Saturday, April 30, 2011


Presenters were left to right:  MCC President Dr. Anne Kress, Monroe County
Medical Examiner Dr. Caroline R. Dignan, CSEA Local 828 Women's Committee Chair Angela Muscianese, Senior Extension Associate Cornell ILR Linda Donahue and President of the Associate Board for Gilda's Club of Rochester Erin Julian.  photo:  Ove Overmyer 
Rochester, N.Y.--  On Saturday, April 30, three dozen men and women from the Rochester area gathered at Monroe Community College for a workshop discussion titled, "Awesome Women:  Past, Present and Future."  The event was sponsored by the CSEA Monroe County Local 828 Women's Committee.

Workshop attendees listen intently to Monroe County Medical Examiner
Dr. Caroline R. Dignan talk about balencing her career and family life.
photo:  Ove Overmyer
Speakers at the workshop included Dr. Anne Kress, Monroe Community College; Linda Donahue, Cornell ILR; Dr. Caroline Dignan, Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office; and Erin Julian, Gilda’s Club of Rochester.  Donahue gave attendees some labor history notes on women trailblazers, including the contributions of Mother Jones, Rose Schneiderman and Frances Perkins.  The presenters told very poignant and inspirational stories of the trials and tribulations of working women-- they detailed a personal narrative explaining how they manage to balance a professional career, family and personal interests.

For more photos of this event and other CSEA Monroe County Local 828 images, you can visit our Flickr photostream.

Quotes and words worth remembering but not limited to:

Linda Donahue: Quoting labor icon and feminist Rose Schneiderman right after witnessing women throwing themselves out of the ninth floor windows of the burning NYC Asch Building during the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 that killed 146 garment workers, "Life is so cheap and property is so sacred." 

Dr. Anne Kress:  "Become part of something that is bigger than yourself.  In your personal journey, know when your opportunities exist and be prepared to ask yourself what do you want to give up?  And, behind every great woman is herself."

Camille Julian:  "I always told my children that the road you take in life will always be a journey forward."

Dr. Anne Kress:  "College readiness begins before kindergarten."

Linda Donahue: When referring to the enactment of early 20th century labor laws, "Laws are often used against us as well as for us."

Dr. Caroline R. Dignan:  When asked about weighing the difference between the public or private sector medical arenas, she repsonded,   "I never considered the money when I decided to follow my dream to study forensic pathology."

Erin Julian:  "Everyone can make a difference in your community-- all you have to do is volunteer."

Angela Muscianese:  "Awesome."

photo:  Ove Overmyer

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Rochester, N.Y.-- It’s bad enough that House Republicans voted to destroy Medicare and replace it with an inadequate voucher scheme. But now, non-partisan analysts have revealed that this GOP budget plan actually increases the national debt by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years-- and it still forces seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket and potentially cuts off health care coverage completely for millions of Americans.

However, the American people are starting to pay attention to the absurdity of the radical GOP Ryan Plan. The House GOP is telling us, "we know what's best for you," but obviously, "no they don't."  They are merely delivering the goods to the small minority of people and corporations with astronomical wealth who got them elected in the first place.  They have no regard for the welfare or common good of the American people. 

In town hall meetings being held across the country during Congress' two-week recess, citizens of all stripes are filling the ears of Republican legislators with objections to their supporting such garbage, particularly the proposed changes to Medicare that would replace direct coverage with subsidies for private insurance.  Plus, the GOP approves of billion dollar tax payer subsidies for big oil and pharma-- like they actually need more of our money.  When does the greed stop?

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pennsylvania, quoted in a New York Times article Tuesday, tried to play down the objections, but his explanation inadvertently exposed the flaw in his party's political strategy.

"I am not sensing the general public is angered over Medicare reform," he insisted. "When I explain that people over 55 are not affected there is almost a sigh of relief."

In other words, Barletta believes his constituents will only tolerate "reform" when it does not personally affect them. Sheesh.

This offhand acknowledgement belies the obvious truth that Republicans hate to admit: Americans actually like their government health insurance, and they do not trust for-profit insurance companies to do it better. They like their "socialized medicine" so much that they're willing to give lip service to anyone who threatens to take it away.

And another thing-- Medicare belongs to all Americans, not just the population who are receiving the benefits right now. Most of us working stiffs who do not have it now are counting on its support in our old age-- if we don't die on the job first because the GOP wants to raise the retirement age.

The over-55 provision only serves to validate citizens' objections. Even if the exception pacifies seniors, by emphasizing it Republicans implicitly acknowledge that the proposed subsidy plan is not equivalent to Medicare as we know it. On top of this, they overtly recognize the fact that Americans under 55 will get screwed.

A study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that future retirees would pay much more under Ryan's plan than under traditional Medicare-- and that's exactly what the for-profit healthcare companies desire.  By 2030, for example, a typical 65-year-old would pay two-thirds of his or her health costs.

If Republicans had been honest about their message of shared sacrifice to address the national debt, all their "deficit reduction hyperbole" could of attracted some reasonable listeners. But that's not what is happening, no matter how much they try to downplay the push back. When they combine Medicare cuts with tax breaks for the rich, they have run amok and violated one of the most basic rules of democratic politics: most people vote for their own best interest. Not all do of course-- remember the book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?" When 400 rich-as-can-be families have the same wealth as 155 million other Americans, you know we are headed in the wrong direction when it comes to stabilizing a middle-class economy.

Voters will not stand for something they personally value to be taken away from them and at the same time, give benefits to rich people and multi-billion dollar health insurance companies who are wallowing in sizable profits. How can they think that this is a winning strategy for them politically or for the American people? But it begs another question-- maybe it's not about the America we know and love.

A few weeks ago, Republicans' attempts to gut federal programs like Head Start and Planned Parenthood provoked little outrage from the average American voter. That's because most Americans do not perceive themselves to benefit from the programs. Similarly, President George W. Bush's attempt to slash Medicaid while extending tax cuts for the rich did not ignite much town hall fervor, because Medicaid assists people below the poverty line. The last time we checked, poor people do not have as many paid lobbyists filling the halls of Congress or the statehouses across America as most multi-national corporations.

