Modified: May 2, 2019 4:07pm

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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz today issued the following statement regarding the county’s support for employees serving in the military:


“Earlier today an accusation was made that a former employee of the Erie County Department of Public Works was fired for participating in mandatory military leave. That accusation is completely without merit.


 The individual involved in this case, Mr. Raphael Ramos, was on domestic military leave in the United States from his Erie County Department of Public Works Highway Division duties from February 2017 to March 31, 2018, a 13-month period during which he was officially on military leave from the county and he retained his position with the county.


Mr. Ramos, like all active duty military personnel, is required to submit paperwork to his employer (in this case, Erie County) detailing the periods of his leave in order that the employer can continue to pay service members appropriately when deployed. However, Mr. Ramos did not submit any updated paperwork after his domestic leave expired on March 31, 2018 and made no contact to Erie County DPW about remaining out on military leave or when he planned to return to the Highway Division.


Erie County government supports active and reserve military personnel without question on deployments such as these, and during all previous eleven (11) military leaves of Mr. Ramos since he started his employment with Erie County in October of 2015, he had submitted all military leave papers beforehand for every previous deployment. Therefore, in accordance with military and New York civil service law and due to his failure to return to work or make contact with the county upon the expiration of his domestic leave, the Department was forced to remove Mr. Ramos from county employment on July 12, 2018.


In total Mr. Ramos was deployed a dozen times during his 33 months in county employment, with his first deployment beginning just six days after he was hired, and all of these deployments were happily supported by county government.


Additionally, upon a review of records of the Departments of Public Works, Labor Relations and Law, no grievance has been filed by either Mr. Ramos or the union that previously represented him, and no lawsuit has been filed against the county in this matter.


Erie County government has and always will support our military personnel on active duty, in the reserves, and in the National Guard, just like we support Commissioner of Public Works William Geary Jr.’s current domestic military leave in the Air Force Reserves.  Service to our country and community is always to be respected and honored.


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