Fall 2022: Workforce Development

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President's Page NYSAC OFFICERS Michael E. Zurlo Clinton County President Hon. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County President-Elect Hon. Daniel P. McCoy Albany County First Vice President Hon. Benjamin Boykin II Westchester County Second Vice President Hon. Martha C. Sauerbrey Tioga County Immediate Past President

BOARD MEMBERS Hon. Luis A. Alvarez, Sullivan County Hon. Steven Bellone, Suffolk County Hon. Philip R. Church, Oswego County Mr. Christopher Ellis Jr. New York City Mr. Richard R. House, Wayne County Hon. Beth A. Hunt, Hamilton County Hon. Margaret M. Kennedy, Otsego County Hon. Steven M. Neuhaus, Orange County Dr. Kevin Watkins, Cattaraugus County

PARLIAMENTARIANS Hon. Herman Geist, Esq., Westchester County Hon. A. Douglas Berwanger, Wyoming County


YSAC recently concluded its 2022 Fall Seminar in Erie County. At its closing meeting on Tuesday morning, a capacity crowd listened as three county leaders shared innovative solutions on one of the most pressing issues facing counties across the state: recruiting and retaining the local workforce, both county employees and workers for businesses in your community. This closing meeting was a Joint Meeting of the state’s two intercounty associations: the Intercounty Association of Western New York and the Intercounty Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks. I appreciate the work of these intercounty associations to keep their regions informed. This Fall Seminar was a great example of what NYSAC does so well: bringing county officials together so they can share best practices—what is working well and what can work better so that we can improve what we do. I know that I would not be as good at my job as a county administrator without NYSAC. I’ve learned from my fellow county administrators, executives, board members, and department heads that we can pick up the phone and call the NYSAC staff to find out what other counties are doing, what other states are doing, what’s in the state budget, what state lawmakers are planning. They are like an extension of our staff. All of this helps me make more informed decisions and be a better county manager. NYSAC, at its core and from its beginning, is an association of county leaders. We were created by and for county officers.

Our success comes from our ability to unify all counties, regardless of size, region or political ideology, around the shared interests of a diverse state. When we all come together at conferences and through publications like this one, it’s about more than just our individual counties. It’s about what we can all do together, to help each other, so that we can make our communities better places to live, work, and visit. As we all know, there are no shortages of issues facing our counties right now. We have staffing shortages; we are on an economic roller coaster; our public health departments are now battling Covid, monkeypox, and the opioid crisis. We have the ongoing changes to energy production and use, and, as always, the threat of the state’s fiscal woes impacting our ability to effectively serve our residents. None of these challenges are easy to solve. But our role, as an association, is to help us turn these challenges into opportunities. Over the next 12 months NYSAC will be doing the research and drafting the reports that will use fact-based datadriven processes to influence public policies and legislative activities. That’s why we were created by our county colleagues a hundred years ago. That’s what we do. We do it well. And that’s what keeps us going. I wish you all the best over the coming holidays and I look forward to working with you in the months ahead.

Michael E. Zurlo NYSAC President NYSAC News | www.nysac.org





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Director's Note NYSAC STAFF (partial listing) Stephen J. Acquario, Esq. Executive Director Karen Catalfamo Office/Financial Manager Patrick Cummings, Esq. Counsel Jackie Dederick Records Manager Katie Elefteriadis Intern Patricia Gettings Assistant to the Director Ryan Gregoire Legislative Director Alexandra LaMonte Legislative/Policy Coordinator Mark LaVigne Deputy Director Dave Lucas Director of Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Juanita Munguia Marketing Specialist Tom Oldfather Communications Manager Kate Pierce-Nimz Multimedia Specialist Jeanette Stanziano Director of Education & Training


his edition of the NYSAC News magazine is an extension of a conversation that was started at the NYSAC 2022 Fall Seminar in Erie County. Saratoga, Monroe, and Livingston counties all talked about initiatives put in place to attract and retain a strong, motivated, and fulfilled workforce. It is a top issue facing counties across the state. How do we keep and bring workers to our communities so we can better attract new companies and businesses and operate effective local governments? In both the private and public sector, there are more job openings than there are workers to fill those jobs. Counties are competing with local companies, and many manufacturers are not able to recruit skilled workers to work in their facilities. What I’m hearing more and more is that counties have hundreds of job openings— across dozens of departments—that they are having a hard time filling. We are all facing a public sector workforce crisis caused by retirements and greater competition from the private sector. What can counties do to make public service an attractive career option for graduating college students and professionals? Covid changed the way people work. We all need to consider new ways that counties, local governments, and IDAs can work together to grow our local economies. Are there ways that we can strengthen the quality of our communities to attract remote workers, many of whom can now live anywhere, regardless of where their company is headquartered?

Monroe County has rolled out innovative ways to encourage their college students to stay and work for manufacturers, companies, and health care facilities in the region. Livingston County is working to expose their young residents to interesting employment opportunities right in their back yards – so they don’t feel like they have to move to find a good paying and satisfying job. Saratoga County is developing new ways to give back to their employees, to share information and to make county workers part of their overall mission to serve their communities. NYSAC will also continue to advocate in Albany to make the state’s Civil Service rules more flexible. We are all working with an antiquated public employee hiring system that needs to be reformed and brought into this century to meet the needs and challenges we face today. We hope that some of the stories in this NYSAC News magazine and others you hear from your colleagues across the state will spur some ideas that will help you bolster your workforce and support stronger, more resilient local economies.

Stephen J. Acquario, Esq. NYSAC Executive Director

These are challenges that every county faces. NYSAC will continue to foster conversations about best practices and innovative ideas, just like the session we hosted in Buffalo. NYSAC News | www.nysac.org










NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, advocate for, and serve member counties at the federal and state levels. President Michael E. Zurlo Publisher Stephen J. Acquario Managing Editor Mark F. LaVigne Editor Tom Oldfather






Advertise with NYSAC Contact NYSAC Marketing Specialist Juanita Munguia at 518-465-1473 or jmunguia@nysac.org Published 3 times a year by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), the NYSAC News is the official publication of NYSAC, a non-profit, municipal association serving the 57 counties of New York State and the City of New York with its five boroughs for over 90 years. NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, advocate for, and serve member counties at the federal and state levels.


515 Broadway, Suite 402, Albany, New York 12207 Phone • (518) 465-1473 Fax • (518) 465-0506 Send submissions to toldfather@nysac.org. Submissions should be 750 to 1,000 words and include a high resolution photo of the author­. All submissions­are subject to editing for clarity, content and/or length.

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The advertisements and articles in NYSAC News in no way imply support or endorsement­by NYSAC for any of the products, services or messages conveyed herein.

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©2022 New York State Association of Counties

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Table of Contents Volume 44, Issue 3 Fall 2022



Taking Stock and Looking Forward


What Does the Economy Hold for Counties?


Counties Turn Focus to Strengthening Cybersecurity Protections WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

20 22

Trends Impacting the Modern Workforce How to Attract and Keep Good Staff? Good Question!


Turning the Great Resignation into the Great Opportunity


The Hollowing Out of New York’s Public Health Workforce


Connecting College Graduates to County Workforces


Where are the Workers?



Strengthening the Erie County Workforce from the Bottom Up


Workforce Development & Youth Bureau Offer Employment Guide for Young Job Seekers


EMT Career Pathway Program for High School Students


Retaining Graduates and Investing in the County Workforce


Top Tips for an Effective Remote Workforce


Counsel’s Corner: Local Laws of 2022


Advertiser Index

Cover Photo Ulster County, Mohonk Preserve Testimonial Gateway By: Kyle J. Bourdon

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org



Priorities for 2023 Taking Stock and Looking Forward By Ryan Gregoire, NYSAC Legislative Director


he 2022 legislative year contained many successes for counties, beginning with this year’s state budget. Enacted during a period in which the state had a $40 billion surplus, Governor Hochul and the State Legislature used some of these resources to deliver on counties’ top priority of ending or sunsetting the practice of diverting local sales tax to fund state responsibilities, including a distressed health facilities fund and to support the Aid to Municipalities (AIM) program, a practice inherited from the prior administration. These victories alone will provide counties with $159 million in total annual savings—$109 million in savings for the 57 counties and $50 million for NYC.

Authorized fire departments to bill Medicaid and commercial insurance for EMS services. This legislation would allow fire departments and districts that provide advanced life support and other emergency medical services to recover costs for services that they provide. It authorizes these entities to establish a fee schedule and enter into a contract with providers of advanced life support services to be reimbursed for the expenses they incur.

