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Mar 23, 2016 11:40 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Members Clash On Execution Of CSEA Settlement

Southampton Town Board members clashed on Tuesday night regarding the execution of a settlement agreement with members of the local CSEA. ALYSSA MELILLO
Mar 28, 2016 4:32 PM

Southampton Town Board members clashed Tuesday night regarding the execution of a settlement agreement with members of the local Civil Service Employees Association.

Though they ultimately had enough votes to authorize Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman to sign the settlement—Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor still must sign the document before the CSEA deal is finalized—board members split on party lines over the agreement, which stems from a complaint filed in December by the nearly 300 members of the Southampton chapter of the CSEA.

Filed with the Public Employee Relations Board, or PERB, the claim requested clarification on whether certain employee titles should be included in the CSEA bargaining unit that were not previously part of the union bargaining unit.

Union members hold various municipal town positions, with many serving as accountants, analysts and administrative aides.

Both Republican Town Board members, Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka, said they could not support the agreement, as well as other resolutions relating to the terms of the settlement, stating that they view it as “a one-sided deal” that favors high-ranking union members and, in the end, will be unfair to the town’s taxpayers.

“What we are contemplating includes several terms and conditions of your employment, which will have impacts on budgets well into the foreseeable future,” Ms. Scalera said while reading from a prepared statement at Tuesday night’s Town Board meeting, which was attended by about two dozen union members.

“I am proud of the work that you do. And I would support a reopening of the contract to discuss potential amendments,” she continued. “But I cannot support this one-sided deal, orchestrated through a low-level exposure PERB claim, and policy resolutions. It is wrong, and the taxpayers—of which many of you are, as I said—are not being fairly represented.”

In addition to Mr. Schneiderman, Town Board members John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad approved the settlement.

The settlement, if approved, would reduce employee contributions to their individual or family health insurance plans from 20 percent to 10 percent, and would be applied to all union members hired on or after June 10, 2014. Those hired after 1995, but before 2014, pursuant to the settlement, will pay 10 percent towards family plans, and those on individual plan will not contribute. As the contract stands now, union members still pay zero if on an individual health plan, and approximately 15 percent if they are on a family plan.

Employees hired prior to January 1, 1995 currently do not contribute towards the cost of health insurance, which will remain the same if the settlement is finalized.

The agreement would also add 34 more administrative titles to the contract, six more titles to the list of employees on the step salary schedule, accelerate the pay raise schedules of those employees, and provide overtime pay for emergency situations.

As per the terms of the settlement, if a full-time employee opts to reject or discontinue his or her health care coverage, the town must pay the employee 20 percent of the cost of the premium coverage per year. The deal also adds value to sick leave upon separation from employment, as well as $10,000 in additional funding for employee schooling and training,

Ms. Scalera said Wednesday morning that she would have preferred the town renegotiate the current contract, which was ratified in 2014, rather than settle a claim that CSEA representatives used to “indirectly” receive what “they were not entitled to directly.”

“That was wrong,” Ms. Scalera said. “We’re dealing with taxpayer dollars. We have to make sure that we’re doing the right thing.”

The councilwoman said the settlement could end up having a significant financial impact on the town, which is currently in good fiscal standing. She estimated that the agreement could end up costing the town approximately $500,000 in 2016 alone.

Ms. Scalera, as well as Mr. Glinka, also noted that they believe the terms of the settlement were not necessarily shared with all union members—many of whom attended Tuesday night’s meeting sporting the CSEA’s signature blue polo.

CSEA President Laura Smith countered that claim, telling audience members that she did go over the agreement with her members. “I went over each and every item in this settlement with my membership … on February 29,” she said. “The membership was fully noticed. I communicated it to them.”

Mr. Gregor said he also has some concerns about the contract. In a three-page memo sent to Mr. Schneiderman on Monday, the highway superintendent said some of the administrative titles added to the union bargaining unit would result in the union being controlled by high-level clerical and management positions.

“The town’s existing contract with the union specifically excludes the majority of the titles that are being proposed to be put in the union,” Mr. Gregor wrote. “It is likely that the town would be successful in its defense of the PERB action if we were to defend it, just based on the language of the contract.”

Mr. Gregor, who said he was too busy to discuss the situation when reached onWednesday morning, has not yet indicated if he will sign off on the agreement.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Schneiderman said it is his opinion that the contract was executed fairly, and properly addressed the concerns of the union.

“There were a lot of issues that were on the table,” he said. “I approached it all from an equity standpoint—what was fair. We arrived at what I thought was a very fair package.

