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Islip officials announce 57 layoffs

Islip Town Hall on Main Street. (May 10,

Islip Town Hall on Main Street. (May 10, 2007) Credit: James Carbone

Months after announcing the town's human services department would be dissolved to slash costs, Islip officials say 31 full-time and 26 part-time employees will lose their jobs by Nov. 1.

Four of the full-timers will be terminated Aug. 20, when the town's chapter of the Teen Age Services Act, a pregnant- and parenting-teen resource, closes.

Town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said as of Thursday, human services has 64 full-time and 33 part-time employees. Those who aren't laid off will move to the parks and recreation department, which will oversee senior services after the reorganization.

"We are doing a lot to make sure our people land on their feet some way," Birbiglia said.

United Public Service Employees Union labor relations representative Patrick Passaretti said while it hurts to lose jobs, the town treated the situation fairly. "The administration has tried their best to work with us; I have to compliment them on that," he said.

Representatives from the town's other union, Teamsters Local 237, did not immediately return calls for comment.

To help those affected, Birbiglia said, town officials have booked a consultant for a "job search boot camp" to train people on interviewing, networking and resume writing. Spots in the program will be reserved for human services employees, she said. The town also plans to hold a job fair next month, at which those laid off can interview with local nonprofits -- some of which are slated to provide services the town is cutting.

One agency planning to absorb some town employees is Outreach, a regional, nonprofit substance abuse treatment provider with facilities in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. President Kathleen Riddle said Outreach has been working with the state, county and town to take over the Brentwood location of Access / Acceso, the town's popular bilingual drug counseling program that is to be cut in November.

"Staff obviously are concerned about their positions, and are looking for new positions, so it's our hope that we could commit to hiring staff," Riddle said, adding she hopes to employ five full-time and 10 part-time town workers in clinical and administrative posts.

Riddle said if the state and county approve Outreach, treatment costs for patients would stay the same, and she hopes to keep the Brentwood location.

"We're committed to a seamless transition, because clients are involved," Riddle said.

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