider pay cuts.
Two of the unions, locals 2563 and 582 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, plan to meet with County Council members tonight to discuss concessions.
Neall also has sent ballots to 789 middle managers and 348 contract workers polling them on wage concessions.
The Board of Education has given four school unions until Nov. 6 to decide on pay cuts.
Staff writer Jay Apperson contributed to this report.