“I think this is a reasonable package,” Mr. Schneiderman continued. “I think it’s well within the town’s financial capacities.”

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Why are we surprised that they gave the store away. Julie and Jay are just re-paying there debit to the union for the unions endorsement in the last election.
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Mar 23, 16 1:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
so health care costs for private sector taxpayers go up. And for civil service government union workers, they go down. And then private sector taxpayers get insult to injury and pay higher taxes to finance the government worker benefits, which taxpayers don't receive. Thats the Democratic Party all right !
By GALAXIE (43), SAG HARBOR on Mar 23, 16 3:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
What's the point of having a contract if these politicians are just going to change it? If I go down to the Town and ask them to lower my taxes I get laughed at. This union goes to the Town board says they want more money then what they are supposed to get in there contract and they get it. Now I am going to get stuck paying for this in my taxes. I got school taxes coming out the ying yang in Hampton Bays. I can't afford more.
By Gillnetter (105), Hampton Bays on Mar 24, 16 10:46 AM
Troubling to say the least. How much did they give away and how much is this going to cost in total? Councilwoman Scalera, you are consistently informed, well spoken and not afraid to stand up for us. As a tax payer, I thank you.
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Mar 24, 16 8:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well, well, well.

That didn't take long, did it? The Jay, Julie and Burl Ives team paying back their supporters.

I said it during the elections. Jay isn't from Southampton. This is just a job to get him his pension. He' doesn't care about us. And Julie will do his bidding for him.

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 24, 16 9:51 PM
It would appear that this settlement has not been well thought out. Whether a political payback or not, unless both sides of a negotiation walk away dissatisfied the negotiation has not been successful.

There appear to be many questions left unresolved by this action by the Board majority.

The Highway Superintendent has the opportunity to have the negotiation reopened by refusing to sign off on the settlement.

It would benefit the taxpayers if this "agreement" could be ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 12:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 5:12 PM
I believe the quote belongs to Andrew Jackson.

But I believe I did reference it, more than once.
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 6:21 PM
If the contract had employees paying 20% of healthcare costs and now they will pay 10%, what is the new cost to taxpayers? Was the 20% part of the budget? Does the budget need to be revised?
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 12:51 PM
I would like to thank Christine Scalera and Stan Glinka for standing up for the taxpayers of this town. Town employees union and non Union have benefits that so many can only dream of having and now we are giving them more? I know they all work hard but so do the rest of us and I don't agree at all with what the supervisor and his majority have done. We are footing the bill for their campaign promises
By hamptons34 (30), Westhampton on Mar 25, 16 1:23 PM
I fail to see how the union can "re negotiate" an EXISTING contract. Only in the public sector can this even been considered. Hey Jay, it's OUR MONEY that you are giving away, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is going on here??!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 25, 16 1:38 PM
Bigfresh, It's not his money. His house is still under construction. His taxes are paid at his legal residence in Montauk.

He just has to make good on some, ahem, campaign promises.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 9:06 PM
Supervisor and majority…did the majority say anything indicating why they supported this? Very disappointing for Hampton Bays. Not from there, but thought many there under impression that Ms. Lofstad was conservative. If this spending is an indication of what we can expect, she is a huge disappointment.
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Mar 26, 16 11:59 AM
Julie is a Democrat, endorsed by the Ed Walsh Suffolk County Conservative Party.

Julie will vote with Jay. Every time. Burl Ives will tag along. Not a bad gig for Jay. Run a town that you don't live in, do whatever you want because you have a majority. Get your county pension for being in politics for so many years.

Next time, vote for YAZ!
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 26, 16 6:13 PM
Usual suspects, usual rubbish, for the most part.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Mar 29, 16 2:26 PM
Present Company included?

Are you getting disgusted with your team yet, Turkey Bridge?

Julie and Bouvier seem to be lemmings for Jay. Nodding their heads in unison. "Yes Jay, whatever you want, Jay".

And you want us to believe in Calone?

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 29, 16 7:33 PM
I happen to like Calone. He is a real Democrat unlike these horrific phonies from George Lynch and Gordon Herr that sell out our farmers and residents to developers and their political cronies. We have been destroyed by the Schneidermans, the Throne-Holsts and the Lofstads of the Town posing as Democrats when they are really just opportunists that say whatever and do whatever to get a tax payer check.
By CleanWaters (80), Southampton on Mar 30, 16 9:51 AM
And the "real '" Democrat aperatchiks brought Obamacare!!!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Apr 4, 16 6:54 AM