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Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Government could save more than $24 million over the next five years based on the initial analysis of employee response to the Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program announced by Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro last month. The program offered eligible County employees an opportunity to apply for a one-time $20,000 payment by voluntarily leaving County service by November 30, 2012. The program is designed to minimize the impact of layoffs while reducing operational expenses as county officials work to close a 2013 projected budget gap that was originally projected as high as $40 million.
The Dutchess County Legislature will vote to approve the Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program and authorize the payment of employee benefit payouts and incentive payments this evening at the monthly Board Meeting.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The Workforce Adjustment Incentive is a critical component in our efforts to transform, reconstruct and right-size Dutchess County Government. The response to the program was even better than we expected and will provide us significant multi-year operational savings. I am grateful to all those who have applied – we are thankful for their service to the people of Dutchess County.”
Approximately 150 county employees were eligible to apply for the Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program. The Dutchess County Human Resources Department received more than 100 applications. Based on the initial analysis, there are 79 applicants eligible to participate. The final number of participants is likely to fluctuate for a number of reasons: the number of eligible applicants may rise as further analysis is completed; applicants are not obligated to take the incentive; and/or some departments may not be able to functionally delete an offsetting position to achieve the required savings.
According to Dutchess County Budget Director Valerie Sommerville, potential 2013 savings for the elimination of the positions could total $4.6 million (using the current 79 eligible applicants for the calculation). There would be a 2012 program cost for the incentive payments and payout of benefits earned by the employee; these costs are expected to be approximately $1.4 million (based on 79 currently eligible applicants). Total potential net savings for 2012 and 2013 would be $3.2 million.
Existing 2012 vacancy factor savings and other identified savings, to the extent possible, will be used to minimize the appropriation of fund balance this year to pay for the program costs. The final 2012 costs will be calculated by November and a resolution will be submitted to the Dutchess County Legislature to approve a supplemental appropriation.
The Workforce Adjustment Incentive Program was open to employees who are at least 55 years of age with 30 or more years of service in the New York State Retirement System, or at least 62 years of age with 20 or more years of service in the NYS Retirement System. The application deadline was September 4th. Each application is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine where the department or county government can 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.