November 28, 2021

County mulls offer of $10,000 to attract retirements

Cortland County would offer $10,000 to encourage employees to retire between Aug. 27 and Oct. 15 to help the county’s finances, stressed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a resolution the legislature’s Budget and Finance Committee will discuss Tuesday.

“This is coming up for discussion at the Budget and Finance meeting on the 18th,” said Rob Corpora, the county administrator. “I will hold all comments until after that meeting.”

County Legislature Chairman Paul Heider (R-Cuyler, Solon, Truxton) did not comment this morning.

The resolution states that a $10,000 payment would be made to those who choose to participate. In order to participate:

  • The person must be employed full time by the county in a budgeted position as of Aug. 31.
  • The person must be eligible and willing to apply for retirement benefits.
  • There must be “a vacant position in the department the individual is retiring from for the balance of 2020 and 2021.”
  • The employee’s retirement is at the discretion of the department head and county administrator.

Elected officials are not allowed to participate.

The county representative for the New York State Nurses Association Union, Karen Harrity, said the union did not want to comment on the proposed program at this time.

The county works with four other unions — Civil Service Employee Association, Inc., one for corrections officers, one for 911 and one for the road patrol department. None of those unions responded for comment.

The county laid off as many as 75 of its 600 employees from May 4 to July 31 to fill an expected $5 million deficit in this year’s budget caused by the pandemic, as businesses closed and sales tax revenue fell off.

“The lost revenue is mainly due to lost sales tax, many retail businesses are closed and gas prices continue to hover at historic lows,” Corpora said in May. “This revenue cannot be made up when the economy reopens, therefore, the county must make immediate changes to help ease the burden on taxpayers.”

The county layoffs would save about $500,000, said Eric Mulvihill, clerk of the Legislature, in May, a fraction of the expected deficit.