California government workers stressed by furloughs

They are the lucky ones — the municipal workers who still have jobs and readily acknowledge their good fortune.

But government downsizing takes a toll: reduced hours, increased workloads because of layoffs and early retirements, and reduced pay. California's tentative agreement for solving its budget crisis adds more pressure.

In Folsom's Finance Department, they sit in quiet cubicles, hurrying to meet the deadlines of payroll processing. They work faster these days because unpaid furloughs have squeezed available work hours.

In Woodland, they hold forth in the public lobby of the Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services, offering guidance to a stream of people desperate for help.

These workers, like their counterparts in Lincoln, Sacramento and elsewhere, are carrying out the work of formerly larger staffs. They are the faces of hard times in city and county government.

Increasingly, stress is the standard outcome.

How do they unwind from the intensity of their jobs?

"We go home and go to sleep," said Sharon Heckley, Folsom disbursements specialist. "I am in bed by 8 o'clock."

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