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Legislators concerned about exodus of county employees

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Cortland County employees are leaving in droves for better opportunities available to them elsewhere.

That warning was relayed several times last night in a monthly meeting of the full legislature.

According to city legislator Susan Wilson (LD-5), the situation is worsening.

“The analogy that I was given is that we need to stop the bleeding,” she said.

Wilson and others referred to particular ‘hot spots’ where people are leaving in high numbers for better opportunities in other counties, municipalities and the private sector.


The discussion came during consideration of a measure to adjust salaries within the county highway department.

It’s been on short staffing all year, forcing crews to work longer hours and take on higher job duties without any immediate compensatory pay increase.

Legislator Ann Homer (LD-7) also represents the city and asserted last night that other struggling departments deserve an equal promise.

Homer proposed an amendment to prioritize similar raises for these workers in the near future.

Without making that intention clear, she said, it would be like “kicking other employees in the teeth.”


Initially, she requested that initial draft proposals be developed by October.

A friendly amendment did eventually pass through, but with no specific timeline.

Nothing further is likely to be decided until completion of ongoing analysis into the overall employee pay structure. Legislators voted earlier this year to hire an outside consultant for this project.

The good news: A brighter financial outlook should be able to handle the load without putting additional burden on the taxpayers.

“Our preliminary 2022 budget already accounts for these [highway department raises] and any other pay increases we might anticipated,” said Rob Corpora, county administrator.

Corpora said the county won’t need to exceed the state’s annual tax cap, which this year is two-percent.

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