Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Tuesday ordered department heads to draw up layoff lists to trim millions of dollars from their current budgets.
County budget director Eric Naughton told officials to prepare lists of positions that must be cut. The lists must be completed by Friday although it's unclear when the layoffs would begin.
In a memo, Naughton called for departments to cut 3.5 percent from their 2012 labor expenses, though he didn't detail the total savings.
This will be the third round of layoffs for county employees in the past year. Nearly 130 employees were laid off last June and more than 260 lost their jobs in December.
Roughly 50 workers at the Department of Social Services were eventually rehired.
Naughton linked the need for layoffs to a legislative vote Monday that denied Mangano, a Republican, the authority to borrow $41 million to pay tax refunds from 2011. The vote was 10-9 along party lines. Because borrowing requires 13 votes, three Democrats would have had to join the 10-member GOP majority. Democrats say they won't approve any new borrowing without a legislative redistricting plan that is "fairer" than one that Republicans have proposed.
"This is an internal memo and a work in progress as the administration is in the process of modifying Nassau's fiscal plan," Deputy County Executive Tim Sullivan said Tuesday.
The cuts will primarily target members of the Civil Service Employees Association.
"Services are being affected," said Jerry Laricchiuta, president of CSEA Local 830. "Just look at county roads. Weeds are overgrown. Parks do not look as good as they used to. Huge lines at Social Services. I could go on all day."
Laricchiuta wants Mangano to offer another voluntary retirement incentive. County officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The Police Department does not expect to lay off officers and will consider other types of labor savings, said First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Krumpter. "There is more than one way to skin a cat," he said. "We are looking for reoccurring savings but they do not necessarily need to come from layoffs."
Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said layoffs "would negatively impact public safety. We are already shorthanded to the max."
Department heads must detail how layoffs will impact services, including operating hours and caseloads and more overtime, Naughton said. Once the layoff lists are finalized, Nassau's Civil Service Commission will identify the employees who will be laid off, the memo said.
"This will allow the county to plan for the impact and additional costs that may occur as a result of layoffs," Naughton said. Any savings generated from the layoffs, he wrote, must be offset by reductions in state or federal salary reimbursements.
Mangano also plans to eliminate $4 million in social service and youth program funding by July 5. He blamed the cuts on Democrats, who refused to vote for tax refunds until they are guaranteed a redistricting process fairer than has been proposed by the GOP.
"We don't want to see further layoffs because all it does is decimate social services," said Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn). "But, this will be an ongoing year-in, year-out battle every year if [Republicans] control all the cards."
Mangano Tuesday discussed ways to manage the county's budget shortfall with staff from the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that controls the county's finances.
"What is clear is that the county needs far more than merely three votes on the legislature," said NIFA member Chris Wright. "What they need is tens of millions of dollars of savings so they can meet requirements of legislation that they themselves wrote, passed and signed."
NIFA chairman Ron Stack said the board is "solely concerned" with the $150 million in labor savings that Mangano agreed to make in this year's budget. Other issues, he said, "are the responsibility of the appropriate elected officials."
In a statement, Stack said the board has asked its staff to work with the county "on measures and ideas" to achieve the $150 million in recurring savings, which were to be found by Feb. 1. Mangano has found at most $90 million in savings to date, NIFA officials said.
"The fiscal challenges before the county remain great," Stack said. "As we complete the first half of the county's fiscal year, all participants need to work together to achieve progress toward fiscal balance with financially responsible and sustaining actions . . . without becoming distracted by one-shot transactions."
Naughton told legislators Monday that NIFA would not use the projected $22 million surplus in sales tax collections this year to offset the $150 million in recurring labor savings.
With Celeste Hadrick
THIRD ROUND OF LAYOFFS
Layoffs ordered Tuesday by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano represented the third round of job cuts in a year. Mangano is attempting to close a multimillion-dollar deficit.
June 30, 2011: 128 Members of the Civil Service Employees Association laid off
Dec. 30, 2011: 243 CSEA members; 21 appointed, nonunion employees laid off
January 2012: About 50 CSEA members from the Department of Social Services are rehired
Source: Civil Service Employees Association