Capital investments related to pretrial or alternatives-toincarceration services. The enacted budget includes a $10 million appropriation to counties and nonprofit organizations to support capital investments related to pretrial, alternatives to incarceration services and reentry programs. This includes equipment, technology, and facility renovations. Funding for this will flow through DCJS and a plan must be approved by the commissioner and director of the Division of Budget.

New funding for veteran services. Current state law requires New York to provide every county and city Veterans’ Service Agency with $10,000 per year, and an additional $5,000 for each increment of 100,000 people living in the county or city. The enacted budget increases the minimum annual state funding to Veterans’ Service Agencies from $10,000 to $25,000. In addition, the enacted budget also includes $7.7 million to expand the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veterans’ Support Program statewide, providing vital peer support and counseling services to veterans who are transitioning from military service to civilian life.

In addition to our top priority of ending the diversion of local sales tax, this year’s state budget made progress on a host of county priorities.


Increased public health department funding. Local health departments (LHDs) have been at the forefront of public health issues, including Covid, and serve as the first line of defense against all new and widespread public health crises. The enacted budget increases base grant funding to full-service LHDs to $750,000, and funding for partialservice LHDs to $577,500, allowing LHDs to better respond to new and emerging public health threats. The enacted budget also amends Public Health Law to make fringe benefits an eligible expense for Article 6 state aid, subject to a 50% fringe rate cap.

Increased funding for community colleges. The enacted budget maintains a funding floor for community colleges at 100% of prior year funding, up from the 98% floor enacted in FY 2022. Without a funding floor, community colleges would have faced a $81 million (13%) loss in formula aid due to enrollment declines.

Investments in broadband services. The enacted budget repeals the DOT Right-of-Way fee for all projects, which was a top NYSAC priority. Additionally, Governor Hochul proposed a new broadband initiative in her Executive Budget called the ConnectALL program. Total investment for broadband initiatives is $1.5 billion, including $300 million for the ConnectALL grant program, and another $1.145 billion in federal funds.

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

A full breakdown of the state budget impact to counties can be found on the NYSAC website: NYSAC.org/nysbudget.

2022 Legislative Session

Looking Ahead to 2023

The 2022 Legislative Session consisted of 62 session days beginning on January 5th and concluding on June 4th. During that time, the Legislature passed 1,007 bills through both houses, a modern-day record and slightly more than the 984 in 2021.

While no one can predict the future with absolute certainty, evidence suggests that 2023 will present new and continuing challenges for counties as a tight labor market, rising inflation, and a slowing economy threaten to impact county budgets. In response to these challenges, NYSAC will continue to advocate for funding and flexibility that counties need to deliver services while protecting local property taxpayers. Some of our specific top priorities for the coming year include:

In addition to the state budget, the 2022 Legislative Session also resulted in many NYSAC legislative priorities passing through both houses.

Fully funding any increase to Article 18-B assigned counsel attorney hourly rates by enacting S.3527-B (Bailey) / A.6013-B (Magnarelli),

Municipal Recycling Funding - A.8300 (McDonald) / S.9330 (Gaughran)

Reforming the civil service process to help municipal governments across the state with recruiting and retaining public employees,

Municipal Hazard Vehicle Green Lights - A.811-A (Wallace) / S.3532-A (Kennedy)

Securing distribution from the state of federal Medicaid reimbursements that have not yet been passed to counties,

Piggybacking Extension - A.9880 (Thiele) / S.8717 (Gaughran)

Enacting legislation to establish maximum contaminant level goals for emerging contaminants in drinking water,

Securing $35 million to offset the capital costs of increasing the number of Supreme Court judges,

Authorizing gig economy industries, such as VRBO, Airbnb, and other vacation and home rental agencies to collect sales tax for the state and counties (outside of New York City),

Increasing the CHIPS bidding threshold to $750,000. An increase in the threshold would give localities the flexibility and option to bid out or perform in-house projects under $750,000, and

Increasing state funding to county veterans’ service agencies to a minimum of $50,000. This small increase will help counties hire a part-time veteran service officer to assist in processing benefit claims, link veterans to peer support services, and develop robust Dwyer programs.

Carpet Stewardship - A.9279-A (Englebright) / S.5027-C (Kavanagh)

County-wide Shared Services Reform - S.8887-A (Cooney) / A.10337-A (Lunsford)

• • • •

Valuation of Condominiums for Real Property Taxation Purposes - A.3491-B (Galef) / S.5946-B (Reichlin-Melnick)

Financial Responsibility for Human Postexposure Rabies Treatment - A.7408-A (Gottfried) / S.7501 (Hinchey)

Disabled Access Parking Enforcement - A.9805 (Magnarelli) / S.8822 (Kennedy)

For more information on the 2022 State Legislative Session, visit the NYSAC website and download a copy of our Legislative Session Summary.

This represents just a small snapshot of the many legislative priorities and policy actions that NYSAC will be advocating for in tandem with county leadership in 2023. We look forward to continuing our progress working with our counties, and state leaders in Albany to advocate on behalf of our mutual constituency—the New York taxpayer.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


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NYSAC News | Fall 2022


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NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


What Does the Economy Hold for Counties? By Dave Lucas, NYSAC Director of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs

On the one hand… The New York State and U.S. economy are facing headwinds as we briskly stumble toward 2023. The highest inflation in 40 years, a Covid pandemic supply chain breakdown hangover, geopolitical conflict, severe weather and war impacting food supplies, a shrinking workforce, a stock market in bear country, rising interest rates, negative GDP, and continuous declines in housing sales have most economists projecting a recession during 2023 and many CEOs planning for the impact of a recession on their operations in August.

But on the other… Even with all of this, is a recession inevitable? There is a lot of conflicting economic data muddying the waters. Unemployment is near historic lows, consumer spending remains strong in the face of higher prices, cumulative “excess” personal savings has remained more than $1.1 trillion above pre-Covid levels since May of 2020 (down from a $2.1 trillion peak in July of 2021), employees still seem to have leverage in wage negotiations with employers, and there are still way more job openings than there are employees to fill them.

However, the consensus appears to be… Even with the mixed signals, it seems a recession is far more likely than not over the next 12-18 months. So, should we expect a hard landing or something more manageable? Back to our CEO’s thoughts on this front. According to the August Conference Board survey of CEO sentiment “…81% said they expect the downturn to be brief and shallow, vs. 12% who said they expected a deep recession.” Among economists, a most recent Wall Street Journal survey reported that 63% are expecting a recession to occur within the next 12 months (up from 49% in the prior month). Most expect the recession to be relatively short (around 8 months), with unemployment topping out just under 5% by the end of 2023 and hovering around that level through most of 2024.


NYSAC News | Fall 2022

By historical standards, a 5% unemployment rate is pretty low. However, the low rate is driven by a smaller worker pool. The smaller worker pool will keep upward pressure on wages for many employers, which will, in turn, keep upward pressure on inflation and prod the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates. Some economists believe this cycle could lead to a longer and deeper recession.

Expectations for County Finances A recession will definitely impact county finances and revenues in a negative way. The State signaled after their first quarterly update to the SFY 2023 financial plan that the vast reserves they had built up were dwindling quickly and they would have to be more cautious. The midyear update had not come out as of this writing, even though cash reports from the State Comptroller for September showed revenues nearly $3 billion above the first quarter update. Longer term projections are likely to come down further as stock market volatility undermines income tax collections throughout the remainder of 2022 and potentially much of 2023. Counties rely on the state to, at a minimum, maintain funding for programs counties administer and partially fund on behalf of the state. If the state fiscal situation deteriorates enough, new cost shifts from the state to counties are likely. Other county revenues such as property tax are important parts of the county budget and should remain generally stable over the near term.

Mortgage recording taxes will be reduced as interest rates continue to increase. The most volatile revenue source for counties will be sales tax in a recessionary environment. The biggest fiscal positive for counties right now is the prudent fiscal management they entrenched into their budget development and long-term planning practices over the last 15 years. These practices date back to the Great Recession when significant state funding cuts and a deep recession forced counties to realign priorities, budget cautiously and build reserves. The addition of historic direct federal assistance to counties during the pandemic also boosted counties’ capacity to weather the public health emergency and rebuild after the pandemicfueled recession.

Sales Tax Implications Sales tax remains the number one source of local revenue for most counties, but it can be volatile. The slowing economy will put downward pressure on sales tax receipts for most counties, especially from the robust sales tax returns experienced recently as the economy continues to rebound from the Covid pandemic. While inflation is problematic for the economy overall it does help boost local sales tax, as long as consumers have sufficient resources to spend. The excess personal savings mentioned above have kept consumers in the game even with high inflation, but these reserves will eventually run out. While consumers have maintained their spending in nominal terms, we have recently seen spending adjusted for inflation (real spending) by consumers turn negative.

