Lake County

Lake County furloughs all library employees as closures continue

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Lake County has furloughed dozens of employees after closing all six of its libraries in the county last month due to the coronavirus.

County manager Jeff Cole sent out a letter to county commissioners saying the 32 full-time library services employees will be furloughed two days per week.

The furloughed employees will continue to receive all health insurance and leave benefits.

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Twenty-two part-time employees throughout the organization will not have hours scheduled and do not currently receive benefits.

"It’s the right fiscally responsible thing to do," Coles said. "As time has gone on, there has been less work for them to do at the libraries. So I made the very difficult decision last week and we notified the employees this past Monday that we would furlough the vast majority of library employees."

Cole said the money saved will be used to offset the expenses in public safety because of the coronavirus.

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"We do have additional expenses related to our first responders,” Cole said. “We have EMS and fire rescues and dispatchers. So we have been purchasing a lot of extra equipment for our first responders as well as for the public, masks, safety shield, gloves all the things you need to address this pandemic."

Cole said the county has been under a hiring freeze, so there are a number of open positions.

He says employees that have been dropped to three days a week, will be doing library work and filling in, in some of those other county departments.

Myrt Price

Myrt Price, WFTV.com

Myrt Price joined the eyewitness news team as a general assignment reporter in October of 2012.