Lawmakers to consider 6-year pact for corrections officers

Published Feb 14, 2018 at 11:19am

The Oneida County Board of Legislators was slated to consider this afternoon a new contract for corrections officers that calls for an 8.5 percent raise over six years.

There’s also yearly step movement in the tentative agreement with Oneida County Sheriff’s Department Employees Local 1249, Council 82. It is retroactive to 2016 and expires Dec. 31, 2021. The bargaining unit covers about 316 corrections officers, civil deputies, court security officers and court attendants.

The starting salary for corrections officers would be boosted to $40,364 following ratification. It is hoped that the increase of slightly more than $4,000 — the first two steps of the salary schedule would be dropped — will aid in recruiting and retaining employees.

The correctional facility has been hit with vacancies in the past year — a situation Sheriff Robert M. Maciol attributes, in part, to higher salaries paid by the state for corrections officers, both at prisons and the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy.

“I really think this is a responsible agreement on behalf of our members, the County of Oneida and the taxpayers,” said Luis Roman, Local 1249 president.

He’s also hopeful that corrections officers will remain longer with the county thanks to salary changes such as the higher starting pay and an increased longevity payment after 25 years of service. The $2,500 longevity payment, an increase of $500, brings Council 82 members equal to the other four unions representing county employees.

“We’ve almost been a training ground for other departments,” said Roman.

His membership rejected a tentative contract last year. Some changes were made in subsequent negotiations and a new agreement then passed by a 124-96 margin. It now goes to the Board of Legislators this week for the final step in the approval process.

Under the tentative agreement, there are retroactive raises of 1.25 percent for 2016 and 2017 and increases of 1.5 percent for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 20121. Employees who are at the top of the salary schedule and, as a result, not eligible for step movement will get yearly raises of 2 percent for 2016 and 2017 and 2.75 percent for the final four years.

Other agreement highlights include:

• A voluntary physical fitness program that will compensate participating employees from $200 to $300 annually based on their level of fitness in accordance with established standards.

• All bargaining unit members will be subject to mandatory unannounced drug testing at least annually.

• Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays are eliminated as holidays and replaced with Presidents Day. This reduces the number of paid holidays by one, bringing the contract in line with other county contracts.

In other business:

Also on Wednesday’s agenda is the appointment of Michael F. Galimo II as the Democratic elections commissioner. The Utican would replace Jordan S. Karp, who has resigned.

The term ends Dec. 31. The 2018 budget lists the salary for election commissioner as $77,545.

County Democratic and Republican committee members are responsible for recommending the election commissioner for their respective party to the county. Democrats selected Galimo Feb. 1 as Karp’s successor, according to county Chairman William R. Thickstun.

In addition, the legislators will vote on resolutions to borrow nearly $17.6 million to pay for this year’s capital projects. The projects, including building and parking lot improvements, road and bridge reconstruction, Department of Public Works Equipment, and computer system and network upgrades were included in the 2018 capital budget that was approved in November.