Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy filed a new pair of retirement incentive proposals Tuesday labeling them as a bipartisan compromise, but warned there'll be layoffs and no incentives for workers if lawmakers do not support his plan at Wednesday's special meeting.
Levy has submitted two emergency resolutions. The first bill excludes nursing home workers and is identical to legislation defeated last month. A second would also make nursing home workers eligible for incentives if county lawmakers vote by Aug. 17 to approve Levy's proposed $36 million sale of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility.
But Presiding Officer William Lindsay said Levy's proposal is no compromise, though he said both Levy's plan and his own - which makes nursing home workers eligible for incentives no matter whether a sale is approved or not - are "flawed" and need to be fixed.
If approved, Levy aides said 300 to 500 county workers may take advantage of the incentives, as well as 50 to 100 nursing home workers, saving between $10 million and $13 million. Under the state plan, workers get one month of extra pension credit for every year of service up to 36 months.
"It's a big vote," Levy said. "Either we'll come together on a bipartisan compromise, have a happy workforce and a more stable budget or they will pass an invalid early retirement and have outright layoffs."
Levy said he has support of two Democrats, Legis. Louis D'Amaro (D-North Babylon) and Steven Stern (D-Dix Hills) as well as Republicans Legis. Lynne Nowick (R-St. James) and Daniel Losquadro (R-Shoreham), but concedes he needs four more Democrat votes. The emergency measure needs 12 votes to be approved.
Levy said Lindsay's proposal is "invalid" because only the county executive has the authority under the state law to choose who is eligible for incentives. But Lindsay said Levy's plan also has problems because it sets different deadlines for most employees and nursing home workers.
"There can only be one window," he saidLindsay also said Legis. John Kennedy (R-Nesconset) has received a letter from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli saying the executive should not list categories of workers who are ineligible, but simply pick who is eligible once the employee applies.
The presiding officer said Levy can make layoff proposals and take the incentive off the table, but emphasized he needs legislative approval to move forward. "It takes two to tango and that's something the county executive doesn't seem to grasp," he said.