Wayne County Executive Warren Evans issued an executive order Monday imposing a spending and hiring freeze.
The county will not fill vacant positions, with some exceptions for health and public safety jobs.
No one will get a raise unless mandated by collective bargaining agreement.
And contract employees will not be renewed or replaced unless deemed “essential” by an executive committee appointed by Evans.
Evans calls the move a “first step to resolve the county’s financial crisis.”
Wayne County faces an annual structural deficit of about $50 million, and needs to set aside an additional $20 million from its general fund each year for its under-funded pension system, Evans said last month.
“I like it as a first step,” said Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen. “It’s not a huge step, but it’s a first step, and I hope there’s a lot more to come here.”
Killeen says the bigger test will come in the next several months, when the county must agree on a deficit elimination plan to submit to the state. “That’s going to be a much bigger step than this in hopefully resolving some of the county’s fiscal issues,” Killeen said.
The state rejected Wayne County’s initial plan last year, when Robert Ficano was still county executive.
Evans has warned the county could run out of cash by the middle of next year, and face an emergency manager of bankruptcy if structural budget issues aren’t addressed before that.