Nassau County plans layoffs amid budget woes

March 23, 2011 2:50:47 PM PDT
One of the wealthiest counties in the country is now making drastic cuts.

It's the neighborhood police precinct for tens of thousands of North Shore residents, and now, it's on the chopping block.

"It's frightening. I mean we need to have the police presence around here," a Nassau County resident said.

But Nassau County leaders say they're considering closing the 6th Precinct stationhouse for good as part of a massive reallocation of resources across the county.

When it comes to cutting costs, the police reorganization is just the beginning.

"There will be realignment, there will be pain, nobody, there's no exception from that pain," Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.

Wednesday, Mangano unveiled a dramatic cost cutting plan to save taxpayers over $180 million.

He wants to lay off 213 county workers, and eliminate over 300 unfilled positions.

Workers who remain would see wage freezes, and each would lose 13 days of pay through mandatory furloughs.

Mangano wants to slash department budgets, including over $5 million from social services.

This is all while finding extra revenue in new red light cameras, and by privatizing mass transit.

"There is no department that remains unaffected, there is no employee that remains unaffected," Mangano said.

It may be the nation's richest counties, but Nassau's finances are a mess.

In January, the state took control of the county budget, requiring Mangano to bridge a budget gap of $176 million.

This plan cuts millions more than that, and Mangano refuses to raise taxes to pay for it.

Public service unions are livid.

"The economy is now recovering. Why is Nassau County going backwards while the rest of the country is starting to recover from this? That's the question I want to know," said James Carver, of the Nassau County PBA.

"I already have members that work in social services that actually go to social services because they don't make enough money. What we'll be doing is adding to the ranks of those on the rolls," said Jerry Laricchiuta, of the CSEA Nassau Local 830.

The County Executive refused to get specific on what programs he wants to cut or how exactly he'll reorganize the police department.

That information should come out in the next days or weeks and all these changes could take effect in just four months.

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