North Castle Town Board Backs Union Contracts After Heated Remarks

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Pictured are William Potvin and Michael Fareri.
Pictured are William Potvin and Michael Fareri. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Pictured is Edward Lobermann.
Pictured is Edward Lobermann. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

ARMONK, N.Y. -- Members of North Castle's Town Board unanimously approved a pair of CSEA union contracts Wednesday night after tense remarks from members of the public.

Under the terms of the contracts, which were outlined by Town Administrator Joan Goldberg, there will be the creation of a new employee class that has a starting salary of around $20,000 less.

There is also a reduction in holidays from the previous 15 per year. New employees will have 12 holidays while existing staff will have 14.

New employees will also have eight personal days per year. In contrast, varying amounts at 12 and above had been allowed. There is also a reduction in personal days from five to three.

The unions will also be getting a better dental plan, Goldberg said.

The administrator, after the meeting, also discussed duration and salary terms. Contract coverage runs retroactively from 2012 and concludes until 2016. Annual salary increases will be for 1.5 percent for the first three years, 2 percent for 2015 and 2.5 percent for 2016.

Some speakers took issue with how the process was handled. For example, long-time local developer Michael Fareri voiced displeasure at the contracts not being published and said the public should have a right to review.

“It's wrong,” he said, referring to his grievance.

Fareri also spokes negatively of part-time employees being able to qualify for medical, dental and vision coverage.

Supervisor Michael Schiliro defended the Town Board's role in labor negotiating.

“We're elected to do that,” he said.

Resident William Potvin called for the matter to be tabled and for there to be a public hearing scheduled before there is a signing.

A public role in negotiating received push back from Town Attorney Roland Baroni, who noted that nobody does it.

Potvin and Fareri also disclosed that contractual information was emailed to them. Schiliro, in reply to Potvin's disclosure, explained that the document is confidential and expressed concern about it being released.

Former Supervisor Howard Arden, in his remarks, blasted the handling of the negotiating, saying there was a “lack” of transparency. He also was critical of involvement from Goldberg and Deputy Supervisor Stephen  D'Angelo because he felt that they did not have enough experience. D'Angelo quickly replied back by noting his record.

At one point, Schiliro expressed frustration after Arden disclosed his correspondence with Michael Richardson, who has been a labor negotiator for the town, which took place in February.

Others speakers defended the process and spoke with deference to the role of officials in negotiating.

North White Plains resident Edward Lobermann, who hurried to the board meeting in Armonk after watching it from his home, gave a passionate defense of the process, noting the role of the Taylor Law.

“I am furious,” said Lobermann, a former union president.

Lobermann also described the lack of a public role in the negotiating phase.

“There are no public hearings,” he said.

Lobermann also urged the board to give approval.

“You have the right and the duty to approve that contract,” he said.

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