According to an analysis by the Conference Board of recent federal CPI data, year-over-year nominal spending on goods was up about 7.8% in September but came in negative when adjusted for inflation, -1.8%. Further, inflation-adjusted spending on goods has dropped every month since March. Spending on services has been growing more rapidly in recent months, as the Covid-induced spending splurge on goods continues to unwind. Food service and drinking places (and other service/tourism/adventure categories) have been strong during the summer months but showed signs of slowing down a bit in September. Counties will need to watch key categories of sales tax collection as consumer sentiment and spending capacity become more restrained by inflation pressures. Automobile sales, gasoline, energy, restaurants, travel accommodation and other big-ticket items such as appliances and home furnishings will be under more pressure as interest rates rise to tame inflation. The chart below shows the impact of inflation in key sales tax categories for counties (with the exception of medical and shelter) since December 2020 in six-month intervals. Inflation in December 2020 was muted as the pandemic was still restricting economic activity in different categories. Sales tax cash received by counties through October shows the average county up about 7.8% over the prior year for the same period. In inflation-adjusted terms, however, most counties’ sales tax collections are about breaking even for 2022 so far. The continued softening of the economy, especially as unemployment rises, will likely force a drop in county sales tax collections for many counties, in nominal and real terms, from today’s returns.

Source: BLS -- https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.t02.htm NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


Counties Turn Focus to Strengthening Cybersecurity Protections By Mark LaVigne, NYSAC Deputy Director


he cybersecurity threats to our governments cannot be understated. Breaches are happening right here in New York. Hackers are trying to access your systems right now, as you are reading this article. They are sending emails to county employees, looking for vulnerabilities in your website, and for ways into your databases. They want to disrupt your work, destroy your systems, exploit your data, and hold it for ransom. A recent ransomware attack on Suffolk County took them offline for nearly a month and forced county leaders and departments to deploy continuity of operations plans while their IT staff, consultants, and criminal investigators combed through, cleaned up, and rebuilt all their information systems.

The 2023 State Budget included a $66 million allocation to support local government cybersecurity efforts. These funds are being used to create, staff, and operate a joint security operations center (JSOC) in Brooklyn, designed to serve the state’s largest cities and the 57 counties. The JSOC will be tasked with collecting incident and potential breach data from all participating members. This information will then be evaluated by JSOC staff and shared with participants to help them appropriately protect their respective systems.

It will cost Suffolk County millions of dollars to respond to this cybersecurity attack.

The state is also using the budget allocation to invest in Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) services for all counties and the five largest cities by leveraging New York City’s contract with CrowdStrike. EDR provides a technology tool designed to monitor incoming activity on every device—such as a laptop, personal computer, or server—that is connected to the Internet. The information gathered by the EDR can then be used to help the county segregate a potentially infected computer or system to reduce the chances that it spreads to other systems on a county’s network. This information will also be shared with the JSOC so that staff can warn other participants about the attempt to hack into a members’ system.

Suffolk County is the latest and largest victim of cybercriminals, but they were not the first and they will not be the last. On Saturday, October 18, 2020, Chenango County public health officials came into the office to carry out critical Covid related duties, only to find they had no access to the files on their computers. It was the height of the pandemic and days before early voting would begin for the presidential election, and unknown to them at the time, their county’s data was being held for ransom.

The state’s investments in the JSOC and the EDR services supplement efforts by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and the Office of Information and Technology Services (ITS) to support local governments’ cybersecurity efforts. These include tabletop exercises for counties to practice what to do in the event of a cyber incident, and responses by the Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT), which is the first point of contact for local governments following a cyberattack.

As one of the state’s largest and most sophisticated counties, Suffolk County had taken many steps to strengthen their cybersecurity protocols, yet bad actors were still able to penetrate their security. As their partners scour and remediate their systems, update their servers, and restore their data, the county implemented its continuity of operations plan, and is serving the citizens, partner agencies, and employees.


The State’s Response

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

The Challenge of Cybersecurity Insurance As the frequency, sophistication, and severity of cyberattacks is rising, one of counties’ most important mitigation tools– cybersecurity insurance–is getting harder to come by and more expensive. In the past three years, counties that purchase cybersecurity insurance have seen their cybersecurity insurance premiums increase to double or triple the rates they were paying in 2019, while receiving less robust coverage and new limits on the different aspects of their coverage. They also must fill out increasingly long and cumbersome applications and fulfill new requirements. And sometimes, despite these hoops, increased costs, and new limits, local governments or counties still may be denied the insurance coverage they are looking for. This summer, NYSAC began exploring the possibility of organizing a collective of county governments for the purposes of the joint procurement of cybersecurity insurance with more competitive premium rates, improved coverage, and standardize requirements and coverage policies across participants. We conducted a County Cybersecurity Insurance Survey to our member counties and members of the NYS Local Government IT Directors Association. We received 28 responses by the last week in July from 26 public entities (23 counties, 1 city, and 2 towns). The results indicated that 21 entities purchased some level of insurance coverage, and five counties did not buy insurance.

We then asked those entities who were still interested in exploring a pooled insurance program to submit a cybersecurity insurance application that included a series of questions about cybersecurity controls they had in place. Thus far, brokers have indicated that there is little or no appetite on the part of the current insurance market to develop a pooled purchase program for public entities. The degrees of risk vary too dramatically, and the controls in place across entities are not at a standard level of acceptance for insurance underwriters.

NYSAC Resources In response to this evolving cyber threat, NYSAC has developed a number of resources to help educate our members and provide tools to help counties step up their efforts to protect their information infrastructure. These resources include a Cybersecurity Primer for County Leaders, a report on Cybersecurity Insurance Challenges for Public Entities, and a cybersecurity webinar series cosponsored by NYSAC, the NYS Conference of Mayors, the Association of Towns, the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, and the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany. All these resources and more can be found on our website at www. nysac.org/cyber. While the threat from cyber criminals continues to grow and “silver bullet” solutions remain elusive, NYSAC will continue to work with experts in the field as well as our partners at the state and federal levels to develop policy, tools and training to help counties mitigate to keep their systems, their data and their residents safe from cybercriminals.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


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NYSAC News | Fall 2022


CANARX was the first International Prescription Service Provider to introduce and supply a public-sector program in America and we’ve since worked with numerous counties, saving self-funded health plans – and members – millions of dollars on prescription costs.


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Trends Impacting the Modern Workforce How Counties Can Prepare for the Future of Work By Nicole Overley, Senior Manager and Future of Work Leader, Deloitte Consulting and Jazmin Kay, Human Capital Consultant, Deloitte Consulting


here is currently a ripe opportunity for New York’s county leaders to radically reimagine and prepare their local communities for the Future of Work (FoW). The public sector is at a critical juncture in responding to the continuously evolving nature of work. With large federal relief packages such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) approaching close dates, the public sector must shift their energy towards increasing efficiencies, utilizing best practices learned over the course of the past few years to build a more resilient workforce, especially in response to global trends including inflation, concerns around future pandemics, global supply chain issues and relations, sustainability and acting on climate, and more. As the workforce re-emerges from the pandemic, the public sector has also been critical in shaping new investment, leading to new industry growth. Recent legislation in New York and nationally will increase the number of jobs in emerging industries like clean energy and green occupations, supported through New York’s environment and sustainability initiatives.

When asked at the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) Legislative Conference, county leaders and stakeholders shared what they identify as the top challenge facing their workforce, with attracting new diverse talent leading in a competitive economy as their top concern (52%), followed by civil service and residency requirements and retiring and aging workforce population (each at 15%), growing skilling/ re-skilling needs (9%), transition to remote work and evolving technologies (7%), with the remainder listing something else. Similarly, when asked if the ability to offer remote work was a factor in recruiting and retaining top talent, 71% of attendes at the conference responded that it was an active challenge for them.

Counties have an opportunity to position themselves for these new economic development opportunities and lead workforce strategies to attract and train new talent to support growing industries, such as piloting new training and development programs focused on meeting the demand for green jobs creation. True economic recovery will require local governments to partner with higher education institutions and community groups to support their communities in developing more opportunities to upskill their workforce. Of the ten largest occupations statewide in New York, accounting for 6.5 million jobs, only one occupation requires a high school diploma/equivalency or less. Across the State, approximately 38.2% (5.22 million) New Yorkers 25 years or older have a high school diploma/equivalency or less and 796,000 never even entered the 9th grade.


NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Understanding these challenges, the Future of Work allows us to proactively provide County and State leaders with frameworks to introduce new workforce strategies. Despite the uniqueness of county workforces in New York— civil service exams, residency requirements, regional economic development considerations—there are still concrete actions counties can undertake to prepare and modernize their workforces while also prioritizing employee well-being and talent experience.

