NIFA tells county to rescind employees’ raises

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Kaiman, who Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed to lead NIFA last September, wrote in a Jan. 3 letter to Mangano that he had spoken with NIFA directors, legal counsel and staff and discovered “universal agreement” that NIFA had always intended the wage freeze to apply to all county employees.

“The wage freeze order directs that there are no wage increases to employees subject to [collective bargaining agreements] … The understanding from NIFA was that Nassau County itself would comply with the same fundamental principles, since they were, in fact, asking for the wage freeze and doing so because of the financial situation the county has been in,” Kaiman told the Herald.

Kaiman said NIFA’s board of directors would convene in the next few weeks to discuss the issue. He said the board may consider instituting a “hiring freeze” to prevent officials from handing out raises under the guise of promoting subordinates or changing their job duties.

“A change in title that involves filling an additional civil service title that’s available, that really is, and will remain, outside our purview,” Kaiman said. “On the other hand, if it becomes a loophole to just give additional dollars and be used as a way around the wage freeze, presenting a hiring freeze would give NIFA the ability to monitor that, to make sure that’s not what occurs.”

In a Jan. 10 letter to Kaiman, Mangano wrote that “a change in job/title is outside the scope of the … wage freeze,” and that his administration had “taken steps to place employees in titles that mirror their responsibilities.” Mangano stated that eight employees under his supervision have recently received wage increases, but all did so after they took on additional duties when other county jobs were eliminated, thereby resulting in a net savings of $15 million to county taxpayers.

Similarly, Tarek said Rice welcomed a letter that Kaiman sent her office on Jan. 9, because it acknowledged that “a change in job/title is outside the scope of the wage freeze.” He said 10 D.A. employees have been promoted from “law assistant” to “assistant district attorney,” and 10 other assistant district attorneys have been promoted to greater supervisory roles.
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