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Wed, 23 Mar 2011

Abrahams to County Exec Mangano: To little to late on budget proposals

Mangano: Unions should look at concessions
Originally published: March 23, 2011 9:52 PM
Updated: March 23, 2011 10:26 PM
By SID CASSESE sid.cassese@newsday.com


After Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano discusses changes to the county budget, Jerry Laricchiuta, president of CSEA Local 830, reacts to proposed cutbacks. Videojournalist: Howard Schnapp (March 23, 2011)

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Read the revised plan While critics raged at his plans for layoffs, furloughs and cuts to departmental funding, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano suggested Wednesday that the impact could be less severe if unions granted him some unspecified concessions.

"Every department, every employee, will be affected. Nobody is exempt," he said during a news conference Wednesday at the County Executive & Legislative Building in Mineola.

"But if labor unions make voluntary concessions, it will lessen the severity of the cuts."

MORE: Complete coverage: NIFA & Nassau

VIDEOS: NIFA suspends wage hikes | Mangano plans layoffs

Mangano provided few additional details about his plan, which includes redeploying 142 police officers from desks to street duty, which he said would save on overtime. He also said he might close one of the county's eight precinct sites and cover the area by placing those officers at nearby precincts.

Before Mangano spoke, Police Benevolent Association president Jim Carver said he was outraged at the county executive's proposal to save $15 million through realignments.

"That basically is a reduction in services," he said, "which almost assuredly puts people at risk but definitely is negative on their quality of life."

After Mangano's news conference, Civil Service Employee Association Local 830 president Jerry Laricchiuta said, "It is a sad day when there is a plan that includes 213 layoffs, elimination of 307 vacant funded positions, implementation of a 13-day furlough and $10 million in savings from calling on NIFA to enact a wage freeze."

Laricchiuta said the CSEA tried to work with the county and "we thought we had an agreement, but that apparently fell through. We're still willing . . . but we've [already] negotiated nearly $40 million in savings with the county since 2008. . . . Maybe another retirement incentive is the way to go."

On charts at his news conference, Mangano noted the overall policy, which included a $17.7-million first round of reductions in contractual services, while also showing where those reductions would occur.

The hardest hit would be social services, losing nearly $5.5 million for outside contractors; information technology at $2.37 million; health at $2.21 million; public works at nearly $2 million; chemical dependency, at $1.31 million; the youth board, almost $1 million; parks, $873,000, and seniors, about $800,000.

Mangano's plan is in response to the state-created Nassau Interim Finance Authority saying his $2.6-billion budget for 2011 has a $176-million deficit. He said his proposal cuts $5 million more than that figure "for contingencies."

But he also reiterated that his budget is balanced, that he has a surplus and that the problem is created by NIFA using different accounting rules for him than for his predecessor, by not letting him count borrowed money as income.

NIFA is slated to meet Thursday at 4 p.m. and consider Mangano's request to freeze wages. If it declares a fiscal emergency, the oversight agency has the authority to freeze salaries.Mangano said he will continue discussions with union leaders, even though NIFA has said it would not participate in them. "But they did say they would review our progress, as we go along," he added.

The county legislature's Deputy Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) said later: "Many of these proposals could have been implemented a year ago. In defiance of the ongoing crisis, he continued to hire additional personnel, reward his politically connected law firms with generous contracts and increased borrowing to unprecedented levels. [Now] Mr. Mangano expects the taxpayers to bear the brunt of the pain."


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