An additional 200 Nassau County workers will be losing their jobs following an announcement by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano Monday morning.
Reacting to a report from County Comptroller George Maragos which stated that the county ended fiscal 2011 with a $45 million projected deficit, Mangano announced that as part of his latest plan to reduce the shortfall while not raising property taxes approximately 200 positions would be eliminated, non-mandated contracts would be cancelled, cuts to capital improvement projects would also be cut in addition to reduced hours at the departments of social services and traffic and parking violations agency in Hempstead. The budget had been projected at $310 million earlier.
“Families that work hard, play by the rules and live within their means deserve better than to be left with higher tax bills,” Mangano said in a press conference at the Nassau Legislature Monday. “Today’s plan keeps Nassau’s fiscal recovery on track while protecting residents from a property tax hike.”
CSEA President Jerry Laricchiuta stopped short of saying that he was used to the news that his union members were once more being let go.
“It seems that every times there’s a problem in the county they react by attacking the workforce,” he said in a telephone conversation. “I’m told they’re not affecting the layoffs immediately. We’ll continue to talk to them.”
Laricchiuta pinned the blame at the current stalemate between the parties in the legislature as the Republicans are seeking to borrow funds to cover the shortfall but are in need of a super-majority, requiring at least one Democrat to change sides. The Democrats meanwhile, have been reported to be demanding to have a better deal regarding the county’s redistricting process.
“The Democrats have not provided a single vote to implement Nassau’s fiscal recovery plan as they simply want to create fiscal chaos and force a property tax hike unless their political demands are met,” Legislative Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt, R-Massapequa, said.
“What the county executive is (asking of us is to) give him a blind (eye) to borrowing,” Democratic Minority Leager Kevan Abrahams, D-Hempstead said.
“We clearly have seen when Republicans control the majority there’s a record of Republicans mismanaging the (fiscal responsibility) of this county. We believe that’s what being proposed in the redistricting process is bad for the taxpayer. This has always been about checks and balances.”
Abrahams noted that his party did support the borrowing associated with the recent retiree incentive as “we thought the incentive was one of the few good ideas that the county executive and the Republican majority had.”
“It’s about politics; it’s about Democrats vs. Republicans,” Laricchiuta said. “The two political leaders have to get together and solve this thing. The Republicans and the Democratic parties have to get together so Mangano can get back to governing. However they’ve got to do it its beyond the scope of the union. The residents are the ones that should be angry because it’s their services that’s being cut.”
Part of a recent savings plan aimed at longstanding county workers was a payout that offered $1,000 for every year of work they had completed as a county employee. According to Laricchiuta, a total of 61 employees took the incentive, but the cuts over the past few years have reduced the level of employees by about 12 percent.
“We were already at bare bones because of the Suozzi administration,” Laricchiuta said, adding that he hopes another incentive is offered under the latest plan Mangano unveiled.
“People think of it as numbers but it’s not numbers,” he said, “it’s lives.”