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June 18, 2015 - 4:42pm

The Genesee County Legislature objected to a salary increase in the proposed union contract with the Deputy Sheriff's Association at the Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday night.

The proposed contract called for a 7.5-percent salary increase over three years. County officials said the total cost of deputy salaries for three years would be more than $390,000. The contract would have covered 46 employees.

For the legislature to make a decision, Jay Gsell, county manager, provided information on deputy union contracts in adjoining counties and all of their salary increases were lower. According to county officials, the salary increases stated in deputy contracts in Orleans County and Livingston County were 2 percent for two years.

"I think based on the numbers involved and what it's going to cost the county I think it's excessive," Legislature Chair Raymond Cianfrini said. "If this contract came from any other union in the county, I would have had the same objection."

The legislature recently approved a management salary schedule for an average 1-percent increase for five years in an attempt to bring nonunion employees in line with what they pay union employees. According to Cianfrini, if the legislature approved the Deputy Sheriff's Association contract it would be unfair to other management employees.

Cianfrini hopes to resolve the contract issue with the Deputy Sheriff's Association as soon as possible.

April 6, 2009 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, police, union.

Is the City of Batavia ready to pony up $288,000 in back pay to Batavia's police officers?

That could be the price tag on an expected arbitrator's ruling this summer.

Or the amount of back pay could be zero, or somewhere in between. Nobody really knows at this point.

In an e-mail request for comment, City Manager Jason Molino said, "Yes the arbitration decision will most likely come out this summer or fall.  There is no way of determining what the settlement may be.  This makes budgeting extremely difficult and no money has been budgeted for retroactive payments.  Any substantial retroactive payment would severely set back the City's attempt to minimize future costs."

Molino addressed the back pay issue earlier this year in his annual budget message, when he said that no money had been budgeted to cover retroactive pay.

Other city unions have given at least one year of zero-percent adjustments over the past four fiscal years (including 2009-2010), with other annual increases ranging from 1.5 percent to 2.85 percent.

If the the arbitrator finds in favor of the police union, the city could be on the hook for five years of back pay. It could be less, and it may not be as high as 3 percent.

But if the officers are awarded a 3-percent increase, it would be compounded for two years. That second-year rate would also apply to any additional annual pay increases for three years.

Frank Klimjack, president of the Batavia Police Benevolent Association, e-mailed us this explanation:

As per the Taylor law, an arbitrator can only impose an award for two years, therefore, that would only get the contract situation to an expiration date of March 31st, 2007.  Whatever award is imposed, a ?% for March 1st, 2005 and ?% for April 1st, 2006 would be granted to the PBA membership. Then you would have to readjust the amount of earnings beginning April 1st, 2005 through the present day 2009 based upon those percentages to determine back pay due the PBA membership. Then it's back to the negotiating table.

That's a big question mark in Klimjack's statement -- we don't know if it is 1 percent, 2 percent or 3 percent or more.  If the arbitrator imposes a rate as high as 4 percent, and five years of back pay, the total would be $317,800.  Two percent would be $258,000.

The BPA has been without a contract, and its members have not received a raise since 2005. Batavia police officers earn from $32,942 to $48,406 (most officers make $48,406), with detectives earning $53,164, sergeants $55,552 and lieutenants $63,775.  Two years of consecutive 3-percent raises for police officers earning $48,406 would bring their annual salaries to $51,354.

By comparison, the starting pay for a Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy is $47,798, and a typical deputy with three years on the force is earning about $52,832, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

Unsure if the Batavia officers could really get a full five-years worth of back pay, I asked Klimjack to clarify and he replied: "Five years of back pay is correct.  Then beginning April 1st, 2007 through the present is negotiable."

I take that to mean that any additional annual increases from 2007 would be negotiable.  While, a total of five years of back pay for PBA members could still be award at whatever rate the arbitrator sets, per the Taylor law for the covered two years.