We here at the Voice Reporter have been accused on this site as stoking a class warfare mentality.  We will wear that badge of honor with distinction.  But when it comes to fairness of taxes and the battle for resources between the haves and have-nots, middle-class Americans might not seem completely engaged because some of them could be doing ok right now-- they just find it hard to invest in something that doesn't directly affect them.  For those of you who are not engaged, let the Ryan Plan be a warning shot-- your day of reckoning is coming if the GOP controls the Senate in 2012.

The challenge for most of us is to understand these complex issues in the simplest way possible. If we restore a vision for America that is based on the premise that material prosperity and social justice are not competing values, we might get a better handle on bringing everyone together to build a better world.

When Republicans proposed to cut Medicare while reducing taxes for the rich, they lost all credibility with the American people. This is simple to understand. Americans and the voting public get this one. Republicans will lose this fight. And so, we here at the Voice Reporter can now officially call the Republican budget proposal a "dead plan walking."

-Ove Overmyer
This post is the opinion of the author exclusively and does not reflect the views of CSEA as an organization.


click on image for a larger view
Rochester, N.Y.-- Jhatisha Drewery, who is 15 years old, has been missing and separated from her loved ones for the past five days.

Those who are close to Jhatisha believe she may still be in the Rochester, N.Y. area.  Please look at the picture above and if you see her, please call 911 or call the Center For Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

Jhatisha attends School of the Arts but has not been in school for the past three days. She went missing last Saturday. Her mom, grandmother and several family friends have spoken with numerous police officers, fire department personnel and local hospitals and clinics to attempt to locate Jhatisha but authorities have had no luck as of April 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm.

Here are some other contact numbers to call if you see a child that resembles Jhatisha Drewery:

Rochester Police Department (New York) 1-585-428-7113

Tamie Drewery 730-7886 (mother)

Isabel Drewery 202-2990 (grand mother)

Edie Drewery-Brown 546-5097 (aunt)


Albany, N.Y.-- Right now, employees of the Unified Court System have more questions than answers.  The next round of layoffs in the state court system will touch off a scramble in which senior employees whose jobs are being eliminated will claim the positions of less-experienced colleagues. In public service circles, it's called bumping.

"It is an unseemly process, which is why we always say it sounds better to say you are going to lay off workers than to actually do it," said Steven Madarasz, a spokesman for the Civil Service Employee Association.  CSEA is the largest of 11 unions representing court employees, counting as members about 6,000 of the courts' 15,200 nonjudicial workers.

"It is a pretty ugly process because who gets the initial layoff notice may well not be the person who actually goes out the door," Mr. Madarasz added.

The so-called "bumping" process is a time-honored feature of state Civil Service Law and will apply to many, but not all, of the employees whose jobs are being cut.  You can read more about the layoff and bumping process here.

Seventy-four full and part-time employees in the Office of Court Administration, most in New York City, are scheduled to leave their jobs by Wednesday. The remaining layoffs will occur in trial and appellate courts throughout the state.

Administrators say the cuts, the first layoffs in the system since 1991, are needed to compensate for a last-minute $70 million reduction imposed by the governor and the Legislature in the Judiciary's 2011-12 budget.

The last layoffs are to be effective June 1, but because of employees' bumping rights, the identities and precise locations of all workers losing jobs may not be known for days or weeks after the May 18 announcement, according to union and court officials.

The elimination of one job could touch off a domino-like effect in which one employee bumps another who, in turn, bumps a third, Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau said in an interview with the New York Law Journal.

In an April 13 notice to our members, CSEA said that thousands of workers could be "displaced" by the process.

Except in rare instances, bumping rights can only be exercised by employees taking positions they qualify for within "layoff units."

Under state law, the 18 layoff units for the court system are defined as employees of the Court of Appeals, each of the four Appellate Division departments, the Third through the Ninth Judicial districts, Nassau County, Suffolk County, courts in New York City, the Office of Court Administration in New York City, the OCA outside of New York City and the state Court of Claims.

In larger geographical judicial districts, the exercise of bumping rights could mean new locations for some employees that are miles from where they now work.

In the Court of Claims, which has offices from Long Island to Buffalo, employees could have to traverse the state to assume new jobs under the bumping rules, said the court's clerk, Robert T. DeCataldo.

NYS Appellate Division Fourth Dept.
Rochester, N.Y. 
And the Fourth Department has offices in both Buffalo and Rochester.

Yesterday was the deadline for all court employees to file "location preference" forms identifying areas where they would be willing to work if their current positions are abolished.

Administrators have indicated that workers who decline reassignments to those locations will not be offered a second choice, CSEA officials said.

Not all employees have bumping rights

Mr. Madarasz said employees who worked their way up the ladder through successive jobs in the court system likely have positions, albeit at a lower salary grade, to which they could fall back. Those jobs must be on a direct promotional line from an eliminated position, according to Civil Service rules.

Employees hired for a specific position are less likely to have a job they can bump a colleague out of, according to Mr. Madarasz, because they have not gone through a succession of job titles and pay grades.

The names of employees being laid off will be placed on a "preferred list," Judge Pfau said. Those workers will get preference over all other potential employees or promotional candidates if the courts rehire workers. The list will be in force for hiring or promotions for the next four years.

Judge Pfau said administrators hope to hire workers back in the next year if they can get contract concessions in upcoming negotiations.

CSEA represented employees of the UCS and the other ten unions in the court system have been working since April 1 without a contract. Under the Triborough Admendment, the terms of the previous four-year contracts will stay in force until new labor pacts are reached.

"Certainly, we are focusing on collective bargaining," Judge Pfau said. "If there are savings that we can achieve through collective bargaining, we hope to do some rehiring."

She declined to go into details of where the courts hope to save money in new contracts.

Meanwhile, workers losing their jobs will get up to 50 days of compensation for unused vacation and leave time and also will be paid for up to 50 days of compensatory time, if employees have accumulated the time off.

The ability of laid-off workers to cash in unused sick time was unclear yesterday.  In most cases, laid-off workers will qualify for unemployment insurance.

