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Nearly 200 union members take retirement incentive in Nassau

Nearly 200 members of Nassau's largest labor union have accepted an early retirement incentive as the county seeks to cut labor costs by encouraging veteran, higher-paid workers to depart.The incentive, which pays retiring full-time Civil Service Employees Association members $1,000 for every year of service with the county, expired Tuesday. A total of 189 CSEA employees took the deal, including police department civilian employees such as crossing guards and 911 operators.

A large contingent of workers also left from the departments of Public Works and Social Services, CSEA president Jerry Laricchiuta said.The incentive will cost the county about $9.2 million, largely through payments to departing workers for accumulated vacation and personal days, said Eric Naughton, Nassau's deputy county executive for finance.

About $6.6 million will be paid out this year and $2.6 million will be spread out over the next three years, Naughton said.

Naughton said the costs of the incentive will be partially offset by about $3 million in savings from not having the retirees on the payroll for the final 3 1/2 months of the year.

Naughton said the incentive will save the county about $8 million annually in salaries and benefits.

New hires will take longer to reach top salaries and will pay a percentage to their health and pension costs under a new labor deal signed last year. Nassau expects to replace about half the retirees.

"The program has historically returned tens of millions in savings for taxpayers," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that controls the county's finances, announced last month that it would no longer allow Mangano to borrow to pay for the incentive.

Mangano said the county can pay the incentive and termination costs from its operating budget.

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