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5 Oyster Bay town employees accept buyouts

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012.

Oyster Bay Town Hall on March 26, 2012. Credit: Nicole Bartoline

Only five employees accepted buyouts in Oyster Bay's most recent round of early-retirement incentives, though the town had said high demand inspired the latest stage of the program.

The five departures are expected to save Oyster Bay $272,683 in salaries this year and a projected $412,447 next year, according to town data. The employees had salaries ranging from $44,305 to $98,582, the data shows.

The town paid the five a collective $123,000, or $1,000 for each of their 123 full years of service, the data shows.

Town attorney and Deputy Supervisor Leonard Genova said many people approached him with interest in retiring who had not previously been eligible to do so with incentives. He said he had expected many more employees would sign up.

"I thought, based on the dialogue I had with people, about 20" would retire in the program's two windows, he said Thursday. "The fact that we have five is a little bit lower than I thought."

Genova said he expects more employees will step up during the second window, between now and Jan. 30. About 230 employees are eligible to retire.

The number of retirees this year pales in comparison to the first town-sponsored buyout last year, through which 92 of the town's approximately 1,200 employees retired.

But any savings would help cash-strapped Oyster Bay, which had $824.9 million in outstanding debt as of late April. Last year's early retirements save the town more than $10 million annually in salaries and benefits.

Other cost-saving measures Oyster Bay has undertaken to combat debt include concessions, such as wages freezes, from the 1,100-member union.At least five retirees from the last year's batch of buyouts went on to be rehired in different capacities and at smaller salaries. Two were appointed to paid zoning board positions while the parks commissioner, the highway and public works commissioner, and the chief public information officer were brought back to their respective departments as part-timers.

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