What it means for how we manage talent...

County leaders should incorporate the following takeaways into their workforce strategy: 1.

Prepare for the Future of Work: Set clear goals to achieve around the Future of Work in the short, medium, and long term around job creation, quality, readiness, and access. Counties should identify innovative approaches to support workers focused on enhancing resiliency, adaptability, and equity. Take the time to deeply understand and map out “future jobs” and “future skills” emerging within industries.


Support Upskilling and Professional Development: For a lot of workers (particularly Gen Z and millennials) continuous learning and skill development play an outsized role in improving job satisfaction. Almost 50% of workers would consider switching jobs for better training and upskilling opportunities and more than 60% said it was an important reason to stay at their current job. Reimagine partnerships with local higher education institutions such as community colleges and nonprofits to create additional reskilling and upskilling pathways.


Design Work that Works for Them: Support residents’ access to flexible work options within and beyond geographical boundaries. Workers are now seeking jobs that work for them. This often means better compensation, better work-life balance, and an environment where they feel a sense of belonging. Workers are increasingly prioritizing their physical and mental well-being and seeking employers who do the same. In a recent Gallup Poll on workplace wants, “an organization that cares about employees’ well-being” was in the top three wants across generations and the number one priority for millennials and Gen Z.


Leverage Technology: Counties can leverage new technologies to improve both the worker experience and the recruiting process. Tools such as intelligent process automation can help employees focus on meaningful work, as opposed to additive tasks. Technology can also be used to improve the recruiting process with 63% of hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists reporting that AI has positively changed their recruiting process.


Build a Talent Network: Building a talent network and sharing marketing materials like employee testimonials, video content, and regular email communications will help county hiring teams tap into previously unreached candidate pools and increase engagement. Additionally, to compete with other sectors, counties should consider on-campus recruiting (70% of companies are recruiting on campus). Instead of being reactive when a job requisition is posted, recruiters should consider building a talent pipeline of recent graduates who are looking for their first career opportunity.

Counties should utilize this unprecedented moment to attract new, young, and diverse talent and support their communities in building a stronger, more resilient, and equitable local economy. New York’s counties can serve as a leader nationally by showing how the public sector can serve as a model in positioning their workforce for increased efficiency and competitiveness.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


How to Attract and Keep Good Staff? Good Question! By Lynda Battaglia, LCSW, Director of Mental Health & Community Services, Genesee County Executive Officer, CLMHD


s I pondered this question internally, so many thoughts flooded my mind; money, appreciation, quality, flexibility, balance, environment, teamwork, good leadership. I could have gone on and on with my thoughts but I stopped, and then I thought; “I think I know what it takes to attract and maintain good staff, but, this is really a question FOR staff.” So, I sent out an email asking staff this question, along with requesting their permission to publish their thoughts for this article. As soon as I hit the send button on the email, responses came in immediately. The reaction and responsiveness to this question tells me staff want to share their thoughts and feelings about what it takes to attract and keep staff and that they know I want to hear from them. This in and of itself, is a way to attract and keep staff. As the Director, I can go about my day making decisions that have a direct impact on staff, operations, and the organization without any input from staff, but if I want operations to run efficiently and effectively, and if I want staff to feel valued, then I need to listen. If I want to establish trust, I must be willing to put faith in their opinions about what will make us better as an organization. Collectively, we can identify areas that need improvement and work on solutions together. Overall, the responses were fairly in sync with my immediate thoughts on this question; our staff wants to be heard, they appreciated my asking for their input, and if I want to have a pulse on how things are going internally, I just have to ask. Here’s what our staff had to say: “I think having a positive, supportive working environment where the staff feels appreciated is important along with opportunities for advancement and flexibility.” “I appreciate feeling valued as a person at work. Not just some arbitrary object that sits at a desk and brings money into the company.”


NYSAC News | Fall 2022

“Supportive teamwork atmosphere. Non-punitive, constructive criticism. Affordable health benefits.” “Flexibility in work schedule.” “I think it's important for an organization to exhibit fairness and equal standards, effective communication, transparency (when possible), and an effort to not stay stuck in the old way of doing things just because that's the way they have always been done.” “Feeling appreciated.” “Feedback; Honest and thoughtful feedback helps employees know where to improve. Positive feedback motivates people to do even better. Leaders & Supervisors; When employees can respect and trust the leadership team, they feel secure. Leaders who are accessible can communicate well, give honest reports and listen to employees are key to job satisfaction. Staff being appreciated and treated equally regardless of job title. Communication is key to being successful to make things run smoothly. Work as a team with equal workloads for the job title.” So, there you have it. You now know what staff need and expect for them to not only start with an agency but to stay at one. I think as administrators, leaders, and managers, we must truly self-evaluate how we are doing with leading by example. We must keep that door of communication open, build trust, value our employees, advocate for appropriate compensation, listen and recognize that as much as we have on our shoulders, we do not carry that stress in a silo. Collectively, everyone plays a role and by everyone playing a role, then we have a team. And when you have a team, regardless of how many players you have, you can do great things! We are doing great things at Genesee County Mental Health. We’ve got a great team and I value every staff person!

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


Turning the Great Resignation into the Great Opportunity By Ian Coyle, Livingston County Administrator


irst, we need to talk about these names. We have the Great Resignation. The Great Reset. The Great Re-evaluation. The Great Attraction. The Great Recognition. I laugh because no matter the moniker, it is always seemingly "great" somehow. I like the term re-evaluation. People of all walks of life, in all facets of the economy, and in positions both with and without lots of authority, appraised their individual situations and decided to leave their place of employment or start a business or retire early. The pandemic and post-pandemic realities accelerated this situation.

Additionally, we are seeing fewer people interested in certain public sector positions, especially public safety positions. County departments that employ positions with counterpart positions in the private sector, such as nurses, accountants, and engineers, are especially impacted by the changing labor market. Local governments are also experiencing the impacts of prior year budget cuts that have diminished their "bench strength" of next-generation talent to fill openings. Work flexibility, culture, stress, burnout, compensation, and benefits are surely concerns as well.

According to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, there are more government job openings now than at any time in the past 20 years. Nationwide, local governments are down 600,000 filled jobs versus pre-Covid, about 3-4% of all jobs. The unemployment rate is also ~3.5%. It is, as they say, a good time to be a free agent.

With these challenges come opportunities. A big opportunity, and in some ways an untapped area for marketing and messaging, is public service motivation. Studies show that people value making a difference. They value work that is meaningful and where one can see the real impact of their service and their labor. This is a major asset for county government recruiting as providing tangible benefits to everyday people is at the core of what counties do!

So given these facts, what is the impact on New York's county governments? Why is this an issue? Counties are in the service business and are "people-heavy" in that much of the work cannot be automated. Additionally, many of the functions counties perform—corrections, sheriff, EMS response, highway and bridge work, and social work—is work that, for the most part, cannot be done on a remote basis. Therefore, the dynamics of the current labor market upheaval are impacting county governments in ways that are different from other employers.


NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Another opportunity is culture. Workplace culture and organizational strength are often more important to prospective applicants than the usual salary and benefit considerations. This dovetails with another important trait that many prospective workers seek, a continued focus on mental health. Counties are traditionally strong in this area—often because we run these services as part of county government—and a resolute focus on the mental well-being of employees, coupled with displaying and promoting this as a source of pride for the organization, can be a significant asset in recruiting talent.

As with most things, when it comes to operationalizing these opportunities for recruitment, the devil is in the details. Here are some helpful strategies that counties may wish to consider. 1.

Develop and promote employee appreciation programs. These are no-cost, to low-cost programs that are quite meaningful to your employees.


Budget for, and sustain, internship and fellowship programs. These are great feeder programs for the backfilling of important positions. Our example in Livingston County is the Dominic F. Mazza Local Government Fellowship (paid internship) program for a 2nd year MPA student.


Review compensation and benefits. Seems like a nobrainer, but can subtle and sustainable enhancements be considered to improve the pay of your employees? What about voluntary benefits?


Assess the pre-employment experience. You want to make it as painless as possible for an employee to express interest in a position. Is it easy to find, complete and transmit the application?


Review the on-boarding process. This should be the proverbial welcome mat to employment with the county. Is it indeed welcoming? Is it seamless?


Develop career pathways. Employees respond, in survey after survey, that they like to see progression and advancement opportunities. What promotional routes are available to your employees? Are they fully aware of future possibilities?


Focus on training and professional development. This is another often overlooked facet of employee retention efforts. Develop a soup-to-nuts continuing education program. Take advantage of NYSAC programs plus NACo offerings like the High-Performance Leadership Academy.



