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Employees approve pact at health care facility

LOCKPORT -- Job security was job one for union workers at a Lockport nursing home.

Employees of Odd Fellow and Rebekah Rehabilitation and Health Care Facility approved a new contract Tuesday by a vote of 70-1. It was the same contract they rejected last month, except for the addition of an 18-month no-layoff clause that took effect Tuesday for workers who have at least 18 months of service.

"That was the central issue for our membership," said Todd Hobler, vice president of Local 1199, Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers East. It represents 110 licensed practical nurses, certified nurse's aides, laundry, housekeeping and dietary workers.

"We're happy for the residents and staff. We think it's a fair contract," said Eugene L. Urban, administrator of the 126-bed Old Niagara Road facility.

The pact gives the workers immediate bonuses of $140 to $350; 1 percent pay raises in May 2013 and November 2013; and an extra 0.6 percent raise in May 2013 for those who worked all their hours in 15 of the previous 17 pay periods.



Attorney sought for post of Medicaid fraud specialist

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County is seeking an attorney with at least six years of experience to replace Robert M. Restaino as the county's Medicaid fraud specialist. Restaino recently resigned to run for the Assembly.

The deadline is Monday to apply for the post, with interviews to be conducted by a panel of five members, appointed Tuesday by County Legislature Chairman William L. Ross.

The committee, which will recommend a candidate for the full Legislature to vote on, comprises Legislators Richard E. Updegrove, Paul B. Wojtaszek, Anthony J. Nemi and Jason A. Zona, plus Social Services Commissioner Anthony J. Restaino, Robert Restaino's brother.

The job, funded by a state grant, pays at least $70,000 a year; Robert Restaino made $89,000 last year. Resumes are to be sent to the Legislature clerk's office.



Hearing planned to air opinions on stadium

Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Betty Jean Grant said Tuesday she plans to hold a public hearing to give citizens a chance to weigh in on the future of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Grant, D-Buffalo, said she will schedule a meeting later this month so that people who are calling for the construction of a domed stadium in downtown Buffalo can air their opinions.

Pat Freeman, sports director at WUFO 1080-AM radio, appeared before the Legislature's Economic Development Committee along with other leaders to ask county lawmakers to press for the construction of a new stadium, rather than the renovation of the existing county-owned stadium in Orchard Park.

Negotiations with the Buffalo Bills over the team's lease for Ralph Wilson Stadium are being handled by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.

Peter Anderson, a spokesman for Poloncarz, said the administration plans to meet with Freeman later this month but said, "The county executive's focus is on renegotiating the Bills' lease in their current location."