County set to approve contract

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County and its largest union are one step closer to a new contract after the Board of Supervisors Personnel Committee approved terms.

The panel on Wednesday unanimously agreed to the deal with Civil Service Employees Union Local 818, whose 285 members have been working under terms of a contract that expired in 2009.

The Personnel Committee took the action after discussing terms in a closed session on Wednesday, said Bleecker Supervisor David Howard, who chairs the committee. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the new contract at its next meeting at 1 p.m. March 11.

Union president Ron Briggs did not return a phone message seeking comment. Howard and county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said they could not talk about the contract.

“We never do until all parties have ratified it – that’s standard procedure during collective bargaining,” Stead said.

Briggs told The Leader-Herald in January the contract would be “very similar” to the recommendations of a state fact-finder report, which was released in December. That report suggested a four-year contract with no raises in 2010 and 2011, a 1 percent raise retroactive to 2012 and a 1 percent raise this year, escalating to 1.5 percent for the second half of the year.

In the county’s response to the report, Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron, who was the board chairman when the report was released, recommended extending a contract to 2014, with no wage increase, and making the deal contingent on the union withdrawing an improper-practice charge it filed against the county.

When the contract expired in 2009, 480 county employees were part of the union, but its ranks shrank a year ago when the county sold its residential health care facility to a private owner.