In addition, employees who are placed on preferred hiring lists can continue their health insurance coverage for up to one year, provided they pay a share of the premiums. That share is 10 percent for the worker and 25 percent for family coverage.

The Work/Life Assistance Program also will be available to laid-off workers. The program offers professional counseling and other services to employees for personal problems or if they are experiencing health care issues related to children or close relatives.

Timetable for layoffs for UCS employees

• Yesterday: Employees returned their "location preference forms."

• Tuesday, May 17: List will be completed of all employees affected by the layoffs.

• Wednesday, May 18: All employees will be given notice of which positions will be abolished. Bumping begins.

• Wednesday, June 1: Most layoffs are effective.

On May 18, court administrators are expected to announce plans to eliminate 400 to 425 jobs. As of yesterday, they had not finalized their list of cutbacks. No more layoffs are planned after that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Rochester, N.Y.-- New York's libraries are playing a vital role in the nation's economic recovery and like never before, libraries are achieving record attendance and usage rates. And, the 2011 celebration of National Library Workers Week during mid-April provided an opportunity for all New Yorkers to examine our communities' priorities and values.

On April 27, CSEA WNY Region president Flo Tripi and City of Rochester Library Workers Unit president Ove Overmyer presented 12 donated copies of the hardbound book titled, "A Century of Service: The Story of CSEA's First 100 Years" to the Rochester Public Library Board of Trustees and RPL library administrators at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the Rundel Memorial Library Building in downtown Rochester.

CSEA was founded on Oct. 24, 1910 in the New York State Capital when a small group of state employees came together to stand up against political patronage and promote merit and fitness in state employment. Ironically, Rochester Public Library is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

As the history book illustrates, CSEA was the first formal organization of state employees. Today, CSEA represents nearly 300,000 members in every part of New York in the public and private sector, including 70 library settings throughout the Empire State.  WAMC Northeast Public Radio recently aired an hour long interview about CSEA's history, just one of the many places where the recent publication about CSEA's centennial has generated positive response.  You can go here to listen to the program. 

Central Library of Rochester
and Monroe County
photo:  Ove Overmyer
There are more than 165 CSEA represented employees who work at eleven different branch libraries in twelve buildings throughout the City of Rochester.

At the RPL Board of Trustees presentation, Tripi said, "During these hard economic times, when our governor and state legislators choose to severely cut our school and library budgets, we need more than ever to remind ourselves of the importance of our libraries and the role they play in our local communities. CSEA and the Rochester Public Library have a shared common experience that extends well beyond a century of service-- these history books are a gift from our workers to our community."

left to right:  City of Rochester Library Workers Unit President Ove Overmyer,
WNY Region President Flo Tripi and RPL Board President Sharon Orienter.
photo:  Patricia Uttaro


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Rochester, N.Y.-- CSEA will observe Workers Memorial Day April 28 to remember those who have passed away or sustained serious injuries while doing their jobs.

Workers Memorial Day, first observed in 1989, is an international day of remembrance for fallen workers. CSEA also marks Workers Memorial Day as an opportunity to continue the ongoing fight for workplace safety and health.

CSEA has long led the way nationally in ensuring safer, healthier workplaces, but there is still more work to do.

On this page are listings of memorial events across western New York, and resources for CSEA members to mark Workers Memorial Day and to keep up the fight to ensure that everyone is safe at work.  Click here to get more information about Worker's Memorial Day.

Western New York Worker Memorial Day Events:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 5:30 pm - Workers Memorial Day Celebration, Finger Lakes Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO, Yates County Social Services (417 Liberty Street) at Memorial Tree

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 5 pm - Workers Memorial Day Celebration, Rochester & Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Highland Park at Workers Memorial Site (near South & Highland)

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 5:30 pm - Workers Memorial Day Celebration, Steuben/Livingston, AFL-CIO
Memorial Park, Hornell, NY (at the end of Broad Street)

Saturday, April 30, 2011, 10:30 am - Workers Memorial Day Celebration, Chemung/Schuyler Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO, Wisner Park, Elmira, NY

Monday, April 25, 2011


left to right: CSEA Local 828 president Bess Watts, RWDSU worker Thorne
VanDerBroek and international RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum at the Mott's
strike in Williamson, N.Y. in June of 2010.  photo:  Anne Tischer
Rochester, N.Y.--  RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum forwarded an invite to several high profile New Yorkers to attend an upcoming breakfast meeting he’s hosting with NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes.  At the meeting, labor leaders will strategize and discuss the legislative fight over same-sex marriage and other LGBT workplace rights issues.  The event is being held on May 11 in Manhattan.  Appelbaum is an outspoken and influential advocate for working families and marriage equality in New York-- he came out in a very public fashion back in June of 2009.

He was also a very early supporter of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was the first labor leader to publicly call for then-Gov. David Paterson to step aside and clear the way for Cuomo to avoid a potential nasty -- and racially charged-- intra-party Democratic battle. 

This comes at a time while Gov. Cuomo is ramping up his own efforts as well.  Lawmakers, faith groups, celebrities, the young and old, the union movement and almost every progessive group imaginable are now meeting up together to discuss not only marriage, but how LGBT issues affect all our working families and our workplaces.

Marriage advocates say this recent kind of coalition building is unprecedented in New York state civil rights history.  As part of this effort, Mr. Cuomo and his aides are working on assembling an effective team of union and progressive activists who, despite a shared agenda, have not always coordinated well together.

"Marriage cannot be seen as just an issue for the LGBT community," RWDSU chief Stuart Appelbaum told reporters.  "It is a union issue as well, as demonstrated by the support that has been shown by New York's labor movement. And most importantly it is an issue of importance for anybody who cares about justice. Justice is indivisible. You cannot be for justice for some, and not be for justice for all."

With no reservations, the majority if not all NYS labor unions support this bill.  It's time has come.  This year, NYS AFL-CIO and local unions will be holding lawmakers feet to fire on this one-- marriage equality advocates say the governor needs to win over at least six members of the Senate-- and, most likely, a few Republicans, none of whom backed the bill in 2009. 

