Realizing that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt in Westchester for years to come, County Executive George Latimer proposed the Voluntary Separation Program. The Program will allow Westchester County employees to voluntarily leave County service in exchange of a $1,000 payment for every year of service to the County. The move will amount to one to two million dollars in savings in 2020, and will save the County six to ten million dollars in 2021.
Due to the societal shutdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the County estimates revenue loss as great as $250 million from sales tax, hotel occupancy tax and other revenues for Fiscal Year 2020.
Latimer said: “In light of the impact of COVID-19 on the County’s budget, and the impact it is likely to continue to have, creating a voluntary separation incentive is a fiscally prudent step the County can take to mitigate the revenue shortfalls created by the virus. This is one more thing we can do to assist with getting, and keeping, the County’s finances on track.”
Elected officials, members of the County’s Police, Correction and District Attorney Investigator Unions, employees facing disciplinary proceedings, and employees of Westchester County Community College are not eligible to participate. Additionally, cognizant of the State’s budgetary concerns, the program contains a provision that, if the State also enacts some form of separation incentive, an individual cannot take advantage of both the State incentive and the County incentive, and must choose one.
The County is also exploring the following avenues to close the budget gap: the CARES Act resulted in the County receiving an additional $30 million in federal transit aid, the federal government will contribute 50% of the cost of the Medicaid program, the US Marshal service is anticipated to increase its contributions by $3.8 million, and the Department of Correction is expected to accrue $2.8 million in salary savings resulting from a significantly reduced inmate population.
Westchester County employees who wish to participate in the program must notify the County by July 24, 2020. Payments will be made to participating employees within 75 days of their voluntary separation from County service, which must occur on or before August 1, 2020.
View the Full July 1, 2020 Covid-19 Briefing Here: