By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
Two employees of the Itawamba County Solid Waste Department have been laid off due to budgetary concerns within the department.
The exact amount the department stands to save due to the cuts is also unavailable.
Calls by The Times to solid waste department head David Thomas regarding the layoffs were not returned prior to publication deadlines.
Whether or not the cuts will be permanent or temporary has not been disclosed.
The decision to trim the department’s number of employees followed a recent meeting with the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors in which Thomas told the board that he was considering cutting at least three people from his staff.
“Things are tight and we’re going to do what we have to do,” Thomas told the board.
At the time, he questioned how he should go about making the cuts.
“I’ve never laid off anybody and I was wanting to know if I should go by seniority or work habits?”
The board told Thomas his decision as to who to lay off should be based on performance, not necessarily seniority.
“I think that should be your call, not ours,” Supervisor Ike Johnson told him. “You know these employees better than us.”
According to Thomas, the department’s handbook doesn’t dictate how layoffs should be conducted, leaving the ultimate decision to the department’s head.
He said some of the department’s most recent employees have proven to be the best.
“I’d rather not let a hand go that’s come to work,” Thomas told the board, and they agreed.
Board attorney Bo Russell explained that all of Thomas’ employees are “at will,” meaning the department head is under no obligation to keep them employed.
“They could give you notice today that they want to leave and go somewhere else, and you can legally terminate their services because we’re over budget or you have too many people,” Russell explained.