Oneida County employees participating in a proposed cash buyout program would have a strong incentive to get their co-workers to join them: their payments will increase if more employees participate.

The peer incentive program–which must be approved by county legislators–may be unique in New York where the state and local governments are trying to trim their payrolls with cash payments of either flat amounts (for example, $20,000 for state employees) or based on years of employment.

“The buyouts incentives would be based on how many people choose to retire,” reports the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

  • If 1-49 employees retire, each would receive $10,000.
  • If 50-99 retire, that number gets bumped to $15,000 per person.
  • If 100 workers or more retire, each would receive $20,000.

To be eligible, employees must be at least 55 years old and have 10 continuous years of county employment. County Executive Anthony Picente, who proposed the plan, said about 300 of the county’s 1,650 employees would be eligible.

…if 100 people take the incentive, the county could save $1 million to $3 million over the next two years in salary and benefits, he said.Fifty percent of the jobs that become vacant then would be permanently eliminated in the tentative 2010 county budget, which Picente will propose on Oct. 5, he said.

(Snip)

In a similar effort to save money, the board in January approved legislation requiring the deletion of any vacated position and a board review before any position was reinstated.

But by July, 41 of 57 eliminated positions–or about 72 percent–had been reinstated, according to an [Observer-Dispatch] review of Comptroller’s Office records.

The average Oneida County employee earned $39,795 during 2008, according to an analysis of payroll records by the Empire Center for NYS Policy. The payroll includes part-time and temporary employees, which skews the average downward.

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

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