Focus on pro-active recruitment efforts. People are not necessarily looking for a job and sometimes must be “found” and introduced to a position. Are you getting the position advertisement to the right prospects? The days of "post and pray" are over. Review and update job descriptions. “The distinguishing features of the xn--class.-hq3d.etc.is...” not the red-carpet rollout one wants when detailing the specifications of a job. Make these descriptions current, fun and intriguing.

10. Last but not least – highlight improvements in the quality of life of the community. Candidates and employees, both in and out of your catchment area, want to see vibrancy. Parks, community development, robust services and so forth. County governments are the main player in this facet of recruitment and retention. Let’s maximize this opportunity!

Did You Know?

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A unique health insurance plan developed for New York’s public employees For additional information regarding The Empire Plan or the Excelsior Plan, public employers may visit our website at www.cs.ny.gov or email the Public Employer Liaison Unit (PELU) for the New York State Health Insurance Program at PELU@cs.ny.gov. Employee Benefits Division of the New York State Department of Civil Service NYSAC News | www.nysac.org




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NYSAC News | Fall 2022






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NYSAC News | Fall 2022

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


The Hollowing Out of New York’s Public Health Workforce By Molly Fleming, Senior Program Manager, NYSACHO and Sarah Ravenhall, Executive Director, NYSACHO


he public health workforce in the United States has faced staffing shortages for over a decade, with one estimate by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) finding that the national public health workforce decreased by almost 10% between 2012 and 2019, while at the same time the United States population increased.1 New York State’s public health workforce has not been immune from this phenomenon, and these issues have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. New York’s local health departments (LHD) promote and protect the health of the populations living in each of New York’s 62 counties. They serve as the first line of defense against all new and potentially widespread public health crises. To assess whether the LHD workforce has been impacted by national shortages, the Region 2 Public Health Training Center (PHTC) collaborated with the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) to study the local health workforce for New York State. The goals of the study were to quantify New York’s LHD workforce, assess how the workforce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and identify challenges to recruit and retain qualified public health workers in LHDs. NYSACHO and Region 2 PHTC developed the study questionnaire using validated questions from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) 2019 National Profile of Local Health Departments, to enable longitudinal comparison between 2019 and 2021.

At first glance, the LHD workforce appears to have remained stagnant, with a slight increase in all FTEs employed (2%) since 2019. This alone would be alarming given that during this time, LHDs were responding to the largest public health threat in nearly a century. However, when looking at the data broken down by employee type (full-time, part-time, contractual, and seasonal), this finding becomes even more worrying. Between 2019 and 2021, the full-time LHD workforce decreased by 26%, while contractual employees saw a huge increase, 12,210% (Figure 1). This large influx of contractual employees partly comes from COVID-19 funding provided by the state and federal governments for LHDs to hire contracted staff to assist with COVID-19 mitigation activities such as case-investigation, contact tracing, and vaccination. However, these employees are not permanent and when funding runs out, they will leave

The survey collected information on individuals and full-time equivalents (FTEs) employed, specific occupational titles, duration of vacancies, reasons for workforce reductions, barriers to hiring, and upcoming retirements. In late 2021, NYSACHO distributed the survey to leadership at all 58 of New York State’s LHDs, with 52 LHD’s (90%) responding. Among its key determinations, this study found that New York State’s LHD workforce has seen a marked decline in the number of full-time staff employed since 2019. 30

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Figure 1: Changes in FTEs Employed in LHDs from 2019 to 2021, By Employee Type

LHDs with staffing shortfalls as they continue to fight COVID-19 and other existing and emerging public health issues, like Monkeypox and polio. Additionally, LHDs have seen a marked increase in vacancy rates since 2019. Overall, LHDs reported a 20% average vacancy rate for their departments, compared to 12% in 2019. The positions with the highest vacancy rates included licensed practical or vocational nurses (39%), supervising public health nurses (26%), community health workers (24%), health educators (24%), and public health nurses (23%). Respondents indicated that nursing positions, including public health nurses, were frequently vacant for more than a year. Public health physicians and health educators were the other positions that were most frequently reported to be vacant for long periods of time. Long vacancy periods leave LHDs without the full staffing required to be readily available to respond to emerging public health crises. High vacancy rates also increase the risk of existing staff becoming overworked and suffering from burnout, leading to further turnover and vacancies. To read more about COVID’s Impact on the Mental Health of New York’s Public Health Workforce, see NYSAC Magazine’s summer 2022 issue. Compounding the existing staff shortage, all LHD respondents, regardless of size, reported high impending retirements, with 990 FTEs (almost 10% of the current workforce) planning to retire within the next three years. Since the start of the pandemic, 31% of LHD leaders (Commissioners/Directors) have retired or left their departments. Each retirement equates to decades of institutional governmental public health knowledge leaving a department and the community it serves. As to why LHDs struggle to hire qualified candidates, study respondents noted that salaries are too low to be competitive for positions such as nurses, public health physicians, office and administrative support staff, lab workers, epidemiologists, and others. Respondents also indicated that qualified candidates are hard to find for various roles including health educators, environmental sanitarians and technicians, and community health workers. Additionally, the hiring process for LHDs is too lengthy for candidates to endure due to various administrative hurdles, including civil service rules. LHD leaders have reported that during the hiring process, many candidates turn down job offers to accept positions within the private sector, local

hospitals, or state agencies due to more attractive hiring offers. These findings complement existing evidence that has been accumulating for the last decade indicating the need for longterm investment in local public health infrastructure to bolster the workforce and ensure that local health departments are ready at a moment’s notice to activate emergency response efforts to protect their communities from health threats. The 2022-23 New York State budget included a much-needed increase in base funding (known as Article 6 funding) for LHD operations. However, without a more proportional long-term investment in the LHD workforce, any gains made this year will not last. It is therefore imperative that federal, state, and local investments are made to bolster the local public health workforce and ensure the health of our communities. Emergency funding allocated to LHDs must be sustained, flexible, free of restrictions, and disease-agnostic to ensure LHDs can use it to meet the unique needs of the counties they serve. With the arrival of new threats such Monkeypox, the return of formally defeated threats such as measles and polio, and the ever-present threats of childhood lead poisoning, opioid addiction, contaminated public water supplies, and now COVID-19, there is far too much at stake for the state to risk relying on understaffed public health infrastructure. New York State’s lawmakers must revisit this critical issue in the coming legislative year. Please visit: https://www.nysacho.org/topic/state-budget-priorities to learn more about NYSACHO’s state budget priorities. Acknowledgements: The project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Region 2 Public Health Training Center. Thank you to those responsible for participating in this research. Isaac Michaels, Sylvia Pirani, Molly Fleming, Mayela M. Arana, Emily D’Angelo, Cristina Dyer-Drobnack, Margaret DiManno, Sarah Ravenhall and Christian T. Gloria References: 1 Carlin M, Ensign K, Person C, Kittle A, Meadows K (2021). State of the Public Health Workforce: Trends and Challenges Leading up to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

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NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Connecting College Graduates to County Workforces By Katie Elefteriadis, NYSAC Intern


s a senior in college, I am actively on the lookout for job opportunities and internships that might give me more experience for my post-graduation future. Today’s generation lives on their phones. Everything we need is in one small device that we carry with us 24/7. Instead of turning to a newspaper, we have the pleasure of looking at jobs online and applying whenever, wherever. Platforms like LinkedIn, Handshake, and Indeed are common job-hunting websites that college students and graduates use to find jobs and internships they’re interested in. Unfortunately, these technological advances have not necessarily translated to a steady stream of college-to-county workers. To learn more about how my peers are approaching their respective job searches, I spoke with a few seniors who will be graduating from the University at Albany this spring. What I concluded from our conversations is that seniors aren’t looking at jobs in county offices because they are unaware of the great need for county government workers. If you don’t know a certain job exists, how are you going to apply for it? When someone says ‘county job’, I think of it as the whole county rather than the different departments that make up the county. When you ask someone who wants to be a lawyer they see it differently. “I used to think of a county as containing legislators, judges, and mainly being made up of law enforcement; but my idea of them has broadened to be more than that. I now think of a county as everything I said but more, there’s also the people who draft and create bills,” said one UAlbany senior. Another senior had a more negative outlook on county and government offices, equating it to what he perceives to be a broken and dysfunctional American government. If counties were to advocate and educate college students on who they are and what they do, I believe it would give us a better understanding of what our local county offices do and why we might want to work with them. Many graduates either already have a job lined up or are applying to positions. Some, depending on their field of study, are going back to school. I believe parents and society have conditioned kids to think that whatever you major in in college is the area you have to apply for once graduated.

