Astorino administration responds to Westchester CSEA accusations on budget hearings

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Here’s a statement from Ned McCormack, communications director and senior advisor to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, responding to the CSEA’s statement, available here, alleging that county employees have been told they cannot speak at public hearings on the 2013 budget:

Employees are free to speak at public hearings. But they do so as private citizens and not as representatives or spokespeople for their departments or the county. The real issue here is that the County Executive has been trying to save the jobs of county workers. The proposed layoffs could have been avoided if the CSEA had agreed to pay a portion of their health care benefits, just like three other county unions, management and just about everyone else in the United States, including members of the state’s CSEA union.

As for job security, the union knows that the county cannot make a no layoff pledge because it does not pay the salaries of all county workers. Some workers are paid through state and federal grants. If those funds stop or are cut back, which increasingly is the case, the county can find itself in the situation where it has to lay off workers because it has no money to pay them.

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20 Comments

  1. Who do you think you are kidding neddy asstorino’s talking heady? And a fine bulbous head it is! The second a CSEA worker speaks out you will retaliate because the is what fascist regimes like the asstorino regime do. No?

  2. Seems he was caught in a lie and now has to issue this self serving statement.

    No one should be infringing on the First Amendment (Known as the Bill of Rights) ; Freedom of Speech is fundamental to the establishment of the United States.

    “the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” Supreme Court decision excerpt.

    County employees are entitled to the same Freedom of Speech everyone else has. No one can honestly say that democracy should be infringed on because a demagogue attitude toward the laws of Westchester and the laws of the United States do not suit the political attitude of the current county executive.

    Sad day when such stifling of opinion is allowed to be unchallenged. Bravo to the CSEA union members for bringing this to the public attention it deserves.

  3. Conflict of Interest on

    This is the problem. When you allow workers to speak at a budget hearing as an employee, you must give them time to do that. Time during the day that cuts into their workday. If they speak as a private citizen, they must take accrued leave time for their own use. I agree that it is improper for any employee to speak as an employee at a budget hearing as it is a clear conflict of interest.

  4. Conflict poster:
    the Board of Legislator hearings are at night after work hours.
    Your argument is denied. Get your facts straight.
    No attempts to twist the story please

  5. the attempt to muzzel county employees by trying to characterize their testimony
    as private citizens and not county employees is a distinction without a difference and
    makes this administration look petty…as long as the person testifying at the hearing
    identifies himself as a county employee there certainly is no conflict and he or she
    is entitled to make their points..they pay taxes too.among other thing and any attempt
    to deny them that opportunity is foolish

  6. Astorino does not care about CSEA workers. What the gave the unions that just settled are gifts. The union members with a authorized contract, that are working now, are paying between 10% – 12.5% of the monthly health care cost but when they retire, they don’t have to pay anything. I’ll say that again. When they retire, they do not have to pay into their health insurance, only new members hired after July 1, 2012 will have to pay after they retire. Additionally, many of the members in these unions have salaries that are well over $80,000 and up into six figures. Also, many work tremendous overtime. They can afford to pay. However, CSEA has the lowest paid employees who cannot afford to pay what Astorino has suggested (18%). Astorino treats CSEA members as if they are not worthy of being treated well. He is NOT in touch with the working man….maybe he should try shoveling crap at $20/hr and have to pay 18% of his health insurance on top of that. Let’s not forget, how much we are giving already. Every time you go to the doctors it costs b/w $40 and $60 with co-pays. CSEA is getting less and less and the County keeps taking more and more of their money. Shame on Astorino and his friends.

  7. The fact that CSEA members don’t pay a nickel for their health care is ridiculous. Unions are killing this country and public sector unions are the worst.

  8. Memo to WKane

    Right wing haters are killing this country, not unions.

    Unions are our family, our neighbors, the people who teach your children, take care of you in the hospital, plow your streets, inspect the drinking water systems, repair your bridges, haul your food to the market, pick up your trash, aprehend those who commit crimes against you, feed lunch to your kids, keep tabs on parilles, and bring your TV show including Fox News to your TV screen via the unionized workers in CWA, IUPAT, CSEA, IBEW, Teamsters, NYSUT, SEIU, and UWUA, PBA, and many others who day in day out do the hard work and pay their bills including all their taxes.

  9. @Get Real, time to get real and not just recite the typical talking points your union hands you. I know many people in unions, those in the trades, teachers, police, fire, etc and to a person they all hate it. They don’t like being forced to contribute dues, don’t like how the union bosses reap huge salaries and they don’t like how the “leadership” always puts them in uncomfortable positions. I personally know two members of the CSEA who would gladly contribute a little to their own health care like everyone else does AND to save the jobs of their colleagues. They are embarrassed to admit they even belong to the CSEA and they can’t understand the game of chicken they are playing. @Get Real, how do you justify the CSEA not contributing to a portion of their excellent health care insurance, at a time of tough economic and fiscal times AND when everyone else does — both private and public?