For a cash-strapped city, six-figures in back pay is a significant chunk of change. Asked where that money would come from, City Council President Charlie Mallow said, "I’m going to wait for the arbitration to be completed before I speculate on what steps the city will need to take to lesson the impact on our future tax burden. It is clear to me that it would be impossible to pass on a substantial tax increase to city residents at this point. I am confident Council as a whole will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure a stable tax rate."

You may remember that earlier this year the city decided to use $425,000 in Video Lottery Terminal to help land $4.5 million in Federal stimulus funds. Could that money have been better spent on police officer back pay?

"VLT aid was one-time revenues," Molino said. "Funding operational annual expenses with one time revenues would leave the City with significant shortfalls once the revenue stops."

March 26, 2009 - 4:46pm
posted by Rose Mary Christian in union.

I must correct a statement I made recently to the letters of the Editor and the Batavian.

My friend asked why I’m against UNIONS. I’m NOT against unions. My daughter happens to be a CSEA member and works for the State. The AFSME union happens to represent the POLICE department. And I have always respected the men and women of the POLICE force.

IAFF happens to be the union representing the fire department but I was against the outrageous cost of overtime and that has nothing to do with the UNION.   Unions protect New York State employees, local Governments, School districts. They protect working men and women everywhere.

I apologize if what I said was taken by Union workers other than it was meant to be. As working men and women,   they  organize and represent workers.


Rose Mary Christian.

March 2, 2009 - 9:28am
posted by Charlie Mallow in batavia, city council, union, ambulance.

 I fully understand the feelings of the EMTs and no one on Council was happy to have to come to a decision to end county wide ambulance service as of September 1st. There is no question that our city medics have provided and continue to provide a high quality service for all county residents. Although, recently the union has brought forth information from a questionable paid source that they describe as "fact". I want the public to understand that the use of fabricated information, fear tactics and targeting of Council is not going to shake our resolve. Council has taken every imaginable step we could find to make the city based service viable. This financial decision was made based on years of public discussions as well as input, with all the information we required being presented. 

The county has made it clear that they have a process in place to see that the entire county will have ambulance service by September 1st. There is no reason to believe the hysteria being asserted by the union that there will be no one to provide ambulance service after September 1st. Moreover, there have been at least five ambulance providers that have contacted the County or the City that are interested to providing ambulance service to this region.  Should one of these providers be selected they would be responding to ambulance calls from within the City just as they currently do now. 

As directed by Council, I have sent a letter to all county municipalities terminating all our inter-municipal ambulance agreements as of September 1st. These are the agreements that allowed the city to provide ambulance service county-wide. During the last public meeting of the GAM, Council as a whole publicly informed all the members that the city is not getting back into the business of providing ambulance service. Council has made it clear that we will not under any circumstances "go at it alone" by entering into an agreement with a private provider. The city is just one of many municipalities that is looking to the county to provide a county wide ambulance service and that decision about a provider is one for the county as a whole to make.

February 19, 2009 - 12:12pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, union, firefighter, ambulance.

A constant chorus of car horns sounded support of the protestors circling the walk out front of City Hall this morning. Some two dozen members of Firefighters Local 896 braved the bitter winds to picket the City Council's recent decision to end its ambulance service by fall.

Some of the signs read: "Think! Where's your ambulance coming from?" and "Chest Pain? How long will you wait?" Such statements punctuated the argument that the gap in service could have quite dire consequences. Union President Greg Ireland spoke of a past incident, before the city had instituted its own ambulance service, when a man in arrest lay in the street with no transport available to get him to a hospital. In another instance, a victim suffering from third-degree burns had to drive himself to the hospital.

The occasion was also used to get out the word on a new Web site the union has launched at www.bataviaambulance.com.

Overall, the mood was civil yet determined as union members stalked the ground with purpose. Ireland stepped aside to speak with the media during the protest. We will post his comments in a video within the hour.

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