QR codes are a great way to connect with younger job seekers. Scan this image with your smartphone camera to learn more about QR codes. Most graduates wouldn’t even think to work for the county or government if they didn’t study political science or something directly related to government. My friend, who I had interviewed as well, came into college knowing she was going to become a lawyer, wanting to make a change within the system. She has currently applied to the NYS Assembly internship program—something she found out about through our school—and is waiting to hear back. The best way for counties to make inroads with soon-to-be graduating college students is by attending career fairs that local colleges host and interacting with the students. Not only are career fairs a great way of networking but it gives students the opportunity to ask the questions they can’t ask while looking at jobs online. Visiting and speaking to classes and clubs would also be a great way to connect with students and to inform students about opportunities in county government. Another great way to connect with seniors is by reaching out to universities and local colleges and having advisors and teachers send out emails to students regarding opportunities for careers in county government. I frequently get emails from companies or from the university career center advisors who have been contacted by outside people looking for students to work for them either as interns, or for part-time and full-time positions. In fact, I received an email from my school regarding an internship with NYSAC and I applied through the link provided, and here I am now! It’s been my perception that county officials are often looking for people with significant on-the-job experience, something most seniors don’t have. To make inroads with college students, counties could consider increasing the availability of internships so that students have the opportunity to work in a government office and get the feel for it. Most importantly, counties need to be meeting college students where they are; at their colleges and online! In doing so, counties can make needed connections to today's graduating seniors, and plant the seed with future graduates. NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


Where are the Workers? By Mike Sykes, Senior Counselor/Business Services Representative, Ontario County Workforce Development


here are the workers?” That is the question being asked by businesses more than any other. Discussions of effective recruitment and retention practices are common as everyone searches for a way to maintain adequate staffing levels. In this tight, post-Covid labor market, the answers are multifaceted and often not as simple as we would like. In every sector of the economy, businesses are struggling to recruit new employees to fill vacancies while simultaneously striving to retain existing employees. This begs the question: What can businesses do to effectively maintain adequate staffing levels?

Getting Quality Employees Recruitment can be difficult and just getting the attention of job seekers seems to be a battle in and of itself as many businesses connected with Ontario County Workforce Development report very low response rates to job postings. Even if applications are received from seemingly qualified candidates, the hiring process has become an uphill battle. The ghosting phenomenon has replaced the outdated recruitment paradigm of “post a job, schedule interviews, select the best candidate, and set a start date for employment.” One local business reported a 50% attrition rate for every step of the recruitment process; half offered an interview will show up, half will answer the call with a job offer, and half of the candidates given a start date actually show up on the first day. It's not all doom and gloom though, and businesses can take action to increase their chances of obtaining well-qualified applicants. To be successful, businesses must actively seek out new candidates utilizing various recruitment methods, including tried and true approaches like job fair participation, signage, and job postings, as well as maintaining an online presence on social media platforms and recruiting websites, and assuring their own website is intuitive. Advertising by multiple means is critical. By offering and advertising the benefits most sought after by job seekers, a business can entice the most qualified candidates. A September 26, 2022 article in the Rochester Business Journal discussed the benefits most sought after by job seekers. The article concluded that employees are seeking work/life balance as much as they are seeking good pay and health benefits, and businesses benefit from tailoring benefits available to the demographic pool they are focusing recruitment efforts toward. 34

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

As a Workforce Development professional, I can say that younger workers are focusing on the starting wage before anything else due to cost-of-living concerns. Businesses willing to explore alternative populations have found that modifying previous qualifications for employment, such as marijuana policies and conviction histories, may help bring in capable candidates previously prohibited from employment. One of the most sought-after benefits popularized by necessity during Covid is “work from home” or remote work. Many candidates in the labor pool actively seek this employment option and those who already have it seem unwilling to part with it, sometimes leaving employment rather than returning to the office.

Keeping Quality Employees With the labor market heavily favoring job seekers, employees are more willing to seek out positions elsewhere for higher pay or benefits not offered at their current place of employment. Once new employees have been onboarded, businesses must keep the pay and benefits competitive or risk ultimately losing the employees they have invested so much in recruiting. The payroll company Paychex completed a retention survey in May of 2022 that found health insurance and retirement benefits were the top-ranked benefits for helping retain employees long-term. While frivolous perks, such as stocked snack stations and inoffice ping pong tables and lounges have been popularized by the tech sector, many businesses can retain their top talent by providing the resources to continue career development. Continued job training focused on skill building, crosstraining, and promotional options may ensure that employees choose to stay because they do not need to look elsewhere for career development opportunities. Competition for job seekers is fierce and maintaining necessary staffing levels often requires increasing resources and creativity to attract the attention of potential candidates. However, some businesses may struggle to balance the ability to offer or afford perks and benefits with the need to recruit and retain in a highly competitive marketplace. While there is no easy solution for the shortage of qualified candidates, businesses willing to devote more resources toward employee recruitment and retention will increase their chances of obtaining and retaining top talent.

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Strengthening the Erie County Workforce from the Bottom Up By Zaque Evans, Senior Economic Development Specialist, Erie County


hen the federal Health Professions Opportunity Grant program (HPOG) expired in 2021, Erie County realized the benefits of training lower-income residents in healthcare fields and opted to continue a fully county funded healthcare training program. To accomplish this, we launched the Erie County Healthcare Careers program (ECHC). In a short time, ECHC has proven to be a win-win-win as it provides tuition and fees assistance, as well as supportive services funding for Erie County residents making under $25/hour, puts residents on a pathway to family-sustaining wages and career stability, and helps alleviate our critical staffing shortages in the healthcare system with highly trained workers. Already the program has more than quadrupled the annual enrollment numbers under HPOG. ECHC is administered through the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, our WIOA partner agency, and is projected to yet again outperform in 2023. Another exciting workforce development initiative in Erie County is the Live Well Erie initiative. Launched by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the program uses $10 million allocated by the county to fund a pilot project to tackle a pervasive problem – the benefits cliff. A “benefits cliff ” occurs when an individual’s increase in pay results in their loss or substantial reduction of public support programs. As such, many individuals remain in lower-paying jobs for which they are overqualified, or avoid opportunities for upskilling or career advancement, because of this “cliff ”. This in turn creates a barrier to upward socioeconomic mobility and inhibits workers from taking the final off-ramp from public support services. The Live Well Erie Workforce Development Pilot is one of the only programs in the nation designed to tackle the benefits cliff head-on. The pilot aims to help an initial cohort of 100-200 local workers make that final “jump” over the benefits cliff by providing direct support during their upskilling and training periods.


NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Furthermore, Erie County has partnered with 10 local employers in five high-demand sectors—manufacturing; health care; hospitality; business/customer service; technology— to participate in this pilot program, providing training opportunities and career advancement for employees as they make their way over the benefits cliff. Additionally, to make the benefits cliff more digestible and accessible to partners in the business community, Erie County along with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and their “Employ Buffalo Niagara” initiative, have teamed up with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to create a Benefits Cliff Calculator. Using a host of data, the Benefits Cliff Calculator allows employers to interactively see what wages would be required for their real-world positions to ensure their employees do not fall prey to the benefits cliff, and are in a career track that has livable, sustaining wages. You can view the Benefits Cliff Calculator at: thepartnership.org/ employ-buffalo-niagara/benefits-cliff-calculator Like much of America, Erie County is experiencing an incredibly tight labor market. This presents both challenges and opportunities for our community. On the one hand, our regional numbers of employed persons have officially overtaken pre-pandemic levels and wages are up. On the other, it is extremely difficult for employers to find the workers they need. Nearly all our county partners nationwide can relate to this conundrum. Erie County has a host of workforce development initiatives, both within county government and in collaboration with our partners in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, and there is still more in the hopper for 2022. From developing and researching new workforce-related policies, to forming working groups and task forces, and rolling out pilot programs, Erie County’s work in this area is slated to continue in 2023 as we continue to grapple with the shifting geography of work in the post-Covid era, macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty, and a reshuffling of business patterns.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute Career Development Center’s career advisors provide comprehensive career development services including:

Academic Planning and Advisement

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NYSAC News | Fall 2022


Workforce Development & Youth Bureau Offer Employment Guide for Young Job Seekers By Sean Farnsworth, Grants & Public Information Coordinator, Livingston County


ll around us, we continue to see the detrimental effects of climate change here and around the globe. The Capital Region experienced record-levels of rainfall this summer forcing residents to deal with frequent flooding. Younger county residents preparing to enter the labor market have a new resource available to guide them. The Livingston County Office of Workforce Development (LCOWD) and the Livingston County Youth Bureau have released “Getting Your First Job: A Guide to Youth Employment,” a 42-page online booklet aimed at guiding interested young people toward positions and employers matching their qualifications and interests. The book is tailored for teens and features everything needed to find a local job, including age requirements, interview tips, and a list of employers receptive to first-time job seekers. “Basically, we’re trying to take the unknowns out of the hiring process for younger folks,” said Ryan Snyder, LCOWD Director. “The more hurdles we can remove for someone looking to enter the workforce, the better for them and the better for our local employers, who continue to experience worker shortages.” The guide also includes legal considerations such as hours of work, types of job duties each age group may complete, and work certificates that teens may need to obtain before starting. The guide is now online at https://www.livingstoncounty.us/ DocumentCenter/View/15381/Youth- Employment-BookletEdited.

