Abolish unneeded positions

Although many of the 146 job positions that Cambria County officials voted to eliminate last Thursday

hadn’t been filled for several years, the action shows how out of touch the county government had become over time regarding efficiency and cost savings.

If Cambria government can operate effectively, going forward, without those positions, county taxpayers have cause to wonder why so many of those jobs ever were considered necessary.

Granted, 27 of the jobs – 24 full time and three per diem – were at the county juvenile detention center, which closed last month. However, the 119 other positions provide a wake-up call to taxpayers about how much their county government had become an expensive employment agency.

It’s safe to conclude that Cambria’s current financial challenges are rooted in big part in past county officials’ lack of attention to eliminating excess.

Companies large and small routinely seek ways to cut costs; units of government large and small should likewise have controlling costs and saving taxpayers’ money always at the forefront of their obligations.

Times and needs change. Governments, like companies, need to adjust to those changes.

President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky was right in observing that the jobs-elimination move will help current and future commissioners control the size of Cambria’s government.

The action eliminated about 15 percent of county positions, leaving about 840 positions intact.

No doubt many county residents reacted with surprise to their newfound knowledge that, prior to Thursday’s vote, the county had nearly 1,000 positions.

Because the abolished jobs were vacant, the county isn’t going to reap immediate savings. However, the action will eliminate temptation to fill any of them in the future.

Eliminating unneeded job positions is part of what’s needed for any unit of government to work toward financial recovery.