It Ain’t the 2007 Budget Worrying Santa Clara DA

There’s nothing like a tense budget season to put everyone in the Santa Clara County administration building on edge.

The board of supervisors finally put an end to all the back-and-forth negotiations when it signed off on the new county budget last week. And while there will be no layoffs in the Santa Clara district attorney and public defender offices in the 2007 fiscal year, the departments aren’t exactly jumping for joy either — especially when they look ahead to a potentially agonizing 2008.

For fiscal 2007. the DA had to shave $500,000 from its $73.6 million budget, while the public defender was asked to trim $110,000 from its $38 million.

Things are tight, admits George Doorley, the DA’s administrative services manager, but “Fiscal Year ’07 is no doomsday.”

Doorley’s not so optimistic, however, about FY ’08. County officials sent out a memo to every department warning them of cuts to come, and the future does not look so bright.

The DA could face an $8.8-million slash, while the PD may have to scale back by $5.1 million in 2008.

“It’s a scary number,” Assistant PD Nancy Brewer allowed, but a lot can happen between then and now, and Brewer isn’t going to worry about it just yet.

Doorley says an $8.8 million budget cut would certainly lead to layoffs.

“Absent something on the horizon, I think that’s a foregone conclusion,” Doorley said. “I can’t see a way around that.”

The office will begin putting together a proposed budget plan in February, Doorley said.

— Julie O’Shea

 

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