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Erie, Niagara counties, City of Buffalo work to implement cut in staff presence

Niagara County Manager Richard E. Updegrove said the county will do its best, starting Tuesday, to implement the 50% local government personnel cut recommended by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo  Monday.

Updegrove said he wants to keep Public Health, Emergency Management and the Sheriff's Office at full strength.

He said the county "will make every effort to meet other mandated obligations to the best of our ability, recognizing there will be an inevitable disruption in nonessential services."

"I encourage anyone who has business to transact with a Niagara County department to call ahead (Tuesday)," Updegrove said. "We will be releasing further details on service reductions, event cancellations and other information as those determinations are made."

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz also committed to limiting Erie County's workforce to 50% through March 31 in response to Cuomo's recommendation.

Beginning Tuesday, Poloncarz said, all non-essential Erie County employees will be working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some may also be designated to join Erie County's COVID-19 response team as call-takers or performing other tasks.

"I have directed commissioners and department heads to review with their employees who is considered essential and who is not, and for all employees to act according to these directions," Poloncarz said in a statement released Monday.

Non-essential personnel are employees who do not need to be physically present to perform their jobs or who are not central to their department's COVID-19 response.

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown also announced in a release Monday that only half of the city's workforce will be required to report to work, and that will include only essential workers.

Brown said all of the city's municipal buildings, including City Hall, will be closed to the public.

"This will help city departments and partnering agencies continue to do what is necessary to maintain public health and safety, while still providing critical services," Brown said.

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