St. Lawrence County cuts stenographer, adds secretary to save $7,000
CANTON -- St. Lawrence County has abolished a stenographic secretary position and created a standard secretary position to save around $7,000 annually.
On recommendation of the Vacancy Review and Finance Committees, the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators agreed to dissolve a stenographic secretary position that was left vacant due to a May retirement.The position independently performs routine and complex clerical support tasks for the Head Social Welfare Examiner and supervisor of employees responsible for Temporary Assistance, Investigations, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Disabled Client Assistance Program, and Home Energy Assistance Program, according to the resolution.
Legislators say not filling the position would compromise timeliness and adequacy of reports and likely cause delays in providing accurate benefits amounts to clients who need to be served in a timely manner.
However, legislators say the position could be carried out with a standard secretary position, which pays a salary of about $7,000 less than the stenographic secretary.
St. Lawrence County has been working to cut costs and restore fund balance and currently has a strategic planning committee identifying cost savings and potential cuts.
The goal this year is to grow fund balance by about $3 million. A $1.6 million windfall from the tobacco fund has helped significantly, but the county is continuing
Legislators blame late state reimbursement payments, declining sales tax and rising health care costs as major contributors to the problem.
The county borrowed $8.5 million in 2011, $12 million in 2012, and $10 million in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
In January, the county directed Doyle and department heads to come up with $3 million that can be moved into the fund balance, after Moody’s Investors Service downgrade of the county’s bond rating.
To help grow savings the county established a strategic planning committee to help find additional cost savings and potential revenue generation to bring more stability to the county’s finances.
In April, Doyle reported that the county has saved about $387,000 this year through delaying hires and eliminations through attrition. Legislators also discussed allocating that savings to the fund balance as well, but Doyle said doing so could put a squeeze on county operations.