Press-Republican

August 22, 2013

Making room for advancement

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Franklin County may add two job titles within the County Clerk’s Office to retain a lucrative revenue stream and create employee incentives.

County Clerk Kip Cassavaw recently told legislators that 26 people have left the Department of Motor Vehicles in the past 20 years because there was no chance for a promotion or advancement because of the way the job are aligned.

Some employees in either the DMV or County Clerk’s Office have worked 10 years without advancement because promotions weren’t available to them, he said.

But adding tiers “creates in both offices another step for somebody coming in as an index clerk or motor-vehicle clerk,” Cassavaw said. “It’s a stepping stone in the process.”

He said this is the right time to add jobs tiers because of a looming April retirement in the supervisory level of the DMV, “and we need to get somebody trained for that spot.”

CUTTING POSITIONS

Cassavaw, who is running for the clerk’s position this fall against Moira Town Supervisor Cindy Gale, said that if he created a principle clerk and a motor-vehicle clerk/cashier, he could also eliminate a motor-vehicle cashier and two clerks in the County Clerk’s Office.

The moves would save his department $11,000 in salary and $17,500 in fringe benefits and secure the vehicle-registration contract the county has with New York City to do its DMV-related paperwork.

“We generate a quarter of a million dollars in revenue,” the clerk said, adding that the two new jobs would also mean “we’re protecting that revenue. It would also help get people working within their job title.”

Cassavaw said that with advances in technology — where much of the work is being filed digitally rather than by paper — and the slowdown in demand for pistol permits following the implementation of the state’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act regulations, “I feel confident” the other staff positions can be eliminated.

“We’ve automated so much, I think we’ll be OK,” Cassavaw said, adding that there may be a way to share some people with other offices during slower times.

Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) wanted assurances from the clerk that, if the request were approved, the department would not be expecting to reinstate the positions in the future.

Cassavawa said his office has already been working short one person since January, “and we’re keeping up. In fact, our recordings are up. I feel comfortable we’re in a good spot.”

VACATION TIME

Scheduling time off would also be more equitable with added job tiers, he said.

Under existing seniority in his office, five people are eligible for five weeks of vacation a year, which means employees with less time on the job don’t always get the particular weeks they want off, and it causes hard feelings.

Steps would help employees gain seniority and a better footing to qualify for desired vacation days.

Legislators, who are in the beginning stages of preparing the 2014 county budget, are expected to discuss the request at their next meeting, on Sept. 5.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com