I refer to the article on Sept. 5 reporting that Beaufort County chief financial officer David Starkey recently said projections indicate that last year's budget performance will produce a surplus of between $500,000 and $750,000 rather than a deficit as was feared a few months ago. The article also said that Starkey estimated that the five-day furlough of 300 "non-essential" county employees saved about $500,000.
Furloughing and withholding the salaries of only 300 employees (out of a county staff of more than 1,000) to contribute to solving a countywide problem was inherently unfair. But fortunately the $500,000 savings resulting from that action appear now to have been unnecessary.
I therefore ask Beaufort County Council to direct the county administration to restore the lost pay to the furloughed employees before any of last year's budget surplus is put into reserves.
I also ask County Council, should such an unfortunate circumstance arise again in the future, to ensure that any similar sacrifice for the common good is spread across all county employees, both "non-essential" and "essential," or better yet is spread across all county residents in some way, because such problems are countywide and any sacrifice should be countywide as well.