Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Guess Who's In the News?

I’m famous.. again. We're pretty sure we know which Legislator shot his mouth off. The office and Matt are livid about the story, but I figure that it will let some of my contacts around town know that I’m looking for a job!

County To Eliminate Eight Positions
By D. D.

MAYVILLE - Six managers in the Chautauqua County government have accepted the career change incentive and two supervisors have chosen an early retirement plan.

County Executive Mark Thomas announced Tuesday that five managers will continue to work for the county full time until May 31 as part of the career change incentive: a deputy director of public facilities, two deputy directors of finance, deputy planning director and patient services director.

One employee, an executive assistant in Thomas' office, will switch from full time to part time and may remain employed in the office until the year's end.

Two supervisory employees took the early retirement incentive and left the county government in mid-January: an administrative officer in the Social Services Department and a supervisor in the Department of Public Facilities. Both positions are members of the Civil Service Employees Association labor union.

Thomas plans to eliminate all eight positions as part of the county's wage and benefit cost reduction.
Kate Hentz is the deputy planning director. A legislator said Julia (last name edited for my sake) is the executive assistant who will leave Thomas' office.

Names of the others were not immediately discernible because in most cases more than one employee shares those titles.

Thomas, a Democrat, would not divulge the names of the people in those positions, but he said Kenneth Bochmann remains employed by the county. He would not say whether Bochmann has accepted the career change incentive.
Legislator Joseph Trusso, D-Jamestown, said Monday that Bochmann, a deputy director of public facilities, had left county government.

Minority Leader James Caflisch, R-French Creek, said he had been told Bochmann would remain with the county until May.

The cost savings will be released next week, Thomas said.
''Right now, there's a whole lot of things being calculated,'' he said.

Some nonmanagement union employees have accepted the early retirement plan, he said. He plans to reveal the number next week.

Thomas must find $2.8 million in wage and benefit savings by the year's end. The county budget contains a subtraction of that amount in wages and benefits.

The county executive has said the savings will be achieved through administrative consolidations, retirement and career change incentives, union negotiations and, as a last resort, layoffs.

County legislators authorized early retirement plans for managers and union employees in November. They also approved a career change incentive that allows managers to work half-time for half their salary and full health insurance benefits while searching for a new occupation.

The county administration also gave employees the option of voluntary layoffs in December.
Thomas plans to include the anticipated human services consolidation in next week's announcement.

The term of Dr. Robert Berke, health commissioner, expired Aug. 1, but Berke has remained in the post since then. Thomas has said the county government's human services category, which includes the Health Department, will undergo a consolidation.

The county executive would not comment on whether layoffs are imminent. He said one CSEA member opted for a voluntary layoff. There also may have been one forced layoff, he said.
''I can't give you a definitive on that right now,'' he said. ''There might be one.''

Caflisch said he would not comment on the announcement until after he has had a chance to read it and find out more details.

Majority Leader Robert Anderson, D-Carroll, said the number of management employees who chose the incentives met his expectation.
''I think we were looking for somewhere near this number on the management side,'' Anderson said.

Thomas also announced that he will send a series of proposals to the County Legislature this month regarding the cost reductions.

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