SCAN FOR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT GUIDE For more information, visit the Livingston County Office of Workforce Development website or contact them at 585.243.7047.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


EMT Career Pathway Program for High School Students By Jenniffer McCloskey, Director of Saratoga County Employment and Training


n June of 2022, the Saratoga County Department of Employment and Training launched the EMT Career Pathway Pilot Program. Born out of the need for current and future first responders, the program was designed to be the first step in what we hope will be a lifelong dedication to public service and greater medical careers for participants. Partnering with the Town of Clifton Park, Clifton Park-Halfmoon EMS, Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC), Shenendehowa High School (Shen), and Career Jam, we aimed to create a community-based collaboration to provide the structure and supports needed for success. Starting small with a group of six from Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, students were enrolled at Hudson Valley Community College and began their training at the HVCC TEC-SMART campus in Malta. Upon completion of the program, they earned seven college credits. Committing much of their summer, the program encompassed 140 hours of instruction and practical lab time in addition to ten patient ride-alongs with the Clifton Park-Halfmoon EMS.

Understanding that the cost of tuition, books and supplies can create barriers for many students contemplating their next steps after high school graduation, we provided these necessities to students enrolled in the program so they could be as successful as possible during their journey to becoming our community’s future EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors. During the program’s kickoff event, Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, Superintendent of Schools stated, “As a school system, it is our responsibility to provide students with options and opportunities to lead them into the future. Creating this career pathway prior to students graduating from Shenendehowa allows our young people to serve their community and meet the growing workforce demands in frontline emergency response.” Phil Barrett, Town of Clifton Park Supervisor said, “This unique program not only offers students with an interest in the medical services field an option to enter the workforce while pursuing their post-secondary certifications and degrees, but also helps to meet a critical need for more EMTs in our community. I’m thankful to our partners at Saratoga County Employment and Training, Clifton ParkHalfmoon EMS, Hudson Valley Community College, Shenendehowa High School, and Career Jam, who’ve come together to create this important and innovative program. As a Shen alumni myself, (Class of 1997), I was excited to launch the Saratoga County EMT Career Pathway pilot program at my alma mater. We had hoped the program would be successful and would give us insight into whether it was a worthwhile endeavor to expand county-wide. What we didn’t expect was how impactful, successful, and lifechanging the program would be.

Supervisor of Clifton Park, Phil Barrett; Superintendent of Shenendehowa Schools, Dr. L. Oliver Robinson; HVCC Program Director of Paramedic and Community Health, Robert Phillip; Executive Director of Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Corps, Inc., Alan Bell. 40

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

Director of Saratoga County Employment and Training, Jenniffer McCloskey; three EMT Career Pathway students.

While the students clearly had an interest in the emergency medical field, this experience lit a fire within them. Many plan to continue this pathway to become paramedics, doctors, and surgeons. The program was such a success, it was recognized by the New York State School Board Association for their “Champions of Change” award. Today there are six new EMTs in Saratoga County and next summer our goal is to double or triple that number. With the cost of $2,000 per student, the contribution we have made to our communities, our young people, and our partners, has clearly delivered a worthwhile return on our investment.

Saratoga County EMT Career Pathway Pilot Program Students.

• •

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


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NYSAC News | Fall 2022

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Retaining Graduates and Investing in the County Workforce By Kate Pierce-Nimz, NYSAC Multimedia Specialist


YSAC recently published an episode of its County Conversations podcast on a new county initiative that aims to keep local college graduates in the area after graduation. The program is called Rochester Emerging Talent and Innovation Network or RETAIN. The RETAIN program offers recent graduates a $2,000 lump sum payment after having lived, worked, and networked in Monroe County for at least one year. The following interview is an excerpt from the podcast in which Monroe County Executive Adam Bello detailed this innovative workforce development initiative. Interview edited for length and clarity. KATE PIERCE-NIMZ Can you give us an overview of the current student population and workforce in Monroe County? COUNTY EXECUTIVE ADAM BELLO Rochester is actually known to be a college town. We have over a dozen colleges and universities in the region, not just in Monroe County, but the whole Finger Lakes region. Between 60 and 80,000 college students that call our region home for most of the year. But while we have one of the highest per capita number of students compared to almost any other region in the country, we have one of the lower retention rates of any of the regions across the country. We have jobs we need to fill right here in our region, and we have students right here in our region graduating. We're trying to think of ways to keep them here, incentivize them to stay here and help grow the economy in that way.

KATE PIERCE-NIMZ Once you identified this gap in retention, what drove the creation of the RETAIN program? COUNTY EXECUTIVE ADAM BELLO The inspiration here around the RETAIN program, which stands for the Rochester Emerging Talent and Innovation Network, is really to try to look at who are these 19,000 college graduates that are graduating from our region every year? Where are they going? And what would it take to keep them here to help bridge that connection between individuals who are looking for work and employers who are trying to fill those gaps and fill jobs. And what RETAIN is supposed to do is try to bridge that connection between those college graduates, local employers, while also allowing those employers to be competitive, to be able to offer salaries and other incentives, to try to hire people to fill those gaps. We launched this program by bringing the Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Rochester Enterprise together with the county and then with our colleges and universities and the student groups associated with those universities and our young professional organizations here in town. We were able to create this pilot program that we think meets the needs of both college students and businesses. It incentivizes a graduate from a local university to stay in town by offering them a $2,000 incentive, essentially a bonus, to stay here and work here. Because we're doing it through the employer, we're actually giving that employer another tool to help recruit talent and fill those job vacancies. So, it's really a win-win for everyone.


NYSAC News | Fall 2022

KATE PIERCE-NIMZ The funding is being supplied by the Monroe County Industrial Development Corporation - what will those grant funds look like when they're distributed? COUNTY EXECUTIVE ADAM BELLO What's interesting about the way this program is funded through, we call it the MCIDC, is that the development corporation partners with businesses to help them in their financing for expansions and things like that. As part of that, the MCIDC collects fees from local businesses that they are helping to expand. What we've tried to do here was reimagine what those fees should be used for. In the past, what the county would do is they would take fees through MCIDC, they would take fees to our Industrial Development Agency that we refer to as COMIDA. And those fees really weren't part of any strategic plan. So, I asked the two boards to create a strategic plan on reinvesting those fees back into the economic ecosystem. So that when a company comes to COMIDA or a company comes to MCIDC, they're looking for an incentive, they're looking for some type of public private partnership and they're paying a fee to do that. Those fees, in my view, then should be reinvested back into the ecosystem that helps support those companies so they can then be successful after they come here. KATE PIERCE-NIMZ What do employers in the county – companies and businesses - have to do to be eligible, and what industries are eligible for the RETAIN program? COUNTY EXECUTIVE ADAM BELLO There are a few guidelines in order to be eligible for this type of funding. The first is that the employee who the company is applying on behalf of in order to receive the incentive has to have graduated within the past three years from a college or university located in the county, and hold a four-year degree or a master's degree. They have to have obtained full-time employment at a business that's headquartered within Monroe County, and it's also only for companies that have 100 or less employees. We're looking at employment in the technical fields like advanced manufacturing, life sciences, optics, photonics and imaging, or software and IT development. So the degree has to match an employment in one of those fields. We've had dozens of companies already reach out looking for applications so this pilot program may actually end up expanding quicker than we anticipated because those are really growing and emerging fields in our county, but also in the whole Finger Lakes region. To listen to the full conversation on the RETAIN program, as well as Monroe County’s training and employment program for CNAs, make sure to visit NYSAC.org/Podcast.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


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NYSAC News | Fall 2022

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NYSAC News | www.nysac.org

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Top Tips for an Effective Remote Workforce By Carl Cadregari, Executive Vice President, FoxPointe Solutions


n this age of remote workforce productivity, every organization must be cognizant of what may be needed to have an effective and productive “work from home” (WFH) program. That program needs to consider what is reasonable and what is required. In our current business climate, WFH may bring about challenges and concerns, and that is understandable. If you are struggling to have an effective program, it’s probable that your plan for effective WFH management hasn’t been detailed enough or documented at all. With the past (and potential future) rapidity of implementing pandemic requirements and the requirements for having a documented pandemic plan, this is a key area to assess and update regularly. The following list includes some of the common WFH challenges and pitfalls to avoid. These challenges can range widely depending on the team member and circumstance and may include the following:


Documented communications are key. Set documented expectations, train your staff on the process and have them sign off on the program. It is probable that you may need to have unique sets of these understandings due to team or department function. There may be a difference in what is expected from the IT team vs the finance team vs a Department of Social Services team, etc.

