Statement by Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins
The following statement was released by Board of Legislators Chairman Jenkins (D-Yonkers) in response to County Executive Rob Astorino’s press statement mischaracterizing the Board’s proposal to enact legislation that would allow Westchester County employees to opt in to the state’s newly adopted state wide retirement incentive program.
“Unfortunately, the County Executive was premature in his media statement and, as usual, simply doesn’t not understand or is confused by the legislative process, which some may find strange given his tenure as a county legislator from Mount Pleasant.
The local law specifically speaks to the state’s retirement incentive program. There is absolutely no reference to the voluntary separation agreement. The Board’s budget staff is currently analyzing the potential fiscal impact for the 276 employees that opted to separate from county employment. In addition, the analysis will determine the number of employees that advised the County that they were planning to retire, calculate the potential cost with the state’s incentive law and provide legislators with the necessary facts to make an informed decision.
The objective of the Board is to enact legislation that will allow for the County to opt in to the state’s retirement incentive to achieve maximum savings for county taxpayers of at least $100 million dollars through the reduction of the county’s workforce. Participating in the state’s retirement incentive will enforce fiscal discipline on the Administration to eliminate job titles or achieve a minimum salary savings of 50% within a two year period. Ironically, the Legislature unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the County Executive to enact a hiring freeze, which, to date, he has failed to implement.
The special meeting that has been called to address this legislation was not done in the shadows, as inferred by the County Executive, but was scheduled this past Monday evening during the regular business of the Board. As always, we encourage members of the public to come to the Board and share their opinions with legislators. This is the people’s house and we welcome all comments, ideas and dialogue from within the broader community.
One can only wonder if his intention is to deflect attention from his Administration’s inability to provide guaranteed savings that can be immediately passed on to Westchester taxpayers or continue making excuses.”