Unions Get New Deal

LITTLE VALLEY – Two more union contracts have been finalized, and a department head pay increase will go before the people of the county in a public hearing.

Employees in the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department have a reason to be happy after Wednesday’s legislative meeting. Two union bargaining units saw the fruits of long contract negotiations finally pay off with ratification, something that has not happened for two years, forcing the employees to work without a contract.

Members of the Sheriff’s Department Employees Unit will receive a 1 percent lump sum payment to compensate for not having a contract in 2013 and will see an increase of 2 percent in each year, starting in 2014 and going through 2017. The contract also calls for the implementation of an employee wellness program and increases in the health insurance contributions in 2014 and 2016. In addition, those who work second shift will receive a shift differential of $0.60.

The Cattaraugus County Deputies Association will see the same raise structure as the Employees Unit, but will also see part-time employees included in the 1 percent payment for 2013 as well as a $0.50 increase in 2014 and 2016, and a 2-percent increase in 2015 and 2017.

While these law enforcement-related departments see increases, a public hearing has been set for June 11 at 3:02 p.m., in the Legislative Chambers on the third floor of the Little Valley County Center to discuss a plan to establish the sheriff’s salary at $97,252.20 for 2014, a 3 percent increase over his current rate. The local law would also grant an additional 2 percent increase in 2015 to $99,197.65. Once the hearing is held, the members of the legislature may vote on the increase.

In other matters, the members of the lawmaking body voted to support the divesting of Jamestown Community College from the property that has served as residence for the school president. According to James Snyder, Sr. (R-District 10, Olean) the newly appointed president has opted to live in another residence, making the sale of the property feasible. The building is in need of some repairs and would be more beneficial to Jamestown Community College as a sold property.

The Cattaraugus County Legislature must approve such measures as a partner member of the college. According to the agreement that brought Jamestown Community College’s Cattaraugus campus to Olean, to make major decisions like this one, approval must be secured from both Cattaraugus and Chautauqua county legislatures, as well as the college Board of Trustees.

The legislature voted to approve a $1.54 million project to renovate the dining facilities at Hamilton Hall as well. With all of the funding in place, the approvals were the last hurdle to renovate the 1962-era dining facility. The building had received renovations in 1985, but has outgrown them as well, with the addition of the residence facilities on the Jamestown campus, according to John Garfoot, vice president of administration for the school.