CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - Amid budget cuts and layoffs, one Charlotte Commissioner says before he can cut any more, he needs to know what's working and what's not. Monday was the first of what Commissioner Robert Skidmore calls "Department Work Days." He's finding out how recent cuts are affecting employees by living a day in their shoes.
Commissioner Skidmore is no electrician, but this afternoon, he was pulling wires at Punta Gorda's South County Regional Park. "That is really cool because I'm learning things," Skidmore said, working with electrical wire.
This morning, he was fixing parking meters at Englewood Beach. "I got to see how his operation works and already found one efficiency there ," Skidmore said.
Commissioners cut $53 million in an effort not to raise property taxes. That meant a reduction of 280 employees. Before any more cuts are made, Skidmore will be working side by side with employees affected by those cuts, listening and understanding things he can't see from his office. "Employee morale is the number one thing to me," Skidmore said. "We have to make sure the taxpayers are happy, but if my employees aren't happy, ultimately, the organization is not happy."
He says his plan isn't come in as an undercover boss or get anyone in trouble, it's to gain a better appreciation for what county workers do and how recent cuts have put stress on their jobs.