I'll start with the good news.
During a news conference this afternoon,Northampton County Exec John Brown stated that the County workforce is the "most valuable asset we have." He denied telling anyone that he wants county workers to evaluate whether they really want to be here. He denied that there's a hiring freeze or that he has no intention of filling 16 vacancies at the jail. He denied that he's targetting any specific Department.
He also reassured workers concerned about their job security. "I have no intention of laying people off," he said. He also denied any plans to privatize county services "at this time", including custodial. He added that no department head has proposed layoffs.
He indicated he has every intention of offering a competitive total compensation package.
"We plan to contunue being a good employer," he said.
Now for the bad news.
Brown does expects wages to remain flat. He calls that part of the "active discussions" taking place in union negotiation. He declined to get into other aspects, like sick time and vacation.
He also wants the workforce to bear more of the burden of rising healthcare costs, regardless whether the County has a Cadillac plan. He is making "minor changes" that will have "as little impact on the employee as possible." He wants to "encourage consumerism" during the open enrollment in health care plans that starts on October 1. He insists that the County wil continue to offer a "robust" health plan.
Brown did give a 1 1/2 hour power point presentation to the labor leadership a few weeks ago. He plans on giving an abbreviated version of that presentation to County Council tomorrow evening, and promised to make it available to the media at that time as well.
He also provided a brief outline explaining the numbers, whgich I am providing below: