Assemblyman Billy Jones Calls for HELP Program to Include Local Governments

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) recently sent a letter to the Commissioner of Civil Service, Timothy Hogues, regarding expanding the Hiring for Emergency Limited Placement (HELP) Program to include local governments. This program temporarily removes the civil service exam requirement for critical openings at state agencies. Currently, the program only includes state jobs that need to be filled, which is exacerbating the workforce shortage in local and county governments.

“As the former Mayor of Chateaugay and Chair of the Franklin County Legislature, I know firsthand how important it is to make sure that these local and county government jobs are filled,” said Jones. “Between highway maintenance to social workers, we depend on these workers every day and we cannot afford to leave these positions open. The changes to the HELP Program to include state jobs was a move in the right direction, but by not expanding it for local and county jobs, it will lead to more local and county employees to leave their positions for a state job. We cannot allow this unlevel playing field to continue and we must expand the program to include job openings in local and county governments.”

“Clinton County continues to experience significant recruitment difficulty for many of the positions that are critical in meeting the needs of our county,” said Mark Henry, Chair of the Clinton County Legislature. “Clinton County has also seen a drastic reduction in participation for County Civil Service Examinations, which in turn creates many certified eligible lists that are non-mandatory. We applaud the State for the HELP Program initiative as that has assisted us in filling many vacant positions and I would request and support the expansion of the proposed NY HELP Program to also include local governments.”

“On behalf of Franklin County, we appreciate Assemblyman Jones’ advocacy to ask the Governor to extend NY HELP to local/county municipalities,” said Donna Kissane, Franklin County Manager. “This program has been extremely beneficial in bridging the gap in the Franklin County workforce.”

“Local Government is the point of where public and service meet,” said Shaun Gilliland, Chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors. “Our employees do the delivery of all governmental services to the citizens. We continue to experience staffing shortages that put essential service delivery at risk. In a time when the need of service is high, we continue to operate at levels that places more stress on our workforce which leads to further turnover.

Expanding the NYHELP program and allowing for inclusion of local government would eliminate a barrier to employment and help to stabilize our workforce”