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Glen Cove OKs buyout plan for civil servants

The Glen Cove City Council on Tuesday approved a plan to pay civil service union members to resign or retire.

Members of the Civil Service Employees Association who have been on the job for at least 10 years are eligible. Workers who accept the incentive will receive 1 percent of their 2014 base salary multiplied by the number of years they've served. The buyouts will be capped at 20 percent of this year's base salary and workers must apply by Feb. 14.

Mayor Reginald Spinello said the program, called the voluntary separation incentive payment opportunity, would save the city money.

"You're replacing employees with [new employees]earning lower salaries, plus you're bringing in new blood and fresh ideas," Spinello said. "You're rewarding people for their service and giving new people new opportunities."

Spinello said he did not know how much the program would cost. He said that 65 employees whose salaries totaled $4.2 million were eligible. The cost to the city would depend on how many people accepted the buyouts, he said.

The agreement was worked out between Spinello and local CSEA president Martin Cook. Democratic City Council members, who had not seen the agreement, asked Spinello, an Independence Party member, Cook and Spinello's staff questions about details of the plan before the council voted unanimously to approve it.

Spinello said the city would not borrow to fund the buyouts but probably would borrow to pay termination payments, a separate cost that takes into account unused vacation and sick days.

When he was a city council member in 2012, Spinello criticized a plan to borrow $1.1 million to pay termination payments for retiring police. "We don't want to place any additional burden on taxpayers," he said at the time, though he voted in favor of the plan.

Tuesday night he expressed no reservations about the cost of borrowing, which he said would be minimal and short term.

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