Economic crisis hits Nassau County

February 2, 2009 4:34:59 PM PST
The economic crisis has found its way to Long Island.Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi announced a number of severe moves designed to close a $130 million budget gap.

Hundreds of jobs are being axed and millions of dollars are being cut from social programs.

The announcement comes on the same day the Senate takes up President Obama's economic stimulus plan.

Suozzi says that for the first time, it's not about doing more with less, it's about doing less with less. And he says each and every Long Islander will be affected.

"Things are as bad as they can be at every corner," he said. "Worry waits everything we see, everything we hear."

Suozzi unveiled his so-called doomsday budget, which includes the following proposed cuts:

  • 320 Civil Service Employees
  • 250 Police Officers
  • 100 Corrections Officers
  • 200 Additional Union

    He says the cuts would save $50 million. Also under consideration is the shutdown of county parks and other facilities.

    The proposal would also lay off non-union employees or reduce their pay, saving $5 million. Possibly his most controversial proposal involves a pay cut of 7 percent for county workers that he says would save $55 million and stave off some layoffs. He would be taking the pay cut himself, as well.

    The pay cut avoids total devestation to Nassau County, according to Suozzi.

    Jerry Laricchiuta, with Nassau Local 830, says county workers will not be threatened by a pay cut and says there are some employees who already can't pay their bills or feed their families.

    "If he wants to be realistic, we will help," Laricchuita said. "But we want it back when times recover. He doesn't want to do that."

    If the employees don't take the 7 percent pay cut, Suozzi says all county buildings will be closed for 26 additional days each year and workers will not get paid.

    Pending legislation, an approved budget will be effective April 1.

    Web Produced By: Scott Curkin and Bill King


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