Edwards, CSEA Plan Negotiations, Differ On IGT Funding

MAYVILLE – Although the CSEA would like the promise of Intergovernmental Transfer funds before it begins negotiations on the County Home, County Executive Greg Edwards has other plans in mind.

CSEA issued a press release recently, stating that it is committed to negotiate separately for nursing home workers following the County Legislature’s vote this week not to sell the County Home.

“Legislators did the right thing Wednesday night when they voted not to sell the safety net Chautauqua County Home to Avi Rothner and Altitude Care,” said CSEA Chautauqua County Unit President David Fagerstrom. “It is important now for measures recommended by the Legislature’s ad hoc committee on the County Home and the Center for Governmental Research to be implemented.”

In the release, it was proposed that nursing home workers remain members of CSEA Chautauqua County Unit 6300, but a separate section of the contract include articles specific only to County Home employees. It also said that the union’s request to negotiate remains contingent on the full funding of the County Home, including IGT funds and the implementation of other CGR report measures.

“We remain dedicated to nursing home residents and taxpayers who demand quality long-term care and access to the care that only the Chautauqua County Home provides,” Fagerstrom said. “We are once again asking that these negotiations begin immediately.”

Edwards said he is currently working through the mandatory process of negotiations for all 934 CSEA employees. He said he is fine with the County Home employees negotiating separately, however, he cannot guarantee that the home will continue to be funded by IGT money.

“That is something I cannot commit the people of Chautauqua County to. That’s like sentencing the taxpayers of Chautauqua County to spending more than $3 million of taxpayer dollars,” Edwards said. “That is asking me to guarantee a $3.3 million taxpayer subsidy to keep 250 government jobs. I just cannot commit to that. I will be glad to negotiate. I will be glad to find ways to work on reducing the cost to the taxpayers so that we are not using tax dollars to fund jobs that could be done in the private sector at no taxpayer exposure. But, I cannot condition negotiations on spending over $3 million of taxpayer dollars.”

Edwards will continue discussions with CSEA until negotiations are complete.