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Nassau County, CSEA Agree on Furloughs

LongIsland.com

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the Civil Service Employees Association have agreed on a furlough plan for the next year as a measure to avoid proposed layoffs.

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Nassau County has approved 5,000 unpaid, voluntary furloughs in order to meet a multimillion dollar expected budget deficit in the upcoming year.  Union leaders support the plan as a means of avoiding future layoffs within the county.
 
These 5,000 union employees will be able to take a maximum of 60 days off a year, with no more than 20 consecutive.  500 appointed employees will be eligible to participate in the furlough, although law enforcement is not included in the plan.  
 
The program begins immediately and will be open until Aug 1, 2013.  Deputy County Executive Director Rob Walker said the administration is still unsure if the program will save the county enough money to avoid the proposed lay offs Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced just last month to reduce personnel spending by 3.5 percent.  
 
Executive Mangano said he was encouraged that the Civil Service Employees Association and his administration were “moving toward constructive solutions that will protect taxpayers and county positions that deliver important services”
 
The county is facing a $45 million budget gap according to estimates released by Comptroller George Maragos.  Along with the furloughs, the county offered CSEA members a retirement incentive of $1000 for every year spent working for the county.  So far 61 employees have taken the offer.  
 
In June, union leaders asked U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt for a preliminary injunction to keep Mangano from implementing a bill that would reopen labor contracts and furlough employees.  A statement issued by the CSEA in mid-July argued that in terms of contract negotiating, the bill “ skews all of the power in the relationship in the county's favor.”  Judge Spatt said in June that allowing for a modification of union contracts might be unconstitutional, and his ruling is expected later this month or in early August.  
 
Mangano would use the savings to replace the $41 million he used from the County’s reserve fund to pay property tax returns.  County officials support this move in order to protect the County’s credit rating. 
 
 
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