Rochester area Senators Joe Robach and Jim Alesi are two lawmakers that have been targeted in this campaign.  In simpler terms, if these two senators want the labor endorsement next election cycle, they will have to vote yes on the marriage bill.

With citizen's approval ratings for marriage equality through the roof (a 22 percent spread, according to a April 2011 Siena Poll), Cuomo’s progressive post-budget policy agenda is clearly instigating a rallying point for civil rights advocates and our NYS unions.

On Septenber 26, 2010, over 300 labor activists and concerned citizens joined
a marriage equality march in downtown Rochester, N.Y..  Participating unions
included, SEIU, PEF, CSEA, UUP, IBEW, Pride At Work among others. The rally,
march and festival that day was sponsored by Marriage Equality New York.
photo:  Bess Watts
Still a way to go 

It's too early to speculate whether all of this coordination and unity will have any impact on the Senate vote, particularly when state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long has made it clear this is a line-in-the-sand issue for him.  However, it is conceivable that supporting this bill might be a bargaining chip worth playing as Senate Republicans gear up for the next fight to keep the majority in 2012 election.

When the Legislature was controlled by Democrats two years ago, a bill to legalize gay marriage was defeated in the Senate by a 38-to-24 vote, with eight Democrats opposing the measure. Now, the Republicans control the Senate by a narrow 32-30 margin.

For those New Yorkers with short memories, remember that the NYS legislature passed the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2002 by a 34-26 Senate vote when Republican George Pataki was living in the governor's mansion.  And, most marriage advocates agree that bipartisanship is essential for this bill to get out of committee in the Senate and eventually pass the full legislature.

SONDA remains significant because there is still no national law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, although efforts are underway to pass a comprehensive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to outlaw discrimination by the nation’s employers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, the only protection LGBT Americans have from discrimination comes from work-related collective bargaining agreements and some state and local laws.

Pro-marriage equality groups will descend on Albany for a day of lobbying on May 9 sponsored by Empire State Pride Agenda.

Even so, Mr. Cuomo may introduce a bill to make same-sex marriage legal in New York by June.  The Republican Senate leader, Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, has said he will allow a vote; whether a Republican will support it remains an open question.

The Voice Reporter believes that if Gov. Cuomo actually introduces the Marriage Equality Bill from the Executive Branch, meaning it does not originate from the Assembly (O'Donnell) or Senate (Duane) chambers first, chances are it's very likely that marriage equality will already be a done deal.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Rochester, N.Y.-- Last week, like millions of other Americans, public workers filed our income tax while the media told us stories about how the most wealthy corporations in the U.S. actually get refunds from the American people. That got us thinking. Even though that just ain't right-- what's more depressing is the American people have forgot why we tax ourselves in the first place.

The media was speaking in quantities of billions and trillions-- it's hard for the average guy to wrap their mind around those numbers. They mention loop-holes and lament how complicated the tax structure is. They feature high-profile spokespeople for whom tax season is the perfect opportunity to fan the anti-tax and anti-government flames.

In most of this coverage, Americans are cast as victims. We are taxpayers bearing up under the obligation to pay into federal and state coffers. Some are stoic in the face of the inevitability of “death and taxes,” while others burn with resentment like the Tea Party folks.  We dread the task of hauling out that folder of receipts and calculating just how much of our income we have to hand over to Uncle Sam.

All of these stories reflect aspects of tax season reality for Americans. What is missing from this picture is any sense of a larger meaning in the act of paying taxes. Most other things that require effort and sacrifice-- family, service, charity, and volunteerism-- have virtuous, or at least redeeming, meaning associated with them. That meaning helps us face life’s challenges with a sense of a larger purpose that makes these acts worth the investment.

The stories we tell about tax day reflect a chronic disconnection from our role as citizens; they are devoid of any civic meaning. The real meaning of taxes pay for the things that underpin our public life and connect us to one another through our communities, our states and our country.

When we lose sight of this, taxes are seen as merely depriving us of our individual property. If, on the other hand, we see ourselves as stewards of a common good, as citizen managers of public systems and structures that secure the city, state and country we live in, then taxes are our contribution to something important that is bigger than we are.

We all need to be telling a new and meaningful story about tax day that celebrates the concrete opportunity it offers “we the people.”  The problem is, without the public systems and structures that taxes pay for, the America we know and love would cease to exist.

No matter what kind of place we call home-- rural, city, suburb-- our aspirations and expectations are inextricably linked with the public systems that provide for our quality of life. The basics of what we need to raise our families and to run successful businesses are now so ingrained in our daily lives that we take their existence for granted.

Members of the Rochester area FSW march in front of the Monroe County Office
Building in downtown Rochester, N.Y. on August 10, 2010 to tell our community
that our tax dollars are well spent.  photo:  Ove Overmyer
When we turn on our faucets, drinkable water flows. When we buy meat at the supermarket, it doesn’t make us sick. When we drive down the road, it doesn’t collapse under us. When we sit on a jury, we can free the innocent and put the bad guys away. When we send our kids to the public library or school, we know there’ll be librarians, teachers, textbooks and computers so they can learn. When we put our money in the bank, we know it’ll be there when we need it.

Things work here. But, as certain as we are that things should be this way, we forget. We forget that environmental protections and fire stations, that library and public school standards, that clean air and safe drinking water, that banking regulations and Social Security checks-- are all only possible because we, as Americans, have chosen to create these governmental structures and systems. And we have chosen to pool our resources to pay for them. We have chosen to do together what we cannot do alone. That is America's identity. That is the kind of America we should remember and be proud to be a part of.

-This commentary was authored by your average tax-paying public employee and does not reflect the view of CSEA as an organization.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Governor Cuomo Announces Members of SAGE Commission

Governor Cuomo appointed members to the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission. The SAGE Commission will conduct a review of state government and seek ways to reduce the number of agencies, public authorities and commissions by 20 percent.

Please click here for a list of the appointed members.

