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Voluntary retirees save Nassau $4 million

The Nassau County Correctional Facility is seen in

The Nassau County Correctional Facility is seen in East Meadow. (Oct. 27, 2010) Credit: Sean M. Gates

Nearly 50 Nassau correction officers and supervisors have taken a voluntary incentive to retire, saving the county about $4 million a year in salary, overtime and benefits, county officials said.

The incentive, offered in mid-August, expired Friday with 47 members of the Sheriff's Correction Officers Benevolent Association, including about 10 supervisors, taking the deal.

The incentive pays correction officers $1,000 for every year of service with the county. They have seven days to withdraw their retirement papers.

The retirees, most of whom have more than 25 years on the job, also will receive all regular pension benefits. The departing employees will be replaced with a new class of lower-paid correction officers next year.

"This is a tremendous savings for the county," union president John Jaronczyk said. "This will ease the county's salary line for 2013 and beyond. It's a win-win for the county and the employees who are retiring."

The retirees will be replaced in early 2013 by new employees with starting annual salaries of $30,000., compared with average salaries of about $60,000 for those taking the incentive. The new hires also will contribute more to their pension than current employees, county officials said.

"This program helps protect residents' wallets by reducing the costs of government," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.

The Nassau County Correctional Center in East Meadow, which has about 1,500 inmates, has a workforce of 980 employees, Jaronczyk said.

The county will bond to pay for the incentive. Approval of the county legislature and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state watchdog in control of the county's finances, is required; both are expected to go along.

Mangano has reduced the workforce as he works to close a multimillion-dollar budget deficit. Nearly 100 police officers took a retirement incentive in March. Since June 2011, 400 Civil Service Employees Association members have been laid off while another 380 retired with incentives.

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