ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWNY) - St. Lawrence County workers are there when you need them. But what happens when one leaves? The county says a program to determine if a job really needs to be done is helping.
“The department head is able to advocate for that position...It's fairly in-depth. You may have a department head in there for maybe half an hour or 45 minutes,” said Kevin Acres, St. Lawrence County legislature finance chairperson.
Department heads come before a committee of two legislators and three administrators. They have to justify filling the job. The county says it saved $1.3 million in the past year by virtue of some jobs not filled for a time or not at all.
“Having two legislators in there, they serve as a sounding board for the whole board,” said Acres.
The job can be held open as long as 60 days. It also can be filled immediately. Or it can not be filled at all.
County officials aid this is not just about saving money. It's also improved the efficiency of the hiring process.
The number of jobs filled immediately has doubled. 59 percent are now filled right away. After years of job cuts, county employment has stabilized at around 790 jobs.
“59 percent tells me that we are much leaner than where we were before...To serve the taxpayers we wanted to be leaner,”said Acres.
County administrators have proposed a faster process for filling highway department vacancies. That’s because vacancies there can occur in batches as workers “bid up” to vacant positions under their union contract.