Office of Court Administration Confirms Layoffs

Officials of the State Office of the Court Administration confirmed layoffs of 58 full-time and 16 temporary employees. Further layoffs are expected to deal with the $170 million cut from the courts' budget that was approved in this year’s budget.

Taxes Go Down While CEO Pay Goes Up

For most Americans, taxes were due this past week. Many of the country’s wealthiest say that taxes are higher than ever. However, the facts tell a different story. In fact, General Electric did not even pay a dime in taxes this year.

In 1961: 43.1: Percent of income that Americans earning $1 million paid in taxes. (adjusted for 2011 dollars)

In 2011: 23.1: Percent of income that Americans earning $1 million are likely to pay in taxes, estimated from latest IRS data.

In 1961: 47.4: Percent of profits corporations paid in taxes.

In 2011: 11.1: Percent of profits corporations paid in taxes.

This is at the same time when an AFL-CIO report shows the CEOs at 299 U.S. companies earned a staggering $3.4 billion combined in executive compensation in 2010, a 23 percent increase from the prior year. Nearly 190 of those chief executives got a pay raise compared to their 2009 levels.

As Governor Cuomo and other public employers continue to target public employees for wage freezes and other concessions, those at the top continue to get wealthier. Governor Cuomo even gave a tax break to the wealthiest New Yorkers by refusing to extend the millionaire’s tax. Even though the millionaire’s tax was not included in the enacted budget, we are continuing our efforts. Please continue to lobby your state senator and assembly member for passage of this needed revenue.


Tom Privitere
photo:  Ove Overmyer
Special Commentary by Tom Privitere

WNY Director of Field Services, Public Employees Federation

Rochester, N.Y.-- In the days when Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb and other large manufacturing companies were flourishing in our area, those of us who made a choice to go into public sector service jobs...taking lower pay and, in many cases, fewer benefits, are now being vilified because we’re the “last soldiers standing” in the war against the middle-class.

The powers that be are turning many of those private sector workers, who are justifiably angry over being stabbed in the back by their former employers, into pawns goaded into fighting a battle against their own kind.

All you have to do is ask those people who thought that their Kodak and Xerox pensions and health insurance packages were going to take them through their retirement years. They gave their heart and soul to these companies; they provided the human capital that drove their engines of success.

Just recently, an AFL-CIO report shows the CEOs at 299 U.S. born companies earned a staggering $3.4 billion combined in executive compensation in 2010.  This is a 23 percent increase from the prior year. Nearly 190 of those chief executives got a pay raise compared to their 2009 levels.

This also comes at a time when rank and file workers and retirees whose lifelines and retirement benefits have all but dried up. And that is to say nothing of their co-workers jobs, which have been CAPTA’d and NAFTA’d overseas.

The class war is being won by the "2 percenters" who are successfully convincing middle-class Americans that public employees are the enemy. They say we are the cause of their woes-- that we are eating up their taxes and increasing their costs. If we are to point fingers at anyone, we should be recognizing the fact that extending the Bush Tax Cuts, opening corporate tax loopholes, greedy Wall Street fat cats and financial market deregulation are all responsible for the inability for federal, state and local governments to generate enough revenue to balance our budgets.

Tom Privitere (wearing red) attends the "Save Our Schools"
Rally at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester, N.Y. on
March 17, 2011.  photo:  Ove Overmyer
Middle-class Americans, including Tea Party folks who wave placards proclaiming the “Party’s Over” for public sector “parasites” ought to be told that they are being duped by the real culprits, that “eating their young” is somehow a good thing.

The fact is that the same people who are controlling the media are subliminally and overtly messaging a mantra to the masses that keeps us fighting amongst ourselves while they sit on their yachts, and in their ivory towers, rubbing their hands with glee as they count their millions and laugh at just how easily they have manipulated the conversation.

If you haven't been paying attention of late, these conquer and divide strategies pitting the “private” against the “public” sector is exactly what the “2 percenters” and multi-national corporations planned for us all along.

They have redefined “us” and “them.” They have ingeniously removed themselves from the field of battle and watch from above as working middle-class Americans of public and private stripes argue amongst themselves and waste energy finger pointing at each other. The real culprits in this class war insulate themselves from responsibility and exempt themselves from not only taxes, but dodge the blame for the disintegration of our free market system.

This is a race to the bottom folks, and I refuse to be a pawn in that game of war.


Repost from the City Newspaper, April 21, 2011

By Christine Carrie Fien

When the Central Library cuts its weekly hours from 63 to fewer than 51 this summer, it will represent more than an inconvenience. The reduction will mean that the library is no longer meeting the minimum weekly hours required by the state - 55 hours - to keep its designation as a central library.

The reduction in hours is necessary, library officials say, to help close a $500,000 structural gap at the Central Library, driven by rising pension costs and negotiated wage increases for union employees.

Officials intend to apply for a waiver from the operating-hours requirement, and Ove Overmyer, president of the City of Rochester Library Workers union, says he's confident they'll get it. State officials realize, he says, that you can't require libraries to meet certain operating hours while funding for libraries continues to dry up. State aid for the Central Library has declined from $372,438 in 2010, to $348,230 in 2011.

State aid for the Rochester Public Library branches declined from $88,616 in 2010, to $82,856 in 2011. As it prepares its budget, City Hall has also asked library officials to reduce operating costs for the city branches by $646,000, and there have been discussions about shuttering two branch libraries in the city.

The Central Library budget is primarily funded by Monroe County, to the tune of about $6.8 million a year for operating costs and $400,000 annually for computer and technology services. That funding has remained flat for several years.

The question is, if the downtown library were to lose its designation as a central library, would the county continue to provide funding? Overmyer says it might not.

"They wouldn't have an obligation to us," he says.

The loss of the "central" designation would also mean the loss of about $450,000 in annual state aid. Those two things combined, Overmyer says, would spell devastation for the downtown library.

But Overmyer says he's not worried. The Central Library will get the waiver, he says, and local library officials have gotten good at doing more with less.

"I don't think this is a big issue," he says. "I think people may be reactionary because of the politics behind the city and county relationship. But I don't think that fundamentally, services will change all that much, as long as everyone keeps a cool head and tries not to get territorial or political."

