County weighs new union in Sheriff’s Dept.

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday will consider squelching a request by a Sheriff’s Department faction to form a new county union.

The board meets at 1 p.m. Monday at the County Office Building, and one of the proposed resolutions is from the Personnel Committee.

Details won’t be made public until Monday, but the committee is recommending the full board pass a resolution “denying request to form a separate bargaining unit for sergeant and corporal correction officers.”

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Friday the county received a request from sheriff’s officers to form the union. He said the committee felt the request should be denied.

“They felt it was not necessary to add a whole other union with a whole other process,” Stead said. “We already have four [unions].”

Stead explained there is a specific procedure for forming a separate public-sector union at any level of government in New York state. He said that process involves the government employees going to the employer – in this case, the Board of Supervisors – and requesting formation of the union.

He said if the governing body doesn’t support the union, the request can be made to the State Public Employment Relations Board in Albany. Stead said if PERB approves the union, that approval supercedes the county government denial.

Fulton County government has these unions: General Unit, Local 818, Civil Service Employees Association; Nurses Unit; Fulton County Deputy Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association; and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Employees Alliance. The alliance consists of all members of the corrections staff at the county jail on Route 29. as well as some other sheriff’s department personnel. The PBA consists of road patrol officers.

The county’s largest union is the 285-member General Unit, which in March had its latest contract approved.

Hearings set

In other proposed business Monday, the meeting will kick off with two presentations and two public hearings.

At 1:10 p.m., the board will hear a presentation recognizing efforts of auxiliary members of the former Fulton County Resident Health Care Facility. The county sold its former 176-bed nursing home on County Highway 122 for $3.5 million to a private company, Bronx-based Centers for Specialty Care, which took over in March 2012. It is now known as the Fulton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare.

At 1:15 p.m., Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese will present an economic development update report.

Supervisors will conduct a 1:30 p.m. public hearing regarding a local law to override the state-mandated tax levy cap. Another hearing is set for 1:45 p.m. on inclusion of certain properties into the county’s agricultural district.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at