Local Governments Send 50% Of Staff Home

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Local Governments

Send 50% Of Staff Home

County board Chair Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, right, and Allen Ruffles, county treasurer and chair of the county’s Emergency Task Force, review press release they sent out Tuesday afternoon advising that half the county’s workforce has been directed to work at home. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Following Governor Cuomo’s directive, Otsego County’s government and Oneonta’s City Hall took steps Tuesday, March 17, to send half of their workforce home.

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said, because of the size of the village’s workforce, only “One or two” employees will be sent home.
“We’re required to do this,” said county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield. “We’re not making it up on own. Every county in the state is doing the same thing.” He added, “the health and safety of our employees and citizens is our top priority.”

In Oneonta, Mayor Gary Herzig said “our focus right now is keeping people safe. Party of that will be to reduce our workforce, to protect our employees.”

Following a Tuesday meeting of the county’s Emergency Task Force, Bliss and task force Chairman Allen Ruffles gave particulars.

Starting on the 18th, 197 Main St., Coopertown, The Meadows in the Town of Middlefield, and Old City Hall in Oneonta will be open to the public “by appointment only.” People who cannot connect by phone should dial 211, and will be directed by an operator to the right person.

The DMV office in Cooperstown will be available only to auto dealers; the Oneonta DMV office will close completely.

In Oneonta, Herzig said a decision on “all non-essential services” would be made at Common Council’s Tuesday. “We will allow as many staff as possible to work from home,” he said.

A number of Oneonta Public Transport routes are being eliminated for now as part of this, Herzig said. “However, if somebody urgently needs to get someplace, they will be able to dial, and we will come and get them.” Many transactions will City Hall will be done by mail, for the time being, he said.

Emergencies will be handled. For instance, the Department of Public Works may not be filling potholes, but it a water main breaks, city crews will fix it.

In Cooperstown, Tillapaugh said she has been participating daily in conference calls with Samantha Madison, the governor’s regional representative, where she learned about the 50-percent reduction mandate.

She and Village Administrator Teri Barown have been discussing implementation, and they are looking to identify employees who are candidates for “self-isolation,” working from home. Any employees sent home will receive full salary and benefits.


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