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Tryon employees receive pink slips

Thirty-nine notified they will be or may be cut

June 4, 2009
By MICHAEL ANICH, The Leader-Herald

PERTH - The state Office of Children & Family Services on Friday notified 39 full-time employees at the Tryon Residential Center that they either will be or may be laid off June 30.

Union officials said 14 Tryon employees definitely will be laid off. Other possible layoffs won't be known until June 30.

OCFS spokesman Ed Borges and union officials said notices were sent as part of a previously announced downsizing at the Tryon campus.

The state said in April it would eliminate 50 beds and 39 full-time jobs at the Tryon Residential Center as part of a shakeup among the roughly 30 youth detention centers across New York state.

Borges and union official Michael Geraghty this week reiterated Tryon will stay open.

"We've just downsized three units over there," Borges said.

He said the state budget adopted in April included Gov. David Paterson's proposal from last fall to close several youth detention facilities this summer and shrink three others, including Tryon. He said the state is "downsizing its juvenile justice system," and the number of beds on the boys side of Tryon will be cut from 180 to 130.

In November, Paterson announced the closure of six facilities: the Adirondack Residential Center in Clinton County, the Great Valley and Cattaraugus Residential Center in Western New York, Rochester Community Residential Home, Syracuse Community Residential Home and Pyramid Reception Center in the Bronx.

Geraghty, president of Local 559, Civil Service Employees Association, which represents Tryon youth division aides, said 11 CSEA employees -including YDAs, cooks, maintenance workers and others -were notified Friday they will be laid off June 30.

"This was a culmination of the direction they've [the state] been going in," he said Tuesday.

Tryon has about 400 employees, including 285 CSEA members. A total of 205 of the employees are YDAs.

Geraghty said Tryon remains one of the more vital state youth detention facilities in the region.

"We're the last standing," the union official said.

The Tryon campus is split into three main residential areas - Tryon Boys Limited Secure, Tryon Girls Secure and Tryon Girls Limited Secure. The educational component of the campus is known as Tryon School.

Darcy Wells, director of public relations for the New York State Public Employees Federation in Albany, said Wednesday about a half-dozen of her union members were notified Friday of the planned cuts.

"Six of our people are potentially impacted and three of those will probably be laid off," she said.

PEF has 80 unionized members at Tryon, Wells said, and those who may be laid off include Tryon School teachers and two youth counselors.

How the actual layoffs are implemented, she said, will involve who is on a "preferred list" and civil service rules involving length of service. She said PEF isn't sure what's going to happen to its employees at the youth detention centers after June 30.

"Obviously, we remain concerned about the potential downsizing of these facilities," Wells said.

The union official said a task force's report on the facilities is due in the fall.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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