Iowa Furlough Days required to balance budget - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Iowa Furlough Days required to balance budget

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -

State Public Defenders were on a furlough day in Iowa.

The unpaid day off was to close a shortfall in the state's budget.

This is the first of five total days that State Public Defenders are required to take by June 30.

And District 5 court employees will be required to take a furlough day next month.

A $4 million budget shortfall is split up between 99 Iowa counties, with each district expecting to do their part.

"The burden of the lack of funds is falling on the state employees that are trying to do the governments work," said Leesa McNeil, District Court Administrator for the 3rd Judicial District Court of Iowa. 

Along with state defenders, court employees will take one furlough day on Friday, May 26, 2017, the following pay period will be minus one day of pay.

"A lot of our employees are the breadwinner for their family and not being able to count on what you are going to get paid for your work is hard for a lot of people," continued McNeil. 

McNeil says during these times, employee morale is a hard thing to keep going.

"Along with employees receiving less money in their paycheck, furlough days have a rippling effect, court employees are not just looking a day of pay but benefits. 

"It effects our sick time accrual, vacation accrual, we don't accrue as much time as it is all pro-rated," said Amy Berntson, Woodbury County Court House Clerk of Court.

And while offices may be empty, court business continues. 

"The work doesn't go away, it's not like they took a days worth of work away and said well you don't have to worry about that," continued McNeil

Currently District 5 has 35 jobs they have not been able to fill and one judgeship they cannot hire for due to budget constraints. 

With the fiscal year 2018 looming near, McNeil says the budget is not looking good and they may have to look at part-time hours and program cuts. 

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