ALBANY –- Andrew Cuomo believes Gov. David Paterson’s plan to lay off at least 1,000 state workers is legal, a claim that drew a sharp rebuke this evening from public employee union leaders.
In a meeting today with the editorial board of the Albany Times Union, Cuomo, the attorney general, said he backs Paterson’s effort to reduce the state work force, including through layoffs of workers.
The Paterson administration last year signed an MOU with public employee unions stating that layoffs would not be an option until at least January 1, 2011. But the governor has insisted that the unions have not cooperated with his efforts to cut state spending, leaving him no choice but to trim the work force.
Paterson has said he wants to cut at least 2,000 positions before he leaves office at the end of December; most would come through layoffs instead of attrition.
Danny Donohue, the president of the Civil Service Employees Association, said tonight he is “shocked that the attorney general, the state’s top law enforcement officer, would advocate breaking the law.’’
“Shame on Attorney General Cuomo,"said Donohue, who heads the largest union representing state workers. “He knows full well that the no layoff agreement that the Paterson administration made with CSEA and PEF (the Public Employees Federation) is legally binding and has already been upheld by the court.
"The attorney general is undermining his own credibility even before he has even been elected governor. He obviously has a lot to learn about managing the state work force, let alone following the law,"Donohue said in a statement.
-- Tom Precious