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Genesee County, sheriff’s deputies at impasse in contract talks

BATAVIA – The president of the union representing Genesee County sheriff’s deputies said it is back to the drawing board now that county lawmakers have rejected a tentative contract that calls for a 7.5 percent pay increase over a three-year period.

“After a year and a half of negotiating in good faith with the county manager, to have it shot down during the same meeting when the county sells the nursing home at a profit of $6 million, it’s disappointing,” Deputy John Baiocco said. “It’s back in our lawyer’s hands now.”

Baiocco heads the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, a group of 46 deputies, investigators and sergeants.

The Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee this week unanimously opposed the pact forged by County Manager Jay A. Gsell and the union.

Legislature Chairman Raymond F. Cianfrini said the terms are not in line with what neighboring counties pay their deputies and with a recently approved pact that gave Genesee County management a 1 percent a year increase over five years.

The rejected pact called for raises of 2 percent in 2014, 2.75 percent in 2015 and 2.75 percent in 2016, along with an increase in unused sick days and a limit on contributions for health insurance.

“My objection is not with the deputy sheriffs themselves but with a contract,” Cianfrini said. “It is excessive, especially when compared to adjoining counties.”

Cianfrini ran down a list of what other counties have agreed to with their deputies – Orleans, Livingston and Greene, 4 percent over two years; Allegany, 9 percent over four years; and Erie, 13 percent over five years.

He said the cost to the county in increased wages alone would be $390,000 for the three years, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014.

Legislator Frank Ferrando said he it would behoove the committee to see the total dollar increases from the other counties and “then compare that to our total dollar increase.”

Baiocco said union concessions included a 1 percent increase in health insurance premiums.

“The county approved a 2 percent increase for nursing home employees, and we’re not asking much more than that,” he said. “But we have a different kind of job – putting on a gun and a vest – with the goal of making it home to our families every night.”

He said if an agreement is not reached, the union’s options include mediation or binding arbitration.