JAMESTOWN – Mayor Eddie Sundquist tells WRFA that the city of Jamestown will have to pay an estimated $1.1 million in back pay to members of the Jamestown Kendall Club police union, following the announcement last month that the highest court in New York State has refused to hear the city’s appeal regarding an arbitration ruling.
Last month the New York State Court of Appeals announced it would not take up the appeal by Jamestown involving the 2018 arbitration ruling, in which an arbitration panel ruled, among other things, the city must give the Kendall Club a 2% salary increase as part of its 2016-2017 collective bargaining agreement.
During an interview last week with WRFA, Sundquist said the ruling means the city is going to have to pay over one million dollars in back pay to affected union members later this month.
“The total cost to the city will be about $1.1 million in retro-pay and increased salary base pay. We will be making those payments to the officer and we are working directly with the union to make sure we have the correct calculation for each officer. Normally we’d make the payment within about 30 days from that decision by the Court of Appeals,” Sundquist said.
The Jamestown City Council hasn’t yet discussed the retroactive payment, although there is still time for it to do so before it holds its regular voting session on Monday, Jan. 25. The city will likely use money from its Fund Balance to make the retroactive payment. The council is not required to take action on the matter before the payments is made to officers.
Meanwhile, The city also has an outstanding 2016-17 contract with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters’ Association. It’s expected that the members of that union will also be seeking the same 2% retroactive salary increase that the officers received. The union – which is also represented by the law firm Fessenden, Laumer and DeAngelo – has not opted to go forward with arbitration like its police union counterpart. Sundquist said the city is currently awaiting communication from the union on how to proceed.
“The city is always open to negotiating those contractual requirements. Those are things that have to be determined at the negotiating table. We’re always willing to talk to the fire union about what that award may look like, but there is a legal process that unions have to go through in New York State in order to be awarded those, if they do not want to negotiate,” Sundquist explained.
Even after the city settles its firefighters’ union contract for 2016 and 2017, it then has to go back to the negotiating table and discuss outstanding contracts for the past three years, as well as this current year for both police and fire.