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Oyster Bay board approves retirement, separation incentives

Retirement incentives include $1,000 per year of town employment and health insurance for life; separation incentives pay $1,000 per year of service.

Oyster Bay Town Hall, in Oyster Bay on

Oyster Bay Town Hall, in Oyster Bay on March 27, 2016. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Oyster Bay Town Board approved retirement and employee separation incentives at its Tuesday board meeting.

The decision follows similar incentives enacted in November, which have expired.

Incentives to retire include payment of $1,000 per year of service and free health insurance for life for the retiree. Family members on the retiree’s health insurance plan also receive free health insurance for the life of the former town employee and up to five additional years after the retiree’s death if the person had at least 10 years of credit in the state retirement system.

The board also approved a separation incentive that pays a worker $1,000 per year of service.

To participate in the incentive program, the employee must file paperwork to retire by Aug. 1 or leave town employment by June 30.

Exceptions to those deadlines provoked a lengthy debate during Tuesday’s meeting. The original proposals authorized the town supervisor to grant waivers or deferrals to employees who agreed to leave after the deadlines but no later than June 30, 2019.

Councilman Anthony Macagnone said the authority to grant a waiver or deferral should not be vested in a single elected officials.

“That should be the discretion of the town board,” Macagnone said.

Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said “I have no issue with the town board signing off on these things.”

Macagnone and Saladino said they were comfortable with the commissioner of human resources signing the waivers or deferrals.

Chief deputy town attorney Frank Scalera said the language would be changed to give the authority to grant waivers or deferrals to the commissioner of human resources or his or her designee.

The separation incentive passed in a 6-1 vote with Macagnone voting against it. The retirement incentive passed unanimously.

Town officials did not release copies of the laws approving the incentives on Tuesday.

Under the last round of incentives, 37 employees agreed to retire or voluntarily quit.

Saladino said the reason for the new round of incentives was to motivate higher-paid employees to leave and reduce the town’s workforce to “have the right number of employees and save the taxpayers money.”

The town has an estimated 999 full-time employees, down from 1,025 in 2017, according to recent financial data.

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