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Onondaga County could lay off up to 250 people due to COVID-19 financial losses

By Eric Reinhardt (


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says the county is looking at laying off as many as 250 employees as it deals with financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

McMahon plans to ask the Onondaga County Legislature for a resolution that will give the county flexibility to reduce 154,000 workforce hours in its staff.  

“… which will mean layoffs,” McMahon said during his Thursday afternoon coronavirus briefing at the Oncenter. “We will work on a week-by-week basis assessing real-time information as it comes in. If the economic picture gets better, we will not need to lay off as many hours.”

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon speaking at a coronavirus briefing at the Oncenter in late March. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

The 154,000 workforce hours translates to about 250 people, he said.  McMahon declined to specify which county departments the layoffs would affect.

If the federal government approves another economic-stimulus package with funding for local governments, McMahon said, “That will help.”

He also noted that additional sales-tax payments would also help.

The pandemic has resulted in an $80 million to $100 million hole in the current Onondaga County budget with revenue losses and increased costs, McMahon noted before explaining what steps the county has taken so far to deal with the financial struggle.

To this point, 160 people accepted an early-retirement incentive that Onondaga County offered. The county’s also had $18 million in spending cuts and also cut its part-time employees. The county also plans to use $15 million in reserves to balance the spending plan.     

“Unfortunately, it’s not enough,” said McMahon. “We will start reorganizing in September.”

Laying off as many as 250 people would save the county about $6 million in the fourth quarter, according to McMahon.

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