The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will be closed for 13 days in 2010 as it implements furloughs to balance its budget.
The furlough days will be spread out over the year. Staff members will be required to take leave without pay on those days.
“This was a difficult decision,” said Dr. Anthony Chen, the department director, in announcing the move. “We had to ask ourselves how to provide the most public health services to the community, while achieving a balanced budget.
“Closing our doors to the public on 13 days is painful, but allowed us to continue essential services like disease control and environmental programs,” Chen said.
The departments faced a $2.2 million budget shortfall in 2010, the result of decreasing revenues, increasing costs and shrinking reserves. The furloughs will reduce salaries by $1 million.