A majority of the Central Library's users - 56 percent - come from outside the city, library officials say.

Rochester Public Library Director Patricia Uttaro said through a spokesperson that she is not immediately concerned with the possibility of the Central Library losing its designation. The issues with the branch libraries - the funding cuts and possible closings - are the more immediate concern, she said.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The Voice Reporter takes exception to the comment, "The reduction in hours is necessary, library officials say, to help close a $500,000 structural gap at the Central Library, driven by rising pension costs and negotiated wage increases for union employees."

Actually, most informed people would argue the city and library budget deficits have little to do with rising pension costs and salaries for unionized employees-- these projected figures that the City Budget and Finance Directors promote are fixed numbers to rationalize their own inability to project reasonable outcomes. If we really want to get a handle on "labor costs," maybe we should start at the higher end of the food chain.

The negotiated wage increases that our two unions, AFSCME and CSEA,  bargained for in the good faith are infinitesimal dollar amounts compared to the real issue that lies before us.  We are suffering from a dwindling tax base and lack of courage from our decision-makers in Albany to find real revenue streams by making multi-billion dollar corporations and multi-millionaire New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes.  This is a revenue problem, not a spending problem.  And, once again, here we are balancing budgets on the backs of those who can least afford it and scapegoating public employees for creating the fiscal mess we are in. 

If we want to responsibly address "labor costs" for city public services, why not target where the real expenses are-- senior/confidential/management employees?  We are being told that everything is on the table-- so let's put it all out there for everyone to see. 

Through a FOIL request, the D&C illustrated that there are 114 employees that make over $100,000 a year.  Go here to check ROCDOCS.  And, to put these salaries into perspective, the entire budget operations for the Highland Branch Library for one fiscal year equals the pay of two of these top paid public workers.  Where are our priorities?

Furthermore, to say that employee collective bargaining agreements, the same documents that city officials signed and approved, are somehow one party's fault is ludicrous.  These collective bargaining agreements should be viewed as a time-honored tradition of labor and management collaboration and not used as a device to misinform and divide our community.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Rochester, N.Y.-- We at the CSEA Voice Reporter have always been out in front of the issues we think are most important to the labor movement and progressive communities.  The ability of same-sex couples to have the same benefits as their straight co-workers gets to the heart and essence of what labor activism is all about-- making significant and meaningful change in the lives of the families we represent.

Here in New York State, the haters are already out in full force-- namely the group who call themselves the National Organization For Marriage (NOM). 

The labor community and it's progressive partners are pushing once and for all to pass a marriage equality bill this legislative session.  New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is putting all his weight behind this initiative, although groups like NOM have tons of money to spread lies and mis-truths about the reality of inequality that exists for those working families who find themselves without legal protections that only a legal marriage can provide.

At its core, the push for marriage equality is simply about making the day-to-day lives of same-sex couples and their families manageable and secure. All families deserve the ability to protect themselves with basic legal rights and safeguards such as Social Security, health insurance and unquestioned hospital visitation.

Bess Watts
photo:  Janice Gavin
Bess Watts, Local 828 president and president of the local chapter of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, says only marriage can provide families with true equality and has been arguing that this initiative has always been labor's fight.

Watts told the Voice Reporter, "When we say we advocate for all our members, we mean it. All means all. However, this should not diminish our work to include language in our collective bargaining agreements to honor domestic partnerships and other forms of relationship recognition, though limited, which provides important first steps and tangible protections for all our working families."

To get involved or read more about the status of LGBT worker rights in New York State, you can go here to the Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter of the Pride At Work blogspot or facebook page.


Originally posted in City Newspaper on April 19, 2011:

As families across our region struggle to pay their bills and feed their families, Republicans in Monroe County have given the highest-paid county employees hefty pay raises.

There are roughly 400 Management and Professionals employees in county government, of whom many are political appointees, department heads and middle management, who will benefit from this unseemly largesse. At the same time, we've seen low-level employees laid off or forced into early retirement, threatening their ability to survive in an unstable economy. In light of the current economic crisis, these taxpayer-funded pay hikes are simply unconscionable. To address this situation, we recently introduced legislation to freeze the pay of these employees at the 2010 levels - which would save county taxpayers approximately $400,000 this year alone.

Most of these employees received a 2.5 percent raise in 2011, in addition to the same increase in 2010. Over the past two years, it's very unlikely that most taxpayers have seen their pay increase by 5 percent. Worse still, some highly connected political appointees will receive significantly more than a 2.5 percent pay raise.

There is no good reason to keep these pay hikes in place when so many taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet. We are simply asking for these employees to minimally share in the sacrifices that so many people are making by maintaining their pay at 2010 salaries. While the county executive and Republican legislators say additional pay hikes are needed, we disagree, especially at a time when the county is cutting services and laying off other, non-political, employees.

During the 2011 budget debate, Democratic legislators offered an amendment to freeze these salaries at the 2010 level, but this measure was rejected by Republicans without debate. We have now offered stand-alone legislation to enact the freeze at the 2010 pay level, and we certainly hope our Republican colleagues will join us in supporting this measure. There is simply no justification for keeping these raises in place when families in our community are burdened by crippling property taxes, the threat of an uncertain future, and a looming budgetary crunch. Now is the time to act on this common-sense legislation.

-County Legislators Saul Maneiro (D-29th) and Josh Bauroth (D-24th)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Rundel Memorial Library Building at the
Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County
photo:  Ove Overmyer

Rochester, N.Y. -- When the City of Rochester taxpayers decide on where it should put it's resources for the next budget cycle, we should never underestimate the vital role libraries play in our local communities.

photo:  Ove Overmyer
Rochester's public libraries serve our information needs by providing access to online resources and direct patron interaction. Every day, library services strengthen the economic stability and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Our public library buildings are also community anchor institutions, and bring immeasurable wealth and opportunity for all our residents of Rochester and Monroe County. Libraries are truly one of the best public tax investments ever conceived by government.