  10. the consultant on

    the fact that union members may be our family and friends is irrelevant when it comes
    to what is a fair price to pay for health insurance..in fact our family and our friends in
    the private sector contribute at least 50% of their health insurance premiums…why are they
    any less deserving than their counterparts in the public service unions…and why should
    the unions in westchester not have to pay what other unions have already agreed to pay?
    the CSEA union leaders are doing their memberships no favor by holding out and allowing
    some of them to lose their jobs..becuase the job of a union leader is to preserve all the jobs
    of all his members even if that means that all of his members have to chip in a little more
    the answer of course is that unions have been spoiled and have come to expect perks
    that no one in the private sector gets…and they believe they are exempt from the economic
    downturn that has cost 23 million jobs because they have theirs..so this notion that
    they get a job guarantee is ludicrous…maybe its time to do what ronald reagan did
    with the flight controlers union…didn’t seem to hurt any did it…and plenty of non union
    people who needed good jobs stepped up to the plate

  11. So many of the right wing experts on union matters coming out of the woodwork no doubt because they owe something to the man.

    Yeah sure, rake it in by the hundreds every hour and bank it in investment vehicles aimed to avoid taxes and then spout off on union matters as if you know what you are talking about.

    Your country club is calling, the same country club that pays no federal income taxes.

  12. the consultant on

    hey scholar denny…stop regurgitating the same left wing nonsense…all over the nation
    cities and counties are facing pension obligations that they cannot meet…promises
    were made to gain political support from the unions that cannot be kept..people like
    you don’t get it…the ultimate result of a failure to come to the table is called chapter
    9 …that is a federal bankruptcy provision that allows a special master to come in
    open the contracts and cancel the deals…is that what you want…your personal diatribe
    about hiding funds in investment vehicles that avoid taxes is a typical unionist charge that
    has zero facts behind it..because you think you are entitled to every perk you have negotiated
    even though the taxpayers were not at the table…you have no problem justifying a cop or
    fireman who never made more than 80 grand in salary retiring on twice that much…
    and if you read the article about all the country clubs which are not paying taxes you must
    realize that they do so because they make no money and the government does not
    require them to pay…but you chose to also cast aspirtions on that because you are desperately
    realizing that this is hardly a right wing or even a conservative position..taxpayers are fed up
    with unions who are pigs…and you have demonstrated exactly why they are demanding you
    do your part just as you demand that the rich pay their fair share…its called the rule in
    the famous case of gander….what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

  13. Consultant, excellent points, but NO Democrat would understand.

    For them, its about protecting government union jobs & their lofty pensions at the expenses of everyone else.

  14. Nope…it’s really about getting rid of hypocrites like asstorino so that the people’s work can be done bill.

  15. Stop bill, your lies are bogus and no longer believed

    the average NYS Pensions system pension is the huge amount of $18,000- hardly lofty. Not our fault that publications make screaming headlines of the EXCEPTIONS which are the hand over fist OVERTIME junkies who milk the system with the blind eye of the top level administrators as well as the pension figures of the same TOP LEVEL Administrators, Town Supervisors, School District Superintendents, and other politically connected way overpaid hacks

    The REAL WORKERS who work real hours without 2-3 hours lunch hours, who show up early and do the sweaty work and the clean up work receive an average pension of about $18,000.

    bill: you are a paid liar so get lost. You are lonely with no campaign to manage (into the ground)… sore loser indeed no matter how many names you create

    Same for “consultant” who has made millions advising politicians

  16. Denny, I think you mistake me for someone else, but that’s your problem not mine.

    And 1st of all, most workers don’t get any kind of pension so why should state workers? The pay is about the same, so why add a pension on top? The answer is the state shouldn’t be offering these as they are now bankrupting many city, village, county, school and town budgets as the pension system is now costing every 1 of those entities 20% of their payroll, but somehow you think they should make more?

    No wonder NY has the highest taxes in the county and is losing population by the droves. Why do you think people are moving out of NY?

  17. bill: are you really willing to say that “most workers dont deserve a decent pension”? Where is the USA if you and all of us accept that premise? You have given up and abandoned hope. That does not mean we have to and listen to lies about the NYS Pension system.

    Really? Just give up and die and let millionaire CEOs tell us we dont deserve any pensions after making the CEO rich with our work (I am speaking about the whole country bill so dont slam me for saying that)

    Really? Let the big boss dictate your retirement struggle? “Most workers have no pension ” so that is it ! I dont think most people are such wimps bill.

  18. another thing bill…the Top Administrators who are inciting you to make such statements above (bankrupting towns) are also going to collect a pension and it will not be $18,-19,000 on average. Look around: see how much salary the elected town Supervisors haul in while deriding the real workers who sweat and struggle to live from paycheck to paycheck working for the municipalities.
    Dont fool yourself bill…they are taking care of themselves and their relatives and their friends who they HAVE to hire because they will say “No one else is qualified”

  19. consultant: you cast insults rather easily in calling unions pigs. your true right wing position…”I got mine so you cant have any” we knew that …thanks for clarifying your hate

    your free speech is OK but when someone else speaks it is “regurgitating” ……….