SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) — In just over three months, Southport Correctional Facility will close. On Dec. 2, meetings regarding where current officers and employees will relocate continued.

Mark DeBurgomaster, Western Region Vice President for NYSCOPBA, said RIF (or Reduction In Force) meetings are currently underway.

“[DOCCS] has no projected numbers on how many [employees/officers] are going to move or when they’re going to move them,” said DeBurgomaster.

DeBurgomaster said normally transfers are done based on seniority from facility to facility for security personnel. However, during a closure, DOCCS (Department of Corrections and Community Supervision) suspends that transfer process and it goes under civil service law. When that happens, transfers are based on total state seniority.

For example, if someone worked as a civilian employee for the prison but transferred into a security position at a later date, the total time worked for the facility is counted.

On Dec. 2, Southport civilian employees had a meeting at 1:00 p.m. and security staff had a meeting at 4:00 p.m. On Dec. 3, DOCCS will meet with the least senior people that are going to be most impacted by the closure.

According to DeBurgomaster, employees will likely not know where they are being moved until the first week in February. That is when officials in Albany will send relocation orders in the mail to Southport Correctional employees. He said people’s lives are upside down.

“Listen, it’s terrible,” said DeBurgomaster. “We have 298 officers. Not to mention the sergeant that we represent and all the other civilian staff at this facility, and the lieutenants that are going on the road. Everyone’s in the same boat. They’re all vying for the small, available locations that are nearby. People are going to be driving and hour to two hours just to maintain their jobs.”

He said “obviously” Elmira Correctional Facility will be a popular request.

“Probably everybody at Southport wants to go that route,” said DeBurgomaster. “But, there is no way they can absorb that many employees.”