Remote site challenges such as a lack of privacy when conducting sensitive work,

Unplanned interruptions,

Fatigue when team members are back-to-back with video meetings,

Not having one standard tool for video communications,

While not all-inclusive, the following information and questions should help you define what that documented and manageable program can look like.

Remote interruptions from non-team members,

Limited information protection and cybersecurity controls,

Managers need to understand what you require of them in leading a WFH team and as a WFH Manager.

Lack of robust technology and internet connections,

The team needs to know how to connect with their manager.

Accountability and time reporting,

Social isolation and limited in person “face-to-face” time, and

Not being sensitive to all the above and making the needed changes.

The team needs to know what is expected of them to complete their job duties while remote, such as measurable productivity requirements, reporting requirements, communication needs, data security, privacy, etc.

What is expected for quality standards?

What to do if a change is needed in vacation and time off request process?

What tools, technology and communication assets are approved (i.e. can they use their home computer or cellphone to attend meetings)? and if so, is there a reimbursement policy?

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

What is the protocol for reporting a data security issue or concern?

How do employees replace or request technology?

Effective communication of how the team can access and request internal supplies.

What work efforts must be conducted on-site or faceto-face due to the requirements of the position, task or interaction.

What is set aside for team interaction (i.e., team building, mentoring and coaching feedback and frequency, training, etc.)?

What will be required for time management, calendar updates, project management, email communication vs phone or video interaction, when to use instant messaging?

Require an agenda for key meetings and a dedicated note taker.

Set expectations for on-camera or off-camera meetings.

Set up an internal site for suggestions, comments, and feedback.

Set WFH travel reimbursement.

How do you transition back to a full on-site team or hybrid work process?

If you can add a FAQ (frequently asked questions) site to your internet on WFH items, the program, expectation, etc., that will help alleviate too many repetitive questions to management. Remote work can become well-organized and efficient when expectations are effectively communicated. For example, “We use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we use IM when something is urgent.” While there is no one silver bullet for perfect WFH programs, these “rules of engagement” shared with employees as soon as possible will help foster the program’s effectiveness. While some choices about specific expectations may be better than others, the most important factor is that all employees know what the expectations are. As you can see, there are a lot of common expectations for WFH, but being flexible, having regular updates, documenting and communicating the plan, frequent team updates, face time and training are all practices that will help support your overall goals of a productive WFH program.

NYSAC News | www.nysac.org


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NYSAC News | Fall 2022


Advertiser Index Absolute Auctions & Realty, Inc............................ 32 Alliance for Clean Energy...................................... 37 Auctions International, Inc.................................... 53 Barton & Loguidice.................................................. 4 Broome County Purchasing Alliance.................... 45 Calcaterra Pollack LLP........................................... 41 CanaRx.................................................................... 19 Capital Markets Advisors, LLC.............................. 49 CDPHP...................................................................... 4 Collar City Auctions Realty & Mgmt, Inc............ 54 findhelp..................................................................... 6 Fiscal Advisors & Marketing, Inc.......................... 35 Medallia Inc............................................................ 43 Municipal Electric & Gas Alliance, Inc................. 56 N.K. Bhandari, Architecture & Engineering, P.C..................................................... 47 Nationwide Retirement Solutions......................... 47 New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal.......... 26 New York Power Authority.................................... 55 New York Power Authority.................................... 12 New York State Health Insurance Program.......... 25 New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc............................................... 43 NY Early Childhood Professional Development Institute............................................ 38 NYSPSP................................................................... 18 Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP....................... 27 PERMA...................................................................... 2 PFM Financial Services LLC.................................. 50 PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP................................... 42

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Counsel’s Corner Local Laws of 2022 By Patrick Cummings, NYSAC Counsel


YSAC tracks and makes available local laws that have been passed in our member counties. Understanding what other counties are doing to address their local issues or needs can provide ideas for you, our local leaders, to use in some variation in your county.

Link to full text of the local law: https://on.ny.gov/3CL73oR

Columbia County Passes Local Law Allowing for Virtual Public Meeting

Nassau County Passes Local Law to Combat Catalytic Converter Theft

When the COVID-19 related State of Emergency Declaration ended in New York, local governments were once again required to hold public meetings in person.

In an effort to stop rapidly increasing incidents of catalytic converter theft, on May 23, 2022, Nassau County enacted a local law requiring metal scrap shops to require additional documentation when purchasing scrap catalytic converters and provide that information to law enforcement.

However, on April 9, 2022, the State amended the Open Meetings Law to allow the expanded use of videoconferencing by public bodies in the conduct of open meetings, under extraordinary circumstance, regardless of a declaration of emergency. Under this amendment, a local government must pass a local law prior to allowing into this public meeting virtual option. On May 11th, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors enacted such a local law allowing for continued Hybrid Public Meetings within the parameters and allowances of state law, which include:

Catalytic converters are required emissions control devices that reduce harmful pollutants in exhaust gas from internal combustion engines. These devices are affixed under cars and contain precious metals that can be repurposed and sold to scrap metal dealers. If taken off a car, it costs car owners thousands of dollars to replace. The law now states any person attempting to sell a catalytic converter to a purchaser must provide the following information:

A. A quorum of the Board must still meet in person at a physical location open to the public,

A. the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number for the vehicle from which the part was removed, and

B. Members of the Board of Supervisors may attend meetings virtually only under “extraordinary circumstances” which are defined as: “disability, illness, caregiving responsibilities, or any other significant or unexpected factor or event which precludes the member's physical attendance at such meeting”,

B. a copy of the certificate of title or other documentation indicating that the seller has an ownership interest in the vehicle.

C. The meeting minutes must identify which, if any, Board members are participating remotely, D. If any Board member is meeting virtually, the public will be allowed to attend virtually as well, and E. Each meeting conducted using videoconferencing shall be recorded and such recordings posted or linked on the 52

public website of the Board within five [5] business days following the meeting and shall remain so available for a minimum of five [5] years.

NYSAC News | Fall 2022

The purchaser is then required to: A. keep an accurate electronic record of each purchase of a catalytic converter, B. keep each record for at least 5 years, and C. make such records available for inspection not later than seventy-two (72) hours after the date of purchase. Link to the full text of the local law: https://on.ny.gov/3s49iyt

Westchester County Enacts Local Law Requiring Landlords to Provide Flood History Information On June 6, 2022, Westchester County passed a Local Law requiring landlords to provide their tenants with the flood history of the property. This law is meant to inform and better protect renters when entering into a contract. The law requires any owner of real property who is leasing or renting the property for residential or commercial occupancy must, prior to entering a written agreement, notify the prospective tenant of:

The law states the Westchester County Planning Department shall provide such "Flood Disclosure Form" on its website or by hard copy when requested. The owner of the property seeking to be rented shall provide notification of the propensity for flooding within the "Flood Disclosure Form" to be signed by both the owner of the property and the tenant. Non-compliance with this local law accompanied with a tenant that sustains flood damage during their lease may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for the recovery of such damages. Link to full text of the local law: https://on.ny.gov/3ezMN1r

A. whether the property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and B. the propensity for flooding of the premises contained on such property if such flooding has occurred to such owner's knowledge, at least one time during the ten-year period immediately preceding the date of the lease and has caused flood damage to any portion of the leased premises.




NYSAC News | www.nysac.org



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NYSAC News | Fall 2022

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515 Broadway, Suite 402 Albany, NY 12207


Clean Energy is Local Energy In 2013, MEGA partnered with Gravity Renewables to explore opportunities to reinvest in New York’s existing clean energy infrastructure. Since then, our innovative program has resulted in millions of dollars in savings for our members and in reinvestment in hydropower projects that will benefit local communities for generations. MEGA’s partnership with Gravity Renewables is one example of how clean energy strengthens communities, creating opportunities for • Job Creation • Recreation • Historic Preservation • Educational Outreach • Emissions Reductions

Tompkins County purchased clean power from Gravity Renewable’s Waterloo hydroelectric powerhouse to meet its municipal electricity demand. The partnership enabled reinvestment in the circa-1910 facility which is critical to the local community and management of Seneca Lake water levels. Here Tompkins County and State officials celebrated the rededication of Waterloo’s powerhouse as the Stu Stein Powerhouse, in honor of Stu Stein, a New York clean energy visionary.

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