|COUNTY ADOPTS DIVERSITY STATEMENT
As part of ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion among County government’s workforce, the Legislature unanimously (14 present; Barbara Blanchard was absent) adopted a diversity statement. The statement, drafted by a team of County employees and Legislators, is intended to express the County’s commitment to expanding efforts to recruit and retain diverse workers. The statement was reviewed and approved by the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a community-based advisory group chaired by Leslyn McBean-Clairborne.
The statement reads:
Tompkins County government is committed to creating a diverse and fully inclusive workplace that strengthens our organization and enhances our ability to adapt to change by developing and maintaining:
-- an organization-wide understanding and acceptance of the purpose and reasons for diversity;
-- recruitment and retention policies that assure a diverse workforce;
-- a workplace environment that is welcoming and supportive of all;
-- awareness, understanding, and education regarding diversity issues;
-- zero tolerance for expressions of discrimination, bias, harassment, or negative stereotyping toward any person or group;
-- a workforce ethic that embraces diversity and makes it the norm for all interactions, including delivery of services to the public.
The statement will be posted in County offices, on the County website, and in County publications.
ROLLOVER FUNDS APPROVED FOR 15 DEPARTMENTS
By a 13 to 1 vote (Dick Booth was opposed; Barbara Blanchard was absent), the Legislature approved $631,773 in department funds unspent in previous years’ budgets. County departments requested to use their “rollover” funds for various items including updated computer equipment, County vehicles, training, wages, and replacement of body armor for Sheriff’s deputies. The largest rollover allocation is $160,000 for building improvements at the Public Safety Building.
COUNTY FRINGE BENEFIT RATE SET AT 39 PERCENT
The Legislature agreed (11 to 3) to maintain the fringe benefit rate for County employees at 39 percent of total payroll costs. Dick Booth, Dooley Kiefer, and George Totman were opposed. The fringe benefit rate includes the cost of health insurance, retirement payments. Social Security payments, Workers’ Compensation, and unemployment insurance. The cost to the County is $11.3 million dollars. The County’s fringe rate has increased over the past several years, not due to increases in benefits but due to increases in the cost of the benefits.
VOTE SPLIT ON EXPANDED CREDIT UNION DEPOSITS
Support for an amendment to New York State law that would allow credit unions and thrifts to be depositories for municipal funds failed by a vote of 7 to 7. A majority vote of 8 is required to pass resolutions. In New York State, only banks and trust companies are allowed to accept deposits of municipal funds.
COUNTY LOOKS AT COMBINED PUBLIC WORKS/PLANNING COMMISSIONER
The County is considering merging two of its top management jobs into one. If approved, the positions of Commissioner of Planning and Commissioner of Public Works will be combined. The County has operated without a Public Works Commission for several years. The change requires an amendment to the County Charter. A public hearing for the charter change was set for 5:30 pm, July 19, immediately preceding the Legislature meeting, in the County Courthouse. Legislators Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Michael Lane, Frank Proto, and Daniel Winch were opposed to holding the hearing.
LIBRARY FUNDING APPROVED
An 8 to 6 vote was enough to approve a mid-year contingent fund request from the Tompkins County Public Library. The request failed to pass at a previous Legislature meeting in June 7, but was brought back for another vote by a member who was absent at that vote. The Legislature approved the $26,000 request for replacement of outdated computers, a microfilm reader, and a book check-in system.