On Monday night the Jamestown City Council voted 8 to 1 in favor of appealing a recent State Supreme Court Decision that upheld an arbitration ruling on the 2016-17 contract with the Jamestown Kendall Club PBA and which provided a retroactive 2 percent increase for each of those two years for police officers. City Councilman Andrew Liuzzo (R-At Large) made the only “no” vote for moving forward on the appeal. He also voted “no” on initially challenging the arbitration decision in November 2018.
The city had up to 30 days to decide on whether or not it would challenge the Chautauqua County Supreme Court judge James Dillon decision after it was officially filed by the court on April 2.
City officials have said that the city can’t afford the salary increase, saying it will have an impact not only on any reserve funding that has been built up, but also on all future expenses for the city. In addition they say the increase to the police union will also likely be applied to the 2016-17 fire union contract, which is also still unsettled and has been awaiting the outcome of the police contract issue before being resolved. Jamestown mayor Sam Teresi has said the bottom line impact would approach an excess of over $800,000 on the city after it was all said and done if the arbitration ruling where allowed to stand.
“To allow that decision to stand will have an $840,000 unbudgeted impact on the 2019 budget. And that impact is only for retroactive raises for 2016 and 2017. If that decision is allowed to stand, it could lay the groundwork for a similar retroactive payment with the fire union moving forward. And as well that $840,000 impact for the police union alone doesn’t take into account raises that might be received for 2018, 2019, and 2020 moving forward,” Teresi explained in March.
As a result of the city council’s action on Monday night the matter will now go before the Supreme Court Appellate Division, Fourth Department in Rochester.
The council also approved paying an additional $25,000 in legal fees to Bond, Schoeneck, and King to handle the Appellate Division case.