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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 19, 2012

One unit votes no
Town Board approves two CSEA contracts

GUILDERLAND — At a time when local unions are voicing concern over Governor Mario Cuomo’s 2012 budget proposal, the town has already approved contracts for its Civil Service Employees Association units.

After the organizational meeting on the first of the year, board members met in executive session to agree on CSEA contracts for units A and B.

According to Supervisor Kenneth Runion, the board unanimously approved two-year contracts that would not allow for a raise in 2012, but would provide a 2-percent raise in 2013, as long as employees would give up one personal day.

The lack of pay raise for at least one year is an effort to balance the rising cost of pension contributions required by the town, he said.

The CSEA Unit A contract outlines three positions — the director of animal services, starting at $40,087 annually and going to $50,047 after five years; a tele-communicator that starts at $34,677 and goes to $42,854 after five years; and a senior tele-communicator that starts at $51,003, and goes to $63,365 after five years.

The CSEA Unit B, with 27 members, has salaries that range from a courier’s starting salary of $20,675, which goes to $25,641 after five years, to a building inspector’s starting salary of $39,291, which goes to $49,155 after five years. Unit B also includes positions paid by an hourly rate: a custodial worker with a starting hourly rate of $11.72 and a rate of $14.04 after five years, and a senior citizen bus driver with a starting hourly rate of $12.56 and a rate of $17.05 after five years. 

“The CSEA remains concerned that the governor seems out of touch with the day-to-day challenges that publics workers in both state and local government face as a result of his budget priorities,” said CSEA President Danny Donahue in a statement released after the governor revealed his budget.

Donahue was responding to Cuomo’s proposal to add a new public employee pension tier that would mean that new hires wouldn’t be able to retire until 65, instead of 62, and the amount they’d be getting in their pension would be less, while they would have to contribute more. The plan is meant to save local and state government $83 billion over three decades.

In the town of Guilderland, Unit A agreed to its one-year-with-no-raise contract, but Unit B, which already has a one-year contract in place for 2012 and needed a contract for 2013, voted it down.

Runion said the board and Unit B would need to re-negotiate for 2013 starting in September, but said he did not know why it voted down the proposed contract.

A representative from Unit B could not be reached for comment.

Other business

On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to reduce the number of Zoning Board of Appeals members from seven to five.

“I guess you could call it shrinking government,” said Runion this week. Two members’ terms expired this year, and were not filled, in order to save money.

Zoning board members are paid $4,800 each and reducing the number of members by two will result in a savings of $9,600 annually.

Town board members also voted unanimously to amend the Animal Control Law to require dogs to be leashed on public property, including public parks.

The law originally dictated that dogs needed to be under the control of their owners, but now it specifically states that they must be on a leash.

The only public land where dogs will be able to run free is in the fenced dog park, and board members agreed on Tuesday night to waive the $20 annual fee that was previously charged for use of the park.

By Anne Hayden

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