Members of the Erie County Legislature Minority Caucus are proposing a resolution that would ban cash payouts to managerial and department head appointees who resign over personal misconduct.
The resolution is in response to recent reports that accused rapist and former Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger collected over $10,000 for unused time off as he resigned amid criminal allegations, the gross pay was $19,452.12. The resolution would require the County Executive to amend employment contracts prohibiting this type of payout for an employee who is actively facing felony criminal charges related to workplace misconduct until and unless he or she is cleared of those charges.
Under previous county administrations, payments have been withheld by the request of the County Executive to the Legislature. The resolution would require the same standard for the current administration moving forward.
“Under no circumstance should an employee facing criminal charges stemming from their work with the county, such as Mr. Dirschberger, receive this kind of payout at the taxpayer’s expense,” said Minority Leader Joe Lorigo. “The allegations against Mr. Dirschberger are extremely serious and the administration never should have allowed him to cash in thousands of dollars in unused time until criminal proceedings were completed.”
“This is a policy that should have remained in place,” said Legislator Ed Rath. “Now, we see the dangerous fiscal implications of paying out employees indiscriminately. The current administration should have taken a tougher stance on this cash out until the legal process came to its conclusion.”
“I am troubled that the former Commissioner was allowed to walk away with thousands of dollars amid a serious criminal investigation,” said Legislator Lynne Dixon. “Taxpayers should not be responsible for this payout while these very serious allegations are being investigated.”
The resolution is also sponsored by Legislators Kevin Hardwick and John Mills. A copy of it can be viewed here.