Over one-hundred years ago, Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of over 1,600 public libraries in the United States because he understood the critical role they played in the education and economic empowerment of the public.

Today with ten times that number nationwide, America’s public relies even more heavily on libraries not only to educate and retrain themselves, but also to make use of libraries’ no-fee access to the Internet to apply for jobs, use government services and to create small businesses.

In response to the economic downturn, many libraries have created additional workshops and training classes on specific employment related topics. By closing city branches and cutting services, libraries would not be able to provide their patrons with the tools they need to succeed in life. If that is the direction we take, then shame on us.

Library advocates recognize the fiscal challenges facing our city officials and elected representatives. And, the library community is making sacrifices just like every other entity. Nonetheless, we are confident that we will be able to collectively develop a budget that will allow us to maintain critical library services while not unduly eviscerating our quality of life. However, that won't happen if you don't speak up today on behalf of your local community library.  Make your voice heard.

Please attend one of the city sponsored "Voice of the Customer" budget sessions beginning April 20.  For more complete information, you can go here to the City of Rochester website or go here.

-Ove Overmyer
Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County
CSEA President, City of Rochester Library Workers Local 828 Unit 7420
CSEA VP, Monroe County Local 828

A library advocate holds one of the worksheets that citizens used at the second
"Voice of the Customer" budget session at the South Ave Community Center on
April 27.  The final neighborhood budget session is scheduled for May 2. 
photo:  Ove Overmyer

Monday, April 18, 2011


President Obama delivers a federal deficit reduction plan at George Washingon
University on April 13, 2011.  Obama gained praise from progressives and
rankled the ultra-conservative Tea Party voices in the House GOP.
Rochester, N.Y.-- Seeking to reassert leadership and reassure troubled financial markets that the deficit will be brought under control, President Obama called for tax increases and spending cuts he said would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years-- and vehemently denounced Republicans’ own deficit plans as an assault on the elderly and poor.

On April 13, President Obama gave progressives like me a much needed reminder that he truly is a man of principled character. Most of America barely noticed what he had to say that day-- I watched the speech on C-SPAN, which was pitched as a "deficit reduction" plan. It was much more than that. I got goose bumps with every passing spoken word.

Here is a glimpse of how the 2011
Federal spending priorities were divvied up.
(click on image for a larger view)
I assume most looked at the president's speech as if it were only about budgetary details. But the speech went well beyond the numbers and transcended partisanship. It went to the heart of progressive thought and the nature of American democracy and it gave all progressives, including me, a model of how to think and talk about every issue under the sun. Budget decisions are truly a philosophy-- it's about personal responsibility, inclusion, opportunity and a fair shake at the American Dream.

To me, this was a landmark speech. The timing of it was impeccable. It should be watched and read carefully by every citizen who cares about our country-- it's a message for the ages.

The policy topic happened to be the budget, but he called it, "The Country We Believe In" for a reason. The real topic was how the progressive moral system defines the democratic ideals America was founded on and how those ideals apply to specific issues. Obama's moral vision, which he applied to the budget, is more general: it applies to every issue we face as Americans. And it can be applied everywhere by everyone who shares that moral vision of American democracy.

Discussion in the media has centered on economics-- on the president's budget policy compared with the Republican budget put forth by Paul Ryan. But, as Robert Reich immediately pointed out, "Projecting ten or twelve-year budgets are baloney. It's hard enough to forecast budgets a year or two into the future."  The Ryan plan, in very certain terms, contradicts the moral vision of why America is the greatest nation on earth.

Today, our real economic issues are economic recovery and finding a remedy for the inadequate distribution of wealth and services for the poor and middle-class. As I have stressed over and over again on previous posts here at the Voice Reporter, the Republican mantra on the deficit is really a strategy for privatizing public services, enabling the rich and turning our country ultra-conservative in every respect. America can not survive without a strong middle-class.  The real issue here is an existential question: what is America at heart and what will America become?

photo:  Ove Overmyer
In 2008, candidate Obama laid out these moral principles as well as anyone ever has and roused the nation in support. In his first two years as president, he focused on pragmatics and policy. He let moral leadership lapse, leaving the field of morality to radical conservatives and the Tea Party folk.  They took advantage of an angry electorate and they exploited their opposite moral views effectively enough to take over the House and many state offices in 2010. For example, ultra-conservative forces effectively attacked the president's health care plan on two simplistic ideas taken from the right-wing version of morality.  They are freedom ("government takeover") and life ("death panels").

The attacks were successful even though Americans preferred the president's health care policies, which included the highly popular "no pre-conditions" language and universal affordable coverage. The lesson here is that morality at the general level beats out policy at the particular level. The reason is voters identify themselves as moral beings, not policy wonks.  I also believe most Americans think the House GOP and the radical GOP governors are over-reaching-- the electorate is definitely experiencing voter's remorse right about now.

All politics is moral. Political leaders put forth proposals on the assumption that their proposals are the right thing to do.  Obviously, progressives and radical conservatives have very different beliefs when it comes to understanding what is right and what is wrong.

He's back

Obama's speech hit us right between the eyes-- the president is back with just the basics, straightforward ideas of right and wrong that he correctly attributes to the founding of our country.  I was suddenly reminded of the fact that my activism and work is truly not in vain and this fight for democracy is still worth fighting for.

The basic idea is this: Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in three ways: protection, services and empowerment.

Obama quoted Lincoln a couple of times, saying "to do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves." That is what he calls patriotism. He spotlights "the American belief ... that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security... that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard time or bad luck, crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us." Obama cites the religious version of this moral vision: "There but for the grace of God go I." He also said that the greatness of America comes from carrying out such moral commitments as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. I really needed to hear that again-- and I needed to hear that from my president at a time when right-wing zealots are going after immigrants, the poor, elderly, the disabled, labor unions, people of color, the environment and everything up and in-between.

Progressive flags fly high at the One Nation Working Together
Rally at the National Mall in Washingon, D.C. on Oct. 2, 2010.
photo:  Ove Overmyer
Let Obama's words be a lesson for all progressives. Moral arguments can, and should, always be given for all progressive policies at all levels of government on all issues: the environment, marriage equality, education, health care, civil rights, family planning, organizing rights, voting rights, immigration, and so forth. It is only by repetition of these moral principles that the voting public begins to understand how all these ideas fit together as realizations of the same basic democratic principles I believe our forefathers intended as an edict for future generations to live by.

Here is a portion of the April 13 speech that I found particularly inspirational:

The America I know is generous and compassionate; a land of opportunity and optimism. We take responsibility for ourselves and each other; for the country we want and the future we share. We are the nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI bill and saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives.

This is who we are. This is the America I know. We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit investments in our people and our country. To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m President, we won’t.


-Commentary by Ove Overmyer

The opinions expressed here in this commentary by Mr. Overmyer do not reflect the views of CSEA as an organization.


Rochester, N.Y.-- Please join the CSEA Monroe County Local 828 Women’s Committee on Saturday, April 30, 2011 as we host and present a community panel discussion titled, “Awesome Women: Past, Present, and Future.”

This event will be both fun and informative. There will be several women of notoriety from our area sharing stories from the past or their own awesome personal story.

Presenters include Dr. Anne Kress, Monroe Community College; Linda Donahue, Cornell ILR; Dr. Caroline Dignan, Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office; and Erin Julian, Gilda’s Club of Rochester.

Dr. Anne M. Kress
This event will be held at Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Road, R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center, Room: Monroe B from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Free parking in Lots N or M (behind campus near large pond). Refreshments will be served.

Please call Barbara at CSEA Local 828 HQ at 585.328.5250 to reserve your seat! You do not have to be a CSEA member to attend. This event is open to the general public. We encourage all working men and women in our community to join us on Saturday, April 30 at MCC for a vibrant and robust discussion on important topics of the day.

CSEA Monroe County Local 828 Women’s Committee:

Angela Muscianese, Chair
Debbie Ake
Camille Julian
Vicki Murphy
Cris Zaffuto

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Flo Tripi, WNY Region 6 President, Dr. Richard A. Levins, PhD, and
Ove Overmyer, CSEA Monroe County Local 828 Unit 7420.
photo:  Bess Watts
Corning, N.Y.-- On Saturday, April 16, members of the local labor community turned out in force to attend the Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Annual Meeting that was held at the Raddison Hotel, in downtown Corning, N.Y.

The agenda included opening remarks by R&GVALF and Rochester Labor Council President Jim Bertolone and NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes.

Besides the general business meeting and committee reports, featured presentations and speakers included Dr. Richard A. Levins, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota; Stephen J. Petro, program coordinator for Homeland Security Management Institute and Dr. Dan Brown, professor of History, Community and Preventive Medicine and Medical Humanities at the University of Rochester, N.Y.

The Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO represents 100,000 working men and women throughout 11 counties in mid-western New York including, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.

Within the Area Labor Federation (ALF) are 5 Central Labor Councils (CLC):

*Finger Lakes
*Rochester & Vicinity

While all affiliates (local unions) are members of the ALF, each affiliate chooses which, and how, to be involved with the CLC's. However, it should also be noted that all working sectors, including Private, Public and Construction have union members living in each County, Town and Village throughout the 11 county region.

The R&GVALF is also home to 3 AFL-CIO Constituency Organizations:

*Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Rochester Chapter
*Next Generation United, Rochester & Genesee Valley Chapter
*Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, Rochester & Finger Lakes Chapter


Mayor Tom Richards
photo:  Ove Overmyer
Rochester, N.Y.-- On April 11, 2011, Tom Richards took the oath of office as the City of Rochester’s 66th Mayor. Richards, who was Former Corporation Counsel for the city since 2006, was elected with nearly 50 percent of the vote in a special three-way election on March 29, 2011.

The election marked the end of an intensive political whirlwind that began when former Mayor Bob Duffy was selected and subsequently elected as Andrew Cuomo’s running mate in the 2010 New York State gubernatorial election.

The campaign was rigorous, competitive and included numerous debates and candidate forums.

Several city labor unions weighed in on the election-- CSEA chose not to endorse a mayoral candidate in the special election.  CSEA Local 828 has 21 Units in Monroe County, including the City of Rochester Library Workers Unit 7420.

Ove Overmyer, Local 828 V.P. and Unit president of the City of Rochester Library Workers said before the March election, "No matter which Democrat gets the nod, I'm sure we will have a very good working relationship with the next Mayor. There is no reason to believe that our partnership with library management or city officials will fundamentally change."

Overmyer added, "Thankfully, we are now able to move forward to focus on addressing the issues that continue to confront our city such as public safety, economic development and job creation, neighborhood revitalization and improved academic outcomes for our children. Our new Mayor's first order of business must be the development of a city budget that accommodates an anticipated $50 million budget gap without totally eviscerating the quality of life that we presently enjoy-- including the understanding that our community libraries play a vital role in the quality of life Rochesterians have come to know, love and respect. Rest assured, city workers and their neighbors will have ample opportunity to help shape discussions and decisions regarding proposals to close the budget gap."

It is also important for everyone to know that service reductions and overall changes will be required to bridge the budget gap this year. It will undoubtedly be extensive and painful. Nonetheless, we are confident that we will be able to collectively develop a budget that will allow us to maintain critical services while not unduly eroding our quality of life.

City officials will host "Voice of the Customer" community budget forums

Feel free to contact your CSEA officers or elected officials to share any ideas or concerns that you may have in this regard. We also urge you to attend the council budget hearing process that will begin on June 1.

We encourage all community stakeholders to offer suggestions about revenue opportunities or cost saving measures that you think should be considered. Join Mayor Thomas Richards and City staff as they ask for your input in the City’s efforts to reduce a $50 million budget gap at one of the following sessions:

All sessions begin at 6:00 PM

Wednesday, April 20th
David F. Gantt Community Ctr
700 North Street

Wednesday, April 27th
South Avenue Community Ctr
999 South Avenue

Thursday, April 28th
Adams Street Community Ctr
85 Adams Street

Monday, May 2nd
Edgerton Stardust Ballroom
41 Backus Street