MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – The Chautauqua County Legislature held a meeting Wednesday evening to vote on resolutions to several propositions throughout the county.
The county workforce has been a hot-topic for some time, and while the majority agree with a new contract that includes pay increases, there are some counter arguments.
“I just want to commend the county negotiating team and the CSCA-6300 unit for actually sitting down and bartering in good faith. I think it was a win-win for both the county and the union, it’s been a struggle, I know, as far as recruiting people to work for the county and retaining the good workers that we have, and I think that this contract addresses some fair pay-raises and so on and so forth to keep our good workers to keep coming back to Chautauqua County and not leaving to go to a private sector,” said District 2 Legislator Robert Bankoski.
Legislator Bankoski’s testament seemed to ease some anxiety amongst other officials.
“I had a lot of questions today about this but I was really satisfied in hearing about what this is doing, as Mr. Bankoski said, to not only recruit but to retain good employees and how important that is, and that we’ve discussed as a group, it’s a lot less expensive for the county to keep good people than to bring in new people and train them,” explained District 12 Legislator Elisabeth Rankin.
Not all are in agreement with this newly adopted resolution.
“This will result in an increase in our local share of about $1.7 million in our 2024 budget. What I’m hearing is that some people say that this is okay and we can cover this increase and still come in under the state property tax cap. This is not the mindset that I’m in and I hope none of my colleagues are either. If we are increasing salaries by 1.7 million in local share, we should be looking for ways to save money in our equipment or contractual accounts or perhaps efficiencies,” said District 5 Legislator Terry Niebel.
In the end, most view the resolution as a way to retain employees.
“If we have good employees, we want to keep them here and we’re trying to encourage that. Especially given the market and there’s so many people who are not working, let’s keep the good ones that we have,” said Rankin.
Workforce as a whole has been a shaky topic for some time, with different work-force readiness programs being implemented in schools and discussion of pay increase as seen in Wednesday night’s meeting. Chautauqua County officials are seemingly working hard to protect and improve the county’s workforce.