Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson announced Wednesday that he will make several nine-day "layoffs."

Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson announced Wednesday that he will make several nine-day "layoffs."

The action will affect deputies, dispatchers, sergeants and corporals, effective immediately, according to a statement from Nelson's office.

The action amounts to union employees receiving nine days off without pay, according to the release. It will be spread throughout 2010 to maintain operational efficiency and have the least impact on services provided, Nelson said.

"Rather than completely lay off at least four deputies right now for the entire year and perhaps more later on, this option keeps our staffing the same and we don't have to cut services to the public," Nelson said. "I know that the four deputies that would have lost their jobs really appreciate the fact that this option was available."

Six civilian positions and one part-time patrol deputy position were abolished last March because of budget cuts, according to the sheriff.

Deputies, dispatchers, sergeants and corporals are all represented by the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council (FOP/OLC). With a salary budget lower than in 2009, the unions voted to keep pay increases of 14 percent for deputies, 13.5 percent for dispatchers and 11.7 percent for sergeants and corporals that were negotiated in a three-year contract that took effect in 2008.

Pay increases were larger in 2010 because of wage concessions made by the unions in 2009, according to the sheriff.

Six open positions are not being filled in 2010, in addition to the layoffs that occurred in 2009.

Nonunion employees and nonunion command staff received no salary increases from the sheriff's office.

"It's extremely frustrating to not be able to pay people a fair wage when others are getting such a dramatic increase because of their union contract," Nelson said.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 31 edition of ThisWeek Marysville.