David Paterson announced that he will include furloughs for state workers in the next emergency budget extender. From the release:
"I have repeatedly called upon the State public employee unions to work with me to achieve critical workforce savings. Because unions have not accepted any proposals to achieve necessary savings, I am left with no other choice but to move forward with this plan. I do not take this action lightly, but it is necessary given the unions' unwillingness to make any sacrifices and I will do whatever is necessary to protect New York's finances."
The Paterson admin says agency heads will be given the discretion to schedule "one furlough day for each of their employees during the week of May 17." Positions in "essential" fields such as health and safety won't be included. Management/confidential employees also won't be subject to the furlough because their annual raises were canceled.
The furloughs are being framed as a cost-saving measure by the administration, but it's likely Paterson is using them to squeeze the legislature. By tacking the furloughs on to the budget extender, he's forcing the legislature to pick between the furloughs (which will irk the powerful state worker unions extraordinarily) and shutting the down government. Or, of course, there's option three: passing a budget.
Paterson is also floating an early retirement incentive. Details after the jump.
From the release:
That bill would establish a temporary retirement incentive program for certain State employees and other public employees to assist in streamlining the workforce while also achieving cost savings. Eligible public employees would be able to either retire without penalty at 55 years of age with a minimum of 25 years of service or receive an additional month of pension credit - not to exceed 36 months - for each year of service.
The early retirement incentive bill would apply to members of the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System; New York City Employees Retirement System; New York State Teachers Retirement System; New York City Board of Education Retirement System. Local public employers would have the option to elect to participate in the early retirement incentive program.
photo via Paterson press images
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