Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’ office to face furloughs in July

"We are confident we can continue the first-rate service the staff provides every day for the people of Suffolk County.”

Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins. –Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe, File

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office will face furloughs next month as her 300 staffers await the state’s 2021 fiscal year budget to come into view.

Rollins told The Boston Herald in a statement Monday that the move is a “proactive step to avoid layoffs in the future.”

“Until there is some clarity with funding going forward, everyone at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office will be doing a 40 percent workshare for four weeks in July,” she said.

State lawmakers are currently navigating an unusual and difficult budget season, working to come up with a proposal that will reflect significant revenue losses the state has weathered throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Some experts have forecasted a potential $6 billion total hit for 2020.

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Rollins pointed out to the Herald May tax revenue dropped by 8 percent — approximately $2.25 billion. In April, revenue dipped by over 50 percent.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a $5.25 billion interim budget for July on Monday, however, it is not yet finalized, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, some benefits under the federal $1.8 trillion CARES Act passed in March, such as the additional $600 per week for those who have lost their jobs, are slated to last through July. Another economic stimulus package, the HEROES Act, passed by the U.S. House in May, is currently before the Senate.

Rollins, who said there are funding sources to help subsidize staffer’s income, told the Herald her plans are “a budget preservation strategy” for the office, which has already seen its business slow down as the court system has adjusted to the impact of COVID-19.

She also said prosecutors will continue “to place an emphasis on holding accountable those who commit serious and violent crimes.”

“Our supervisors have already begun the hard work of planning for this adjustment because our work never stops,” she said. “Fortunately, with the summer months and the reduction in trials and court hearings because of the pandemic, we are confident we can continue the first-rate service the staff provides every day for the people of Suffolk County.”

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