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by Terry O'Neil and E.J. McMahon

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Early retirement for state workers: Money-saver, or costly sweetener?
May 2010

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March 2010

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September 02, 2010

Rehired so they can retire

Three employees of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District were laid off in May, only to be rehired in June, so they could take advantage of the state's early retirement program.

In addition, the district's board offered retirement incentives to two high-level employees in July, including Executive Director Glenn A. LaFave, who since has announced his retirement, reports the Watertown Daily Times.

LaFave, the district's highest paid employee, earned $100,285 in 2009, according to data posted on SeeThroughNY.net.

Michael A. Clark, Hudson River area administrator, was been appointed executive director in August (here). The press release does not indicate his salary, raising questions about whether giving LaFave's retirement incentive will produce savings for the district.

In announcing the 12 layoffs in May, LaFave said, "As the Hudson River Area is literally running out of money, the Board has no alternative to lay off more than half of the Hudson River Area employees."

Three employees were "rehired by the board of directors in June with the sole purpose of allowing them to enroll in the state's early-retirement incentive program," the Watertown paper reports.

The three regulating district employees also each had 19 sick days given to them, allowing their employment to run seamlessly from the date they were laid off until the day the board agreed to rehire them.
So are the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District's actions legal? The newspaper posed that question to the state comptroller's office on Monday. As of Wednesday, it still had not gotten a response.

Posted by Lise Bang-Jensen

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