Mackenzie County announces layoffs due to pandemic

Mackenzie County will have to make due with less staff than normal.

Due to the economic impacts of COIVD-19, council had a special meeting to make what Reeve Josh Knelsen says were some very difficult decisions.

“Everyone that works for us is part of the Mackenzie County family,” says Knelsen. “When decision like that have to be, it certainly is not taken lightly, and is not fun at all.”

The job cuts add up to: 19 regular employees, 12 casual employees, as well as one temporary worker.

The county also suspended the hiring of 15 summer positions as well.

In all, the county is hoping these cuts will save up to 25 percent for ratepayers.

Knelsen points out that Mackenzie County is not immune to the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

“We see people taking pay cuts everywhere, if they are not laid off,” mentions Knelsen. “We heard the Premier say unemployment could reach as high as 25 percent, which is unheard of in Alberta.”

“Everyone is in this together and we are not immune to that.”

Knelsen did say that once the pandemic is over, the county hopes to bring laid off staff back to work.

He also stated that Mackenzie County residents, for the most part, are following public health guidelines.

“Everyone seems to understand, and wants to do their part, and I am very thankful for that.”

The layoffs went into effect on Monday.

– Kenny Trenton, Trending 55 Newsroom