STEUBEN CO DEPUTIES UNION: STATEMENT REGARDING WORKING WITHOUT A CONTRACT SINCE DECEMBER 2020
November 17, 2023
Dear Community Members of Steuben County,
The Deputies Association of the County of Steuben writes this letter to you as members of the community under what we believe are unfortunate circumstances. The Deputies Association currently consists of thirty-six members, which is four less than our authorized number due to recruitment and retention barriers facing modern law enforcement. These members are sworn law enforcement officers that provide patrol and investigative duties.
The Deputies Association has been out of contract since December 31, 2020 and has engaged in multiple attempts at negotiations with the Steuben County Administration in an effort to provide our members with fair and equitable pay. The Deputies Association and County Management were unable to come to an agreement during negotiations and proceeded into the process of mediation and arbitration through the New York State Public Employee Relations Board also known as PERB. By law, the Association does not have the right to strike, and therefor all disputes are resolved by PERB.
During this process PERB assigned an independent third-party Arbitrator who listened to testimony from both the Deputies Association and Steuben County Management. This testimony addressed the County’s fiscal ability to pay, comparison of pay and benefits in comparable Counties, and the duties performed by Deputies. The arbitrator issued an award that would encompass the years of 2021 and 2022. The arbitrator’s award was issued on September 25th (a copy can be found on PERB’s website), but the County has failed to provide the pay increase mandated by the award. The Deputies Association would like to state that this award still had members’ pay below the average of comparable County Sheriff’s Offices. Currently members are being paid between 23% and 26% below the average wages for comparable County Sheriff’s Offices. The Arbitrator’s ruling is binding pursuant to New York State Law.
In the past several years, while being out of Contract we have lost several Deputies to outside agencies which provide higher pay and better retirement options. We as members of the Deputies Association are also taxpayers in the County of Steuben and believe that the actions of County Management are unjust, unfair and not fiscally responsible while considering the public safety crisis facing our local community and communities across the nation. As active members of our various communities throughout Steuben County the members of the Deputies Association would like to assure you that we will continue to serve the citizens of our County with the utmost professionalism and we will not be deterred by the County’s tactics. We will continue to educate, protect and serve our communities. Your Deputies will also continue to provide support through our training and certifications as EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians), which is one of the only programs of this nature in the State.
We ask you to please contact your local legislator with any questions, concerns or comments, and to encourage them to abide by the arbitration award and provide Deputies with a fair and equitable pay increase. Their contacts are attached, and the members of the Deputies Association greatly appreciate your time in reading this release.
The Deputies Association of the County of Steuben
? Jack Wheeler, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 1 - City of Hornell
? Gary D. Swackhamer, email@example.com
? Paul E. Van Caeseele, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 - City of Corning
? Steven Maio, email@example.com
? Hilda T. Lando, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 - Town of Bath
? Nick Pelham, email@example.com
? Kelly H. Fitzpatrick, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4 - Cohocton and Wayland
? John V. Malter, email@example.com
District 5 - Prattsburgh, Pulteney, Urbana
? K. Michael Hanna, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 6 - Dansville, Hartsville, Hornellsville
? Brian C. Schu, email@example.com
District 7 - Avoca, Fremont, Howard, Wheeler
? Aaron I. Mullen, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 8 - Bradford, Campbell, Wayne
? Jeffrey P. Horton, email@example.com
District 9 - Cameron, Canisteo, Thurston
? Wendy Lozo, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 10 - Greenwood, Jasper, Rathbone, Troupsburg, West Union, Woodhull
? Frederick G. Potter, email@example.com
District 11 - Addison, Lindley, Tuscarora
? Robert V. Nichols, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 12 - Town Erwin
? James Kuhl, email@example.com
District 13 - Caton, Corning, Hornby
? Scott J. Van Etten, firstname.lastname@example.org
? Carol A. Ferratella, email@example.com
(OUR RADIO NEWS DEPARTMENT HAS CONTACTED BOTH COUNTY MANAGER WHEELER AND COUNTY LEGISLATIVE CHAIR VAN ETTEN. AS SOON AS WE HEAR FROM THEM, WE WILL POST THEIR RESPONSES.)
Do You Like To Go Walking In The Morning In Bath?
Bath School Superintendent Kelly Houck tells WVIN News the Indoor Track at the Haverling Athletic Complex has been open for morning walkers for the past couple of weeks, and this will continue to be open to the public through March 28t Track hours are 6:00-7:00 a.m. Monday through Friday on the days that school is in session. The track at the Haverling Athletic Complex will be closed on snow days, as well as during school vacations and weekends. Walkers are asked to park in the upper parking lot behind the District Office and enter through the upper doors of the Indoor Track.
The NYS Clean Slate Act Has Been Signed Into Law
On Thursday morning Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act. "The Clean Slate Act seals certain criminal records and allows individuals to get jobs and housing," Hochul stated. " Criminal records for those who have served sentences misdemeanors will be erased after three years and those with certain felony convictions, after eight years." The new law goes into effect in one year. Democrat State Attorney Tish James supports it, saying the new law will, "make it easier for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers to find stable housing, good-paying jobs, and quality education." Upstate Republicans are not so happy with the new law. GOP State Senators Tom O'Mara and George Borrello maintain that this new law will make it so New York State landlords or business owners, cannot do valid background checks. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) also objected, saying that the Clean Slate Act is pro-criminal and far too lenient on felons. "Manslaughter, Attempted Murder, these are serious crimes," Palmesano stated.
Brush Fire In Fremont
On Thursday afternoon, there were numerous fire departments working on putting out a brush fire in the Town of Fremont. That's according to Steuben County Emergency Services.
Wanted Photos Now Posted Online In Steuben County
The Steuben County Sheriff's Office is now posting photos, descriptions, etc., on the county sheriff's dept. Facebook Page. The crimes alleged, range from Failure to Pay Child Support to Petit Larceny to 2nd Degree Robbery.
Corning School District Gets Negative Audit From Dinapoli
And The Superintendent Makes Corrective Changes
From The NYS Comptroller's Office:
The district’s claims auditor did not properly audit and approve all claims prior to payment. Auditors reviewed 100 claims totaling approximately $19.5 million and determined that: the claims auditor, who is an employee of the Greater Southern Tier Board of Cooperative Educational Services (GST BOCES), inappropriately audited 43 claims totaling approximately $16.1 million paid to GST BOCES. This compromised the claims auditor’s objectivity and independence. The school board should have audited these claims. The treasurer paid 18 claims for health insurance reimbursements and credit card purchases totaling approximately $1.7 million before they were properly audited. Auditors found 49 travel-related credit card charges totaling $28,555 did not include a pre-approval form or other supporting documentation.
Corning School Superintendent Michelle Caulfield responded by saying that the Corning School District agreed with the findings, and already has made corrections in their procedures.