Nassau County workers may face layoffs on Dec 29

Hundreds of Nassau County workers may be laid off on Thursday, Dec. 29, according to a law passed by the county legislature on Monday. The layoffs would save the county $75 million, said Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker.

Walker addressed the legislature in a crowded room filled with Civil Service Employee Association members. He said that among the positions slated to by cut, 153 positions are currently vacant and about 385 positions are filled. Roughly 85 of the 385 employees will be demoted, while 300 employees could be laid off before the month ends.

Legislator David Denenberg probed Walker for a concrete number of expected layoffs, but Walker said, “The list changes daily.” According to Walker, about 15 people employed by the county leave each week. Some leave for better opportunities, some are justly removed and others quit, he said.

Legislator Peter Schmitt commented on Denenberg questioning Walker for more than 20 minutes, but Denenberg responded, “We’re letting go of 385 people. Are you saying that someone asking questions for 20 minutes is bad? Sorry that I care.”

Police Department employees are among the workers that may be demoted or laid off. The county needs to reduce the Police Department budget by $18 million and according to Walker, $13 million has been accounted for with employees that either retired or left. The remaining $5 million may be cut with layoffs, but Walker added, there are employees who are on disability and are on the way out. “I can’t give you a specific number,” he reiterated to the legislature, “but it changes daily.”

Legislator Judy Jacobs was also outspokenly uncomfortable with Walker’s ambiguous answers. “It appears to me there are a lot of loose ends,” said Jacobs. “It’s just very confusing. Even if they’re on the list, they may not be on the list?” she asked.

“Does it create confusion? Yes it does,” responded Walker. “The county executive does not want to lay off one employee. He wants to come up with anther way . . . Maybe there’s no layoffs at all. Maybe it is a happy holidays.”

Source: LI Herald