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Molinaro Seeks to Right-Size County County Government for Future with Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program

Published: 8/7/2012

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie, NY…. Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro met with county elected officials, department heads, and CSEA union representatives this morning to outline his "Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program," a voluntary employee separation program designed to minimize the impact of layoffs while reducing operational expenses.   Dutchess County Government seeks to close a budget gap of up to $40 million in the development of the 2013 budget.  The program will offer eligible County employees an opportunity to apply for a one-time $20,000 payment by voluntarily leaving County service by November 30, 2012.

County Executive Molinaro said, “We continue to scrutinize every dollar, every expense and every cost saving option to help us overcome a nearly $40 million budget gap. This incentive is an additional step to transform, reconstruct and right-size Dutchess County Government. This program allows us to assist long term employees who have been dedicated to serving the residents of Dutchess County, and help lessen devastating program cuts and reduce the number of potential layoffs in the 2013 budget – all while protecting taxpayer dollars.”

Approximately 150 employees would be eligible to apply for the program.  If 50 employees accepted the incentive, and the position is deleted or held vacant, the County can expect to save approximately $2.5 million annually, according to Budget Director Valerie Sommerville.

The Dutchess County unit of the Civil Service Employee Association (CSEA) President Lizbeth Piraino said, “The outlook for the economy does not seem to be improving.  I appreciate the challenge facing Dutchess County Government and county taxpayers.    This program seems to be a worthy endeavor by County Executive Molinaro to minimize the impact of the 2013 budget on our workforce while recognizing the value of the contributions made by our long-term, dedicated employees.”

The Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program is open to employees who are at least 55 years of age with 30 or more years of service in the NYS Retirement System, or at least 62 years of age with 20 or more years of service in the NYS Retirement System.   Applicants must be employed in one of the following county departments:

County Executive Office Office of Clerk of the Legislature
District Attorney Office Central Services
Public Defender OCIS
Health Department Emergency Response
Finance Probation & Community Corrections
Comptroller Mental Hygiene
County Clerk Office Social Services
County Attorney Services for Aging, Veterans & Youth
Human Resources Planning & Development
Public Works DCSEA Civilian Series Employees

Applicants must notify the Human Resources Department of their request to participate in the voluntary Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program no later than Tuesday, September 4th. Each application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine where the department or county government will provide the necessary savings with final approval based on the operational impact on County departments, the necessity of backfilling the position and other fiscal considerations. Department heads and elected officials are not eligible to participate in the program.

Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Robert Rolison said, “The partnership of the Legislature and the County Executive is critical as we face these difficult fiscal challenges. County Executive Molinaro’s proposal addresses the need for expense reduction, while appreciating the work and dedication of our long time county employees.”

The Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program is subject to the approval of the Dutchess County Legislature.

“As we approach the 2013 budget, we will present additional proposals designed to transform, realign and right-size county government for the current and future expectations and needs of this community.  Residents and taxpayers alike, have asked us to be responsible and accountable with their hard earned tax dollars. Living through this prolonged economic stagnancy and facing a budget gap of up to $40 million; the decisions we make will be tough – but, I assure the residents and employees of Dutchess County, we intend to make a difference,” concluded County Executive Molinaro.