.

Proposed County Highway Layoffs May Reduce Service

The Rockland County Legislature's Budget & Finance Committee met with the Highway Department to discuss the proposed budget for 2013, which includes cutting six positions. Check back with Patch for a second update on this

 

Last Thursday afternoon, the Rockland County Legislature Budget & Finance Committee discussed the proposed cuts in the Department of General Services. Later that same day, there were further debates on layoffs with the heads of the County Highway department and Health department. This is just the beginning of the legislature's budget review process.

“Ultimately this is the county’s proposed budget and the department head has to come here and defend it,” said Ilan Schoenberger, county legislator.

About 15 people attended the meeting, during which Charles "Skip" Vezzetti—county highway superintendent—expressed his deep concern on the impact of public safety if the proposed cuts are made.

Nicole Doliner, fiscal analyst on the Budget & Finance committee, said that department heads and the county’s budget staff may have numerous discussons about abolishing and creating items in the budget, but once those “ talks and reviews are completed, the budget and finance office puts together this (proposed) budget which is presented to the legislature. Sometimes there are additional additions and deletions, after those talks with department heads that are not exactly what the department heads want or have agreed to.”

County Highway Budget Breakdown:

Doliner gave a brief overview of what changes the proposed budget would impose upon the highway department (MEO stands for Motor Equipment Operator):

  • 7 new positions are being created—“These are the positions being created that don’t presently exist in the budget,” said Doliner. “The (seven positions) being created—which are MEOs—while a corresponding laborer position is being abolished. The salaries are the same.”
  • 12 positions are being eliminated—“The positions may be gone, but the individuals in those positions may or may not be the ones to be eliminated because of bumping rights and seniority.”
  • “This gives us a net of negative five positions,” which are currently held by a person.
  • “There are two MEO level 3 are being abolished and MEO1s are being created in their place, (which) shows a savings.
  • The above numbers refer to the highway department's county road fund. There is another abolishment, bringing the total number up to six, in the roadmachinery fund.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years and this is the thinnest roster for the highway department that I’ve ever seen,” said Doliner. She added that “when people are let go from the county, there are expenses … (such as) unemployment insurance, vacation accrued, pay for the five days of deferred payment that occurred in 2012. These expenses, I don’t think they’re taken into account for the budget.”

Reclassifications

“Unfortunately, the personnel budget shows the elimination of some employees … I have concerns there,” said Vezzetti. “(The cuts) will make it difficult to proceed. In my original budget presentation … because of our lack of personnel and reduction over the last three years, I had asked that we reclassify our laboring positions to MEO1 positions. It allows us the flexibility with people who are normally laborers to be drivers as well. The new MEO1s would alleviate those that have been driving during the storm.”

“By creating these new positions that have skill qualifications, (Vezzetti) is then better able to better manage his department,” explained Doliner to the other legislators.

Vezzetti added that there is one reclassification—“it’s on the skilled labor and tree specialist. We have a guy that goes up in a bucket and operates the bucket under very dangerous conditions. Under the last layoff, he got bumped (to a different position).”

Check back with Patch for a second update on this

steve November 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM
It is the same point, if you cannot afford to do something then do not do it, or be creative. Take a look at the entitlements and pensions, salaries. If you gave agree to give some back you will be able to maintain a proper workforce. If not then will go through this same dance every fiscal year. If not, then it will become to late and the system will go broke, then we all can forget about pensions and entitelments
Pat Godfrey November 19, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Exactly Rockland county government is spending more money than they have. In order to keep spending at present rate they will have to raise taxes again. Have we been taxed enough? Cuts are layoffs are needed. The lose of service if any is not as important.
Andromachos November 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Keep cutting services until the voters take notice. When there are enough complaints from the constituents for politicians to notice, then and only then have you reached the right point. At that time, explain to the voters that taxes go up for each incremental increase in services. Taking the word of the department heads whose budgets you are cutting is letting the fox guard the hen house.
jop November 19, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Hopefully the five cuts are the ones standing there watching one do the work.
Chris November 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I heard about all sorts of waste in the Highway Dept. and I guess it is coming back to bite them. Oh well.
Town Hall Jester November 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Very Funny!!! But so very TRUE!!!
GWashington November 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The entire county should declare bankruptcy, which it is, and all contracts, union and non-union should be renegotiated. This is the only way to reset the out of control spending. Take heed Clarkstown, you are in the same sinking boat. And the same for the Library system. For example, being assessed $410 a year for a place one never visits? With Kindles, tablets and laptops, do we really need to spend so much? Make the libraries a subscription service for those who use it.
frankie g November 19, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Eliminate this layer of government. There is no reason to continue this duplication of costly services, equipment and administrators. Merge what employees & equipment you can and turn over control of these county roads to the towns and call them what they really are anyway town roads. Outsource the maintenance of county properties . Bid out this work and end this drain of money for employee pensions and benefits that carry on for decades after they leave
Tom Robbins November 19, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Rockland County is the 5th most expensive in the country for property taxes. When you drive around do you see brand new infrastructure, bright shiny new street sings and traffic signals? No you dont, yet still # 5 in the nation. Unions and the pensions need to go and not in 10 years, NOW. We are broke.
Michael N. Hull November 19, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Tom - Its #3 this year.
stephany November 21, 2012 at 06:06 AM
anyone with "skip" in quotations as part of their name cannot be taken seriously. i never saw his name without it,so it must be part of it. ridiculous. agree with "Andromachos" above. I have mentioned it many times.keep cutting till we notice. we don't believe you. every year you underestimate the sales tax revenue. you cannot project anything. same with cpd. we'll let you know when to stop cutting. tic toc tic toc
J. Tax December 06, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Way to go frankie g. Those you want to let go are taxpayers. Let me think ???? Oh lets fire them and let hire someone else do those jobs. They dont work for free. Maybe those that got let go will also leave and then there's that much less tax income. Or just sell to the non tax income leeches of our county. THEN WHAT ??????

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something