Laid-Off Workers Will Get
Extra Protections After All
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTESGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – At week’s end, the CSEA, which represents the 59 Otsego County employees who will be laid off June 8, changed its mind and accepted additional benefits offered by the county board to soften the blow.
“Membership got ahead of their leadership,” county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, surmised today. “I’m sure (leadership) got a lot of flack.”
At Wednesday’s board of representatives’ meeting, where the 59 layoffs were approved, 9-4-1, the reps received word the Civil Service Employees Association had rejected an offer to, one, allow employees to maintain their vacation time and seniority if they returned and, two, to be allowed to pay to maintain their health benefits through the end of the year.
If Civil Service Law were strictly followed, Personnel Director Penny Gentile told the board, the reps weren’t required to offer the add-ons.
While the layoffs were being debated, County Attorney Ellen Coccoma received a call from the county’s labor lawyer, Matt Ryan, advising the board of the CSEA’s decision.
Nonetheless, Bliss brought a resolution to the floor detailing the extra benefits, and staring the offer still stood, if the CSEA were to change its mind. That resolution passed 13-1, with one absence.
Cheryl Davidson, local CSEA president, did not return a message today.