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DOT furloughs come to Johnston County

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To save money, the cash-strapped N.C. Department of Transportation will force all employees to take 20 hours off without pay.

In Johnston, the move will affect 90 employees, who will take home smaller paychecks next month, said DOT spokesman Andrew Barksdale.

In June, “those 90 employees will be required to take a total of 2.5 workdays off without pay, and they can’t use any personal leave time or vacation time,” Barksdale said.

Statewide, 20-hour furloughs began May 16 and will continue through June 30.

The DOT is trying to save money because its tax and fee revenues have fallen amid North Carolina’s stay-at-home order.

Eric Boyette of Kenly is secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation. “For several weeks, NC DOT has been notifying policymakers, stakeholders, industry partners and the general public of the swift impact COVID-19 has had on NCDOT’s budget,” he said. “While the full impact of revenue loss will not be verified until after this pandemic has passed, current indicators point to a $300 million loss in NCDOT revenues through June 30, 2020.”

Boyette said he had not yet decided whether to continue furloughs into the fiscal year that starts July 1. “We began furloughs with executive staff, as leadership must begin at the top,” he said. “My hope is that we identify ways to replace lost revenue so that rank-and-file employees are never furloughed.”

Boyette said the DOT will continue seeking ways to reduce spending while appealing to the federal government for funding.

“Our employees are committed and dedicated, which makes this decision so difficult,” he said.