Oyster Bay goes forward with layoff plans

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012. Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012. Photo Credit: Nicole Bartoline

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Oyster Bay Town leaders are moving forward with planned layoffs -- studying county and state civil service procedures and taking an inventory of town departments -- in light of an "impasse" in union concession talks, town attorney Leonard Genova said Tuesday.

"Yes, layoffs are imminent," said Genova, who is also deputy town supervisor. "We're working on a layoff plan and we're trying to understand all the rules and procedures so we do it properly."

He added that the layoffs will be the equivalent of about 130 positions and that officials have spoken "preliminarily" to the Nassau County Civil Service Commission about meeting, but won't form a layoff list until after "an inventory of the town, because we want to still be able to function departmentally."

In deciding whom to lay off, Genova said, "It's more about titles and functions."

Town Supervisor John Venditto met with CSEA Local 881 president Robert Rauff Jr. last week in a last-ditch effort to set salary concessions, but Rauff Tuesday said the meeting went "absolutely terribly."

The town has about 1,260 employees, with more than 90 percent of them represented by the union.

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This month, 89 employees accepted early retirement incentives, but the town also needs concessions or layoffs to address financial woes that include this year's $13-million shortfall and $674.7 million in total debt as of early 2011.

"The members are pretty upset about the fact that he's not negotiating in good faith, because it's a complete change in what we've known all these years," Rauff said of Venditto.

Genova said the town has made offers to the union in "countless" meetings, but the union has "continued to not cooperate."

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