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Raises, Bonuses Proposed For County Union

First Assistant Attorney Patrick Slagle and county Finance Director Kitty Crow answer questions about a proposed CSEA contract extension during the Administrative and Services Committee meeting.

MAYVILLE — Hundreds of Chautauqua County employees may be getting a bonus, additional time off and a raise next year as part of a contract extension.

During a meeting of the legislature’s Administrative Services Committee, members gave first-step approval of a labor contract between the county and CSEA Unit 6300.

The current contract is set to expire this year. According to the resolution, the county and the union have tentatively agreed to a 3% percent raise in 2023, a $750 bonus, and to get Juneteenth off as a holiday.

Before the vote on the resolution, First Assistant County Attorney Patrick Slagle discussed the contract extension.

“With the recent resignation of our HR (human resources) director and hiring a new HR director, the county approached CSEA about extending for one year, just to allow both sides time to get everything together so they can do formal negotiations,” he said.

Slagle said should the contract be approved, negotiations for a longer contract will start in February, 2023. The county hopes that will be a four-year agreement.

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in June 2021. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Slagle said although it is now a federal holiday, the contract dictates holidays be negotiated.

Legislator Bob Scudder asked how many members are in the union. Finance Director Kitty Crow said she wasn’t sure but estimated it was around 700. Part-time employees would received a pro-rated bonus should the contract be finalized as presented.

Crow estimated that it could cost around $600,000.

She added that a bonus will help in future negotiations because they negotiate a percentage wage increase. “Providing a $750 flat bonus allows us to give something in the context of an inflationary increase, but then it doesn’t add it to base so it wouldn’t be ongoing,” Crow said.

Still, Scudder expressed concern. “I’m just putting it out there, that’s a lot of money,” he said.

He wasn’t as concerned about the raises. “Three percent seems to be a fair or a ‘going wage’ increase, at least for us, on most of the contracts that we’ve been renewing,” he said.

Scudder emphasized that he hasn’t been part of the negotiations and isn’t trying to tell them how to negotiate, but noted that as an elected official, he’s keeping an eye on the spending.

“As a legislator, I went, wow, that’s over a half a million dollars, and even though it’s probably being spent in a good way, it’s still being spent,” he said.

Crow said should the legislature approve the contract extension, it fits within their budget parameters of what is tentatively planned for 2023.

“Doing this will give us less uncertainty than if we had not done it,” she added.

In a separate matter, the committee also approved a resolution to give confidential and unrepresented employees raises and benefits identical to those approved for CSEA Unit 6300. That means that if the full legislature finalizes the additional holiday, 3% raise and $750 bonus, these employees would get the same benefit.

It was not announced how many employees this includes.

The Administrative Services Committee unanimously approved both resolutions. They will go before the full legislature on Aug. 24 for final approval.

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