Three years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo blew a rare opportunity to fundamentally reform one of the most costly provisions of the New York State law regulating public-sector collective bargaining.
Now he's about to blow it again.
The region's highest paid local government employees work for the town of Greece, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy.
The 2014 edition of "What They Make" finds that Ramapo's general town employees and town police were the highest-paid in the state.
Charles E. Ewald was paid $414,527 by Suffolk County.
Local governments had hoped for an overhaul this year to the controversial binding arbitration process, including a 2 percent cap in the awards. But what they got were small changes in the 39-year-old system for resolving disputes in local police and firefighter contract negotiations.
Thanks to a last-minute bill language tweak sought by police and firefighter unions, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s watered-down “reform” of New York’s compulsory arbitration law will not apply to a number of unsettled contracts that hadn’t even reached the arbitration stage before the law was extended just before the Legislature adjourned last month. Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) records now indicate that up to two dozen contract disputes may have been carved out of the new law (Ch. 67 of 2013), with the full impact ultimately depending on how many of these employers are considered fiscally distressed enough to otherwise qualify.
Now that another legislative session is in the books in Albany, pundits, lawmakers and the media can evaluate which interest groups and organizations came out ahead and who was left wanting. The only consensus regarding the outcome of this session is that the legislative results for organized labor ran the gamut, from overwhelming success for certain unions and coalitions to a bitter disappointment for others—though with several major labor initiatives passing and little legislation going through with wide-ranging consequences for labor, it’s safe to say that labor unions fared pretty well this go-around.
As argued in previous posts on this blog, Cuomo actually squandered a golden opportunity to deliver much more meaningful reform of the 39-year-old, repeatedly renewed but still temporary statute that has done much to drive police and firefighter compensation through the roof in New York.