|CSEA WNY Region 6 President Flo Tripi (at left) addresses the Penfield Town Board on Dec. 4, 2013. Photos by Ove Overmyer|
Penfield, N.Y. In an unexpected twist, the Penfield Town Board decided to strike a resolution (Public Works 13T-219) from the written record awarding a contract to outsource snow and ice removal on residential roads. More than 50 people shuffled in to the auditorium at Penfield Town Hall on Atlantic Avenue on the evening of December 4. Not having any preconceived notions about an outcome before the meeting, most of the attendees were visibly startled by the news that the resolution was being removed from the agenda. The motion was delivered emphatically by Councilwoman Paula Metzler.
In a 4-1 vote, board members refused to take up the issue of whether residents should be paying for privatizing work details that are already performed by CSEA unionized public employees in the Department of Public Works.
According to the Penfield Town Board Meeting Agenda, elected officials selected A.P. Property Services, 1653 Woodard Road, Webster, NY as the contractor to provide snow and ice removal. The Voice Reporter searched the NYS Board of Elections File Disclosure Reports and found the owner of the company, Sean Fico of Webster, NY, to have no reporting data filed or any political donations listed on the website. In a related search and even more curious to interested observers, there was no record of the Penfield Town Supervisor ever filing a financial disclosure report with the NYS Board of Elections.
Bess Watts, President of CSEA Monroe County Local 828, told the Voice Reporter the privatization fight is far from over. “While we are pleased the board took this action tonight, we still have a tough fight ahead to fend off elected officials who demonize public services and the workers who provide them,” said Watts.
“Some local government leaders like to take credit for cutting public payrolls. They think this a good thing,” said CSEA activist Ove Overmyer. He added, “They are the same elected officials who create unholy alliances with political cronies and donors and weaken middle class working families. Never mind that the extra cost to provide outsourced services simply shift dollars to a different, often hidden budget line-- and sometimes at greater expense. There is no savings for taxpayers by outsourcing public services. Privatization will always be a threat as long as unscrupulous politicians know there is money to be made in the public services sector.”
CSEA would like to thank our union brothers and sisters from Ontario and Wayne County for their show of support and solidarity at this meeting. CSEA would also like to publicly thank board members Kohl, Metzler, Moore and Quinn for their due diligence and vote of confidence in their existing workforce. Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain was the lone dissenter.