A statement from Niagara County Manager Rick Updegrove:
“As we stated last week when we announced our ‘ReConfigure Niagara’ initiative, Niagara County, just like families and businesses across our community, would have to make tough budget decisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also knew the sooner we were able to make such decisions, the better we would be in the long run.
“As a result of Gov. Cuomo’s executive orders, county operations have been significantly curtailed, creating a temporary situation where the workforce can be reduced without a negative impact to operations. Furthermore, revenue projections indicate that labor costs for 2020 need to be reduced.
“Working with the counsel of Majority Leader Randy Bradt and Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso, we were able to reach an agreement with CSEA, which represents approximately 800 Niagara County employees, on a plan for voluntary, temporary layoffs that will begin the close of business Friday, May 8, and continue through Friday, July 31, 2020. I appreciate the efforts of CSEA leadership, particularly Sue Young and Dom Luna, who worked in partnership with us to reach this agreement.
“In this agreement, CSEA members who take the voluntary layoff will maintain continued seniority for all purposes, leave accruals, and health care benefits for the duration of this voluntary, temporary layoff. In return, CSEA waived various contractual provisions which allowed the county to expedite the temporary workforce reduction.
“The county will identify which employees are selected to participate in the voluntary, temporary layoff initiative based on job duties. This is the first step in what will be a continuing process to evaluate ways to reduce costs, balance our budget and reconfigure the way Niagara County delivers essential services.”
Niagara County stated the expectation is that 10% to 20% of the 800 workers will be laid off.