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Local News

November 29, 2012

Otsego board grilled on Manor, job cuts

(Continued)

He also expressed concern that eliminating the job of one of his assistants will prompt others to resign from the office — leading to an even bigger increase in the number of cases routed to assigned counsel. Rothermel said the current assistants could end up making more money by working less if they simply quit and join the pool of lawyers working as assigned counsel. He said he could also retire, collect his pension and work as an assigned counsel.

“I’ll win, the assistants will win, but I’m concerned the county will lose,” he said.

The most consistent topics that ran through the remarks from those who sounded off at the forum dealt with requests to keep Polley in his position and to reconsider the sale of the nursing home.

Bob Compani, another CSEA official, described how patient care has declined and working conditions for staffers have suffered since a nursing home formerly operated by Fulton County was privatized.

“I have seen it in my home town,” said Compani, who is from Gloversville. “Don’t let it happen here.”

He said scores of employees have left their jobs at that facility, despite the fact Gloversville has one of the highest unemployment rates in New York.

The board is expected to act on the $124.5 million tentative budget at its monthly meeting next Wednesday.

Clark, in an interview, said the spending plan could be amended then, after she and other board members reflect on the comments made by citizens.

Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, said he plans to meet today with Polley, whose job elimination was proposed by Frances Wright, the director of the Office for the Aging. Murphy said he has never seen such a strong showing of public support for one county worker.

Meanwhile, Murphy said he expects the panel will continue to examine the possibility of tacking on a quarter of a percentage point to the county sales tax in order to avoid the possibility of cutting more jobs and services. However, it will not be possible to enact such an increase in time to impact the budget that will be acted on next week.

The tentative budget amounts to a 1.97 percent increase over the county’s 2012 property tax levy.

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