WENY News - Krusen: County Not Responsible for Town of Chemung Layoffs

Krusen: County Not Responsible for Town of Chemung Layoffs

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CHEMUNG, N.Y. (WENY) -- Chemung Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen is pushing back, just a few days after the entire Chemung Town Highway Department was laid off.

"[The Town Supervisor] made those decisions," says Krusen. "Not the county. He did. He needs to step up, take ownership and he needs to be the responsible party."

Earlier this week, the Town's Supervisor, George Richter, told WENY News the county's decision to shift sales tax distribution was partially to blame for the layoffs. 

"It's really just a matter of simple financial arithmetic," Richter says. "The real cause behind it is the loss of sales tax proceeds that we got."

Despite claims the decision made based on the town's financial situation, Krusen says he was recently at a board meeting where he praised Chemung officials for how their money had been spent in the fiscal year.

"When it all adds up, the supervisor has made a decision to lay off his entire highway department over what i would tell you is a fairly nominal amount of money in relation to the services those people provide to our community," says Krusen.

Krusen says that amount is about five thousand dollars.
According to the county, the town's highway department had spent $80,000 in the first three months of their budget, as opposed to the allocated $75,000.
That amount of money, Krusen says, could have been made up elsewhere and without laying off all six employees.

"We believe we're well past heavy snow season, so hopefully there won't be any pressing emergencies," Richter says. "We reserve the right to call those people back as needed, when needed."

The town also plans to continue contracting with outside vendors for other services, such as tree and brush removal.
Ritcher says the town board supported the decision.
However Krusen says the move just doesn't add up.

"In my thirty plus years of public service, I have never seen a more callous disregard for the well being of employees and frankly the safety of the public," Krusen says. 

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