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Hefty layoffs are likely for Contra Costa County’s probation department, as well as its district attorney’s and public defender’s offices. Supervisor Gayle Uilkema said Thursday that she and her counterparts on the Board of Supervisors will meet today to figure out some way to overcome an estimated $50 million shortfall. As many as 27 full-time positions could be eliminated from the probation department and about 17 from the PD’s office, she said. She didn’t provide numbers for the DA’s office. “Our job,” she said, “is now to examine how does this impact services, whether this is the smartest thing to do, how many of these positions are funded by specific grants?” Contra Costa County Administrator John Sweeten has recommended laying off more than 100 workers in April, which is about 2 percent of the county’s work force. More layoffs are likely in July. “We have more to go,” Sweeten said. “This gives us a jump on what will be a very difficult process.” Uilkema said current proposals call for a $2.8 million reduction for the probation department, $1.5 million for the PD’s office and $950,000 for the DA’s office. “The public defender’s position, in particular, is of interest, because if we don’t have PDs, people will have to go back to the streets,” she said. “They can’t be prosecuted if they are indigent and if they don’t have someone to defend them.” Public Defender David Coleman III couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. Uilkema said she and other supervisors have a lot of questions for Sweeten, particularly about whether there are other places to cut costs that would have less of an effect. She also said it’s not clear whether the PD and DA’s offices would be required to cut lawyers or whether it would be mostly support staff. “That is not stated on the materials we have received,” she said. “Some of this is not very clear at all. On the other hand, we know we have to make reductions.” The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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