44 county employees will be temporarily laid off starting Monday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2020 at 2:51 pm

The layoffs include 10 positions that currently aren’t filled

Photo by Tom Rivers: The sign for the Orleans County Administration Building is pictured last Saturday in Albion. The building will have fewer workers after employees agreed to a temporary layoff.

ALBION – Orleans County will be laying off 44 employees temporarily, starting Monday.

The County Legislature last Saturday voted to temporarily lay off 40 of the county workers, which is about 10 percent of the workforce.

The county asked for volunteers among the employees. Many of the employees stepped forward after the county agreed to continue their health insurance. The staff can collect state unemployment benefits and also $600 in weekly federal stimulus funding for being jobless due to the pandemic.

The layoffs will be re-evaluated monthly until July 31. The workers are expected to be back on Aug. 1.

The layoffs include 34 people currently working for the county, plus 10 positions that are currently in the budget but not filled.

The layoffs among current employees will be in the following departments:

  • County Clerk – 5
  • Department of Public Works – 3
  • Department of Social Services – 12
  • District Attorney – 2
  • Mental Health – 1
  • Office for the Aging – 4
  • Personnel & Self Insurance – 1
  • Probation – 4
  • Sheriff’s Department – 2

The layoffs are spread over nine departments, and includes workers in the unions for CSEA and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Employees Association, as well as from management, said Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer.

“We anticipate the savings from the temporary layoffs and from the vacant positions to be approximately $150,000 per month,” Welch said.

The county expects it will face steep revenue decreases in sales tax, and state reimbursements, plus likely higher costs for pension funding due to a stock market in decline.

The county annually receives about $17 million in sales tax. March was down 9 percent and that’s only with nonessential businesses closed for about two weeks.

Early projections from the state comptroller estimated the county would take a minimal hit of about $559,000. That estimate for the minimal decrease has since been doubled to about $1.1 million. And that’s on the low side. The county could see a bigger loss.

Welch said the county needed to take quick action to reduce costs.

“We are very appreciative of our unions and of our employees working together in these very challenging times,” Welch said. “We look forward to each of these 34 employees returning to our workforce by August 1, 2020.”

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