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Unionizing at issue as complaints are aired by Marilla highway, sanitation workers

Marilla’s four highway and sanitation workers may be about to join a union.

The Town Board last week met in executive session to discuss a letter from Local 17, International Union of Operating Engineers, to Highway Superintendent Ronald W. Unverdorben.

Currently, new employees start with the Sanitation Department and work their way up to the Highway Department, officials said. Supervisor Earl Gingerich Jr. said Town Attorney Joel R. Kurtzhalts will research the unionization effort.

James A. Beats, a Highway Department worker, said employees “are unhappy with being micromanaged” and accused new Supervisor Earl A. Gingerich Jr. of nitpicking over such issues as the use of credit cards, insufficient inventory and too many trips to purchase supplies. He also was critical of the town for issuing W-2 forms late.

Gingerich previously has suggested that the Highway Department would require fewer trips for supplies if a better inventory was kept.

The supervisor noted that in 2012, the department made 47 supply trips but that in 2013 it made 71 such trips.

In other matters, officials:

• Said the Sludge Committee will meet twice this week to finalize suggestions to present to the board.

• Noted that nothing has been done yet about the section of Winchester Road that was washed out this winter because of water draining from farmland on Two Rod Road.

The Town Board tasked officials to investigate the problem and get it fixed.