Tue, May 22, 2018 07:18 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Martin workers given pink slips
INEZ — It was no April Fools Day joke Tuesday when Martin County government ground to a halt after 29 county workers were officially laid off.

The pink slips were sent to workers two weeks ago and took effect Tuesday. Volunteers manned the phone in Judge/Executive's Kelly Callaham's office, but County Attorney Kennis Maynard isn't that lucky — he's manning his own phones.

"I don't have a secretary now and must do all of my work both inside and outside the courtroom," Maynard said. "I've been coming into the office during the evenings to prepare for court the next day."

Two deputies paid by the fiscal court will continue to work for the next two weeks because treasurer Linda Sumpter allowed a two-week hold back for the officers. Sheriff Garmon Preece asked court members if they would allow the deputies to work for two additional weeks, and the court agreed since the money had already been appropriated for that purpose.

Callaham said the fiscal court would probably meet later this week to see if something could be "worked out" about the county's financial crisis.

"I know for a fact if we don't have a balanced budget, the state will come in," Callaham said. "I'm afraid it will come down to that."

Callaham said it was a "tough situation" and that the county had lived off coal severance money for years.

"When $500,000 suddenly is gone, it is hard to handle," Callaham said. "We've been talking since November, and nothing has happened."

The first reading of the county's proposed 2003-04 budget will be May 10, and Callaham said the court will be getting together to discuss the situation and try to devise a plan.

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