Mangano opposes NIFA's hiring freeze plan

Nassau County Executives Ed Mangano giving his State Nassau County Executives Ed Mangano giving his State of the County address at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. (Jan. 10, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's administration said Sunday it opposes a hiring freeze to block salary hikes for nonunion staff.

"The County Executive's policy is to keep this workforce level, which is necessary to maintain the services our residents depend upon," Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said in a statement, adding that Mangano has cut 20 percent of the workforce since 2010.

Nassau Interim Finance Authority chairman Jon Kaiman said Saturday the control board would hold a special meeting to consider halting raises that several elected officials recently gave their appointed staff members, despite a three-year wage freeze. Kaiman had directed the officials to rescind any raises that violated NIFA's order.

But Kaiman acknowledged the wage freeze doesn't cover raises for new job titles. One option to close that loophole, he said, would be a hiring freeze.

"If everyone applied the wage freeze uniformly then a hiring freeze may not be necessary," Kaiman said Sunday.

County records show that 32 nonunion workers received pay hikes last year, ranging from $5,000 to $35,000, and another 25 received new titles along with raises. The increases equaled about $800,000 with benefits.

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Mangano has defended the raises by noting that they took on additional duties after higher-paid colleagues left. In a letter to Kaiman on Friday, Mangano said he believes workers who can be hired and fired at will are not covered by the wage freeze NIFA imposed in 2011.

Mangano agreed to give new titles to the workers who received raises, and said staff whose titles do not change won't get raises.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice's spokesman has said raises for nonunion members of her office were based on promotions. A spokesman for Comptroller George Maragos, who gave raises to seven appointees without title changes, has said he is considering how to respond to Kaiman.

Nevin noted that Mangano, after reducing the workforce to save money, has avoided any hiring that would take the employee count above 7,300.

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