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Onondaga County Cuts 86 Positions To Make Up For Coronavirus Budget Deficit

Onondaga County made its first-round of job cuts to deal with the continued financial strain COVID-19 has inflicted on the county budget. Eighty-six positions were affected in a combination of voluntary and compulsory furloughs, layoffs and retirements.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said the next round of cuts will depend on the October sales tax payment. 

“If that payment shows us that it’s moving in the same trajectory that we’ve anticipated, then maybe we don’t make a move in October. Certainly then, if we got some sort of help of any size, we probably don’t make moves the rest of 2020. But, if that payment is going the wrong direction, we probably will have to make further adjustments.”

McMahon is hoping Congress adopts a coronavirus stimulus bill proposal from the House of Representative’s Problem Solvers Caucus, which includes aid to state and local governments. Meanwhile, the county workforce has been handling a larger load with unemployment increasing sharply since the pandemic began.

“We’re probably still above ten percent, and now there’s less people doing work when there’s more people that need help. So, the challenge before our workforce is a tremendous one and it will be moving forward.”

McMahon adds that he expects the amount of work for employees to continue to increase into 2021, but he is confident in his staff. 

“We got through a restart. We continue to adjust the threat of this virus to public health every day. We have colleges open, kids on campus learning and we have schools open now so our workforce will continue to meet these challenges.” 

He acknowledged that staff is often navigating pandemic related strain at work and at home, and this is taking a toll. McMahon is hoping for aid in some form soon to not add further stress on the already minimized workforce. 

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, economy, and identity.