Warren County leaders warned this week that if their employees' unions don't agree to concessions, as many as 20 layoffs may be necessary due to ongoing financial constraints.
Photo by Thom Randall.
QUEENSBURY Although Supervisors voted Friday Nov. 16 to approve Warren County’s 2013 budget which calls for eliminating 11 jobs, as many as 20 more positions may be in jeopardy if the county can’t get concessions in negotiations with its main employee union, county leaders said this week.
County Administrator Paul Dusek told county supervisors Nov. 16 that he’d prepared a “layoff report” that listed positions that could be cut without a favorable contract settlement with the Warren County chapter of the Civil Service Employees Association, which rejected the county’s contract proposal in October.
Dusek declined to identify the positions at risk, but he did say the county Public Health Department would be spared cuts because it already had several vacant posts open due to a county-wide hiring freeze.
“We’re hoping we don’t need to employ this list,” Dusek said. “If we have to enact layoffs, services will have to be cut.”
Since October, negotiations have resumed with the CSEA, Dusek said, adding that he was encouraged with the progress. The county is seeking increased health insurance contributions from employees as well as downsized raises, county officials said.
Despite the jobs at risk, not one government employee or county citizen-at-large showed up at the public hearing on the budget, held just prior to Friday’s vote.
For years in Warren County, public hearings on budgets have prompted comments from the public, if not heated protests and demonstrations.
But Friday, the scene was far different.
County Budget Officer Kevin Geraghty was showered with praise from supervisors, both Republicans and Democrats — even from Republican Supervisor-at-Large Mark Westcott of Queensbury, who sought further cuts.
Westcott said that with the county’s 2012 sales tax receipts flowing in $2.5 million over predictions, at least $400,000 of that sum could have been employed to keep the 2013 taxes at zero increase.