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Judge dismisses Hamburg supervisor's lawsuit against Town Board

A judge has rejected the legal challenge by Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters against his fellow Town Board members over a union contract.

Walters had maintained that only the supervisor can negotiate a contract, and that the two other board members, Thomas Best Jr. and Michael P. Quinn Jr., overstepped their authority by approving it. He filed legal action, known as an Article 78, against his two colleagues in State Supreme Court, seeking to have the judge void approval of the contract and declare the supervisor has exclusive authority to negotiate contracts.

Justice Joseph R. Glownia denied the request.

"I didn't think it was going to go anywhere to begin with," Best said of the legal action.

He said he and Quinn did not negotiate the contract, but voted on a contract proposal. He also said there is a trust issue between the supervisor and the unions, but it doesn't mean the town can't negotiate in good faith with unions.

Walters has never signed the contract with Local 815, Civil Service Employees Association Blue Collar Unit. But the agreement, which covers workers in the Buildings and Grounds and Highway departments, went into effect July 1.

"This is not over," said Robert Mueller, CSEA labor relations specialist.

He said Walters also has filed an improper labor practice charge against the union with the Public Employment Relations Board.

"My hope is we're able to get it withdrawn," Mueller said. "All the terms of the agreement have been implemented."

The Blue collar unit and the four other unions representing town workers issued votes of no confidence in the supervisor in February. They accused him of manipulating health insurance rates which would have increased employee contributions for many workers.


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