Wayne Co., deputies union rejects contract offer; Sheriff: ‘That doesn’t mean the door is shut’
WAYNE COUNTY, N.Y. – The Wayne County Sheriff’s Road Patrol Union Teamsters 118 rejected the county’s latest contract offer. The big issues are pay and benefits for deputies. This comes after a year and a half of no contract.
“Although there is not an agreement right now, the process is still ongoing,” Wayne County Sheriff Robert Milby said.
He doesn’t want to lose any more of his Police Services Division.
Sean Walsh with Teamster Local 118 believes the empty cars tell the story of why the county continues to lose deputies.
“Anyone that drives right by the sheriff’s department in Lyons on Route 13, you can see all the empty sheriff’s cars. Up to January of this year out of the 57 deputies they tried to hire and get on to the road, 31 of them left,” Walsh said.
He says they can’t keep deputies because they are getting paid more to work at other police and sheriff’s departments.
The union has been negotiating with Wayne County for more pay and better retirement benefits, which he believes will help them retain deputies.
After 11 meetings and a federal mediation session, they voted, and the county’s offer was rejected.
According to Wayne County:
“Last summer, the union offered to withdraw its proposal to adopt a costly 20 year retirement plan that would have had an initial county buy-in of nearly $1.5M in addition to higher county retirement contributions thereafter. In response, the county increased its proposal to raise wage rates.
The Union rejected the county’s offer without making a counter-offer, and instead declared impasse thereby terminating negotiations.
The parties later proceeded to mediation. The county continues to provide unit employees with the pay and benefits the parties negotiated and agreed to under their 2016 – 2021 collective bargaining agreement. This agreement provided substantial pay increases.
Walsh believes that fair compensation and retirement benefits are essential to attracting and retaining qualified law enforcement professionals who play a vital role in ensuring public safety.
“If you go over the county line, you make $30K more. It’s an issue where it’s the wage agreement. The wages are too far apart and the twenty year retirement plan for the deputies has been taken off the table, it’s too sizeable to overcome,” Walsh said.
Sheriff Milby is not against paying his deputies more. He says he has been losing well trained deputies to other agencies and his department has become a training ground for other agencies. Despite the ongoing contract negotiations, he remains optimistic.
“That doesn’t mean the door is shut. I’m still hopeful that the process of mediation, which we are in right now, is going to continue and that the deputies are going to receive a fair and competitive contract,” Milby said.
Wayne County controls the budget, Milby controls operations.
“I don’t believe police officers make enough money to begin with across the board, but that’s not for me to determine. It’s for those who hold the budgets and control the checkbooks to make that determination as to what we can afford as a county,” Milby said.
Marsha Augustin: “What does this mean for the public safety of the community in Wayne County?”
Sheriff Milby: “We are still getting the job done so to speak, we are still addressing our calls, we are still making all our calls. The only thing that concerns me is the timeliness of an emergency call should there be a little more of a sparsely populated road patrol out there at the time. But we are still making priority calls, very much a priority. We’re still answering those calls and we are still